Despite the fact that I haven’t been reading much of it lately, I adore gothic literature. I developed a taste for gothic suspense and gothic romance novels back in high school when I was introduced to Charlotte Bronte and Daphne Du Maurier. For those unfamiliar with gothic fiction, it is a sub-genre of literature that typically combines elements of horror, suspense, death and romance. It originated in eighteenth century England and influenced similar literary styles throughout other parts of Europe and America. Gothic novels commonly feature dark settings, such as mysterious castles, dungeons, mansions, and graveyards. Sometimes they incorporate aspects of the supernatural, like ghosts, but this is not always necessary.
One of my favorite aspects of gothic literature (aside from the creepy settings) is the psychological mind fuck that usually accompanies it. Authors of this type of literature know how to combine what are often viewed as “negative” human emotions (such as terror, dread, and doubt) and combine it with romanticism to create one pleasurably disturbing experience for the reader. (I am now sitting here wondering what this says about me as a human being. It’s probably best not to open that can of worms…)
There are so many amazing classic and modern gothic novels out there. If you are new to this genre, you may want to introduce yourself by starting with a few of these:
- Dracula by Bram Stoker
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
- The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe
- Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
- The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
- The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Do you like gothic literature? What are some of your favorite gothic novels?
Happy Monday, folks! I hope everyone had a nice, relaxing weekend. I am disappointed to report that I haven’t read much this past week due to some health issues I’ve been experiencing. Luckily, I am feeling a little more like myself today and I think things will be better this week. 🙂
I mentioned that I had started Flame of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier recently. I’m not sure if it’s the book itself or my (lack of) attention span that’s to blame, but I just haven’t been able to stay interested in this one. I’ve decided to take a break and try to revisit this one later.
Until I get back to feeling “normal,” I decided to give myself a break and squeeze some easy reads in. I started re-reading an old favorite of mine this morning:
What are you planning on reading this week?
Just a bit of book humor 😉
As much as I love talking about books with like-minded individuals (aka bibliophiles), I actually find it frustrating to talk about books with most people. Immediately, upon discovering that I love to read, people will inevitably ask the most irritating question possible: “What’s your favorite book?” It seems like such a simple question. If someone asked me my favorite color, season, movie, or basically anything else, I would have no problem coming up with an answer. But my favorite book? As in just one? That’s like asking someone to pick a favorite memory. It’s impossible. Typically, I respond by naming a handful of books and/or authors until the person who asked looks at me like I have three heads and starts to back away. *sigh*
Every once in a while I am lucky enough to find people who understand my love of books and appreciate the fact that I read things other than Gone Girl (or whatever title is popular at the time). Fortunately, I know that some of you reading this are bibliophiles like myself, so, that being said…Allow me to tell you about my favorite books! 🙂
- The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – I fell in love with Harry Potter when I was eleven years old. From the very first page, this series drew me in and captivated me like no other story had ever done previously. People sometimes laugh and say “It’s a kid’s book!,” but it is so much more than that. I have learned more lessons about life, love, friendship, loyalty, family, courage, and empathy from these books than any adult ones I have ever laid hands on. Not only that, but they are so much fun! The world Rowling created is wildly imaginative, with complex, yet relatable, characters. There will be many further posts about Harry Potter to come, so for now, at the risk of being totally cheesy, I will just say that the series is truly magical.
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – Jane has a pretty rough start in life. She is orphaned at a young age, left in the care of her wicked aunt, and then sent off to a boarding school that makes corporal punishment part of it’s every day routine. Despite all that, she remains strong and willfully independent. She finds a job at Thornfield mansion, working for the handsome and mysterious Mr. Rochester, and once again discovers that not everything in life turns out the way you expect it to. I have always admired Jane’s resolve. She endures hit after hit, but instead of crying and whining about it all the time, she just pick up and moves the fuck on. She isn’t the plain, meek little creature that women were expected to be at the time. She is a feminist and a badass in every sense of the word.
- Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare – I know this is technically a play and not a book, but it still counts, right? I don’t read a lot of books that are labelled as straight-up romance, even though I am a giant sap. I find that most “romance” books have cheesy characters and are more about the steamy sex scenes than actual relationships. The reason I have always been drawn to Romeo and Juliet, though, is that it invokes all the feelings of first love that you never forget. There is something so beautiful about two young, innocent adults, who are so wrapped up in their love for each other that they are willing to defy their families just to be together. *swoons*
- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – Nobody (or “Bod”) Owens wanders into the graveyard as a toddler after his entire family is murdered. There he remains, under the care of the graveyard’s ghosts, until he is fully grown. There is something missing from Bod’s life, as he belongs to neither the world of the dead nor the living. You would think this would be a bit depressing for a coming-of-age story, but it isn’t. It is lively and moving. It is a lesson in living, as told by the dead. Oh, Mr. Gaiman, how I love thee.