Feb
21

Literary Darkness Discussion Group on GOODREADS Explore Dark Fiction

posted by

DARKNESS READABLE

LITERARY DARKNESS is a book discussion group on Goodreads with roughly two thousand members, many of them teachers, librarians and writers – passionate readers all. For three years, our knowledgeable and enthusiastic members have been analyzing and appreciating dark literature. This first annual list of notable books is in no way intended as an award, nor is it meant to be exclusive. Many wonderful books are out there, and we hope to read them all. Our goal is to help others discover them as well.

Some books become lights in the eternal darkness. What follows is a list of recommendations and commendations… combined with heartfelt thanks to the many fine writers who keep readers awake at night.

Fresh Blood:

These are new titles selected by the group for having made a considerable impact during the past year. 

THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME by Donald Ray Pollock

THE DROWNING GIRL by Caitlin R. Kiernan

THE FACELESS by Simon Bestwick

THE FLAME ALPHABET by Ben Marcus

GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn

HABIT by Stephen McGeagh

THE HOARD by Alan Ryker

JOHN DIES AT THE END by David Wong

KIN by Kealan Patrick Burke

WESTLAKE SOUL by Rio Youers 

Contemporary Titles:

These may be collections of short fiction or literary essays, anthologies or novels. All are from the recent past and all are extraordinary.

THE CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE HUMAN RACE by Thomas Ligotti

THE HAIR WREATH AND OTHER STORIES by Halli Villegas

KNOCK KNOCK by SP Miskowski

THE LITTLE STRANGER by Sarah Waters

THE MARBLED SWARM by Dennis Cooper

A MATRIX OF ANGELS by Christopher Conlon

OCCULATION by Laird Barron

THE ROAD by Cormac McCarty

THE SECRET HISTORY by Donna Tartt

ZOMBIE by Joyce Carol Oates 

Vintage Works:

Sometimes calling a book a Classic is like entombing it. Many readers would sooner pry open the lid of a coffin than peer between those musty pages. Often this represents a sort of tragedy. Many of these books seethe with life and emotion… and cry out to be read. These are among our favorites.

THE CASTLE by Franz Kafka

THE GOLEM by Gustav Meyrink

GRENDEL by John Gardner

THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson

MCTEAGUE by Frank Norris

NARROW ROOMS by James Purdy

THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY by Oscar Wilde

THE SAILOR WHO FELL FROM GRACE WITH THE SEA by Yukio Mishima

THE STRANGER by Albert Camus

TALES OF MEN AND GHOSTS by Edith Wharton

Buried Treasures

This is a list of titles, some celebrated, some obscure, that in so many ways evoke the finest qualities of literary darkness.

ICE AGE by Iain Rowan

KELLAND by Paul G. Bens, Jr.

THE KING IN YELLOW AND OTHER HORROR STORIES by Robert W. Chambers

LET’S PLAY WHITE by Chesya Burke

SOUTHERN GODS by John Horner Jacobs

STAY AWAKE by Dan Chaon

SUICIDE BLONDE by Darcey Steinke

SUSPICIOUS RIVER by Laura Kasischke

THE WASP FACTORY by Iain Banks

WORSE THAN MYSELF by Adam Golaski

Literary Darkness is dedicated to an appreciation of important works of literature, both classic and contemporary, that happen to fall into the category of Dark Fiction. We tend to avoid the big, banal blockbusters (and the more lurid fare) in favor of beautifully written explorations of the unknown, many obscure, all extraordinary.

Group Reading

This is our 2012 list of books selected by the membership for reading and discussion. The links provided should help clarify some of the criteria involved in making these choices. 

THE COLLECTED STORIES OF ELIZABETH BOWEN

http://www.gothic.stir.ac.uk/blog/bowens-thoughts-on-the-ghost-story/

CONJURE WIFE by Fritz Leiber

http://www.conceptualfiction.com/conjure_wife.html

GARDENS OF NIGHT by Greg F. Gifune

http://literarymayhem.com/wordpress/2011/01/07/book-review-gardens-of-night-by-greg-f-gifune/

HOUDINI HEART by Ki Longfellow

http://thelibrariowan.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/houdini-heart/

HOUSE OF LEAVES by Mark Z. Danielewski

http://www.themodernword.com/review_house_of_leaves.html

MARTYRS & MONSTERS by Robert Dunbar

http://www.lambdaliterary.org/reviews/06/10/martyrs-monsters-by-robert-dunbar/

THE NIGHT STRANGERS by Chris Bohjalian

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2011-10-03/entertainment/35280579_1_book-review-maurier-takeoff

SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES by Ray Bradbury

http://www.raybradbury.com/books/somethingwicked-hc.html 

VERLAND: THE TRANSFORMATION by B. E. Scully

http://horrornews.net/46521/book-review-verland-the-transformation-author-b-e-scully/ 

Our group discussions of these works may be found here: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/group_folder/90262?group_id=13824

We are currently reading Robert Aickman’s collection THE WINE-DARK SEA.

Join us at: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/13824-literary-darkness

Leave a Reply