100 Best Gothic Books and Stories (of All Time)


gothic books novels stories novellas literature

Gothic novels are notable for their overwrought drama, dark corridors, mysterious locales and eerie atmospheres. The list below encompasses a variety of Gothic books, short stories and novellas, both modern and classic, and includes Southern Gothic novels as well.

This list is divided into the following categories:

General Gothic Novels
Gothic Short Stories and Novellas
Southern Gothic Novels


For a quick primer on the Gothic genre and Southern Gothic sub-genre:

What are Gothic Novels?

Gothic novels typically dabble with darker elements, like horror, death or the macabre. It’s a genre typified by heightened emotions, often with an air of sexuality or romance as well. There’s also generally a reliance on supernatural or unusual events to guide the plot.

What is Southern Gothic literature?

Southern Gothic literature is a sub-genre of the Gothic novel. Southern Gothic literature typically to replaces the euro-centric elements of traditionally Gothic writing like castles and maidens and replaces them with American Southern elements like farmhouses, churches, small town lawyers or the local drunkard.

They are typically gritty or grotesque. Additionally, the issues that Southern Gothic novels explore typically grapple with a different set of social issues than “traditional” Gothic novels and have cultural characteristics that are reflexive of the American South.

However, in terms of the tone, the supernatural elements and a focus on darker aspects of life, it’s clear why these novels fall under the classification of “Gothic novels.”


General Gothic Novels

Jane Eyre
Charlotte Bronte

What It's About: An iconic novel dressed in a fierce design by acclaimed fashion illustrator Ruben Toledo. This couture-inspired collection also features The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dracula, The Scarlet Letter, Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice.

Orphaned Jane Eyre endures an unhappy childhood, hated by her aunt and cousins and then sent to comfortless Lowood School...

Publication Date: October 16, 1847
  
books i own physical tbr favourites


Wuthering Heights
Emily Bronte

What It's About: Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father. After Mr Earnshaw’s death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine’s brother Hindley, and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights...

Publication Date: August 25, 2009
  
classics romance classic


Rebecca
Daphne Du Maurier

What It's About: An alternative cover edition for this ISBN can be found here.

"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. . ."

With these words, the reader is ushered into an isolated gray stone mansion on the windswept Cornish coast, as the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter recalls the chilling the chilling events that transpired as she began her new life as the young bride of a husband she barely knew...

Publication Date: November 1, 1997
  
mystery gothic romance


My Cousin Rachel
Daphne du Maurier

What It's About: From the bestselling author of Rebecca, another classic set in beautiful and mysterious Cornwall.

I threw the piece of paper on the fire. She saw it burn ...Orphaned at an early age, Philip Ashley is raised by his benevolent older cousin, Ambrose. Resolutely single, Ambrose delights in Philip as his heir, a man who will love his grand home as much as he does himself...

Publication Date: April 18, 2017
  
classics mystery gothic


The Thirteenth Tale
Diane Setterfield

What It's About: All children mythologize their birth...So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter's collection of stories, which are as famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale as they are for the delight and enchantment of the twelve that do exist.

The enigmatic Winter has spent six decades creating various outlandish life histories for herself -- all of them inventions that have brought her fame and fortune but have kept her violent and tragic past a secret...

Publication Date: September 12, 2006
  
mystery historical fiction book club


We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Shirley Jackson

What It's About: Shirley Jackson’s beloved gothic tale of a peculiar girl named Merricat and her family’s dark secret

Taking readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family and the struggle that ensues when a cousin arrives at their estate...

Publication Date: September 21, 1962
  
gothic mystery audiobook


The Shadow of the Wind
Carlos Ruiz Zafon

What It's About: Hidden in the heart of the old city of Barcelona is the 'Cemetery of Forgotten Books', a labyrinthine library of obscure and forgotten titles. To this library, a man brings his ten-year-old son, Daniel, one cold morning in 1945. Daniel is allowed to choose one book and from the dusty shelves pulls The Shadow of the Wind by Juliån Carax...

Publication Date: February 18, 2024
  
historical fiction mystery fantasy


The Phantom of the Opera
Gaston Leroux

What It's About: "One of the most famous ghost stories that no one has actually read" (New York Times), The Phantom of the Opera is the first in the Haunted Library Horror Classics series presented by the Horror Writers Association. An unabridged edition of the novel that inspired the famous Andrew Lloyd Webber musical...

Publication Date: January 7, 2020
  
horror romance classic


The Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde

What It's About: 'The horror, whatever it was, had not yet entirely spoiled that marvellous beauty'

Enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, Dorian Gray exchanges his soul for eternal youth and beauty. Influenced by his friend Lord Henry Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life, indulging his desires in secret while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society...

Publication Date: February 4, 2003
  
classics physical tbr horror


The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas

What It's About: A popular bestseller since its publication in 1844, The Count of Monte Cristo is one of the great page-turning thrillers of all time. Set against the tumultuous years of the post-Napoleonic era, Alexandre Dumas’s grand historical romance recounts the swashbuckling adventures of Edmond Dantès, a dashing young sailor falsely accused of treason...

Publication Date: August 28, 1844
  
classics classic historical fiction


Northanger Abbey
Jane Austen

What It's About: Catherine Morland is a young girl with a very active imagination. Her entry into the fashionable scene in Bath results in an invitation to stay with new friends at Northanger Abbey, but Catherine's naivety and love of sensational novels lead to embarrassing and entertaining consequences.

"Jane Austen is a genius, and Northanger Abbey is hugely underrated...

Publication Date: December 20, 1817
  
classic books i own gothic

The Bloody Chamber
Angela Carter

What It's About: From familiar fairy tales and legends - Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss in Boots, Beauty and the Beast, vampires and werewolves - Angela Carter has created an absorbing collection of dark, sensual, fantastic stories.

Publication Date: January 1, 1990
  
fantasy horror gothic


The Magic Toyshop
Angela Carter

What It's About: One night Melanie walks through the garden in her mother's wedding dress. The next morning her world is shattered. Forced to leave the comfortable home of her childhood, she is sent to London to live with relatives she never met: Aunt Margaret, beautiful and speechless, and her brothers, Francie, whose graceful music belies his clumsy nature, and the volatile Finn, who kisses Melanie in the ruins of the pleasure garden...

Publication Date: August 1, 1996
  
fantasy gothic magical realism


Her Fearful Symmetry
Audrey Niffenegger

What It's About: Audrey Niffenegger's spectacularly compelling second novel opens with a letter that alters the fate of every character. Julia and Valentina Poole are semi-normal American twenty-year-olds with seemingly little interest in college or finding jobs. Their attachment to one another is intense. One morning the mailman delivers a thick envelope to their house in the suburbs of Chicago...

Publication Date: September 29, 2009
  
fantasy books i own book club


White is for Witching
Helen Oyeyemi

What It's About: In a vast, mysterious house on the cliffs near Dover, the Silver family is reeling from the hole punched into its heart. Lily is gone and her twins, Miranda and Eliot, and her husband, the gentle Luc, mourn her absence with unspoken intensity. All is not well with the house, either, which creaks and grumbles and malignly confuses visitors in its mazy rooms, forcing winter apples in the garden when the branches should be bare...

Publication Date: June 23, 2009
  
fantasy gothic magical realism


Bitter Orange
Claire Fuller

What It's About: From the attic of Lyntons, a dilapidated English country mansion, Frances Jellico sees them—Cara first: dark and beautiful, then Peter: striking and serious. The couple is spending the summer of 1969 in the rooms below hers while Frances is researching the architecture in the surrounding gardens. But she's distracted...

Publication Date: July 19, 2018
  
historical fiction mystery thriller


The Broken Girls
Simone St. James

What It's About: A breakout suspense novel from the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare.

Vermont, 1950. There's a place for the girls whom no one wants--the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It's called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it's located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted...

Publication Date: March 20, 2018
  
mystery thriller historical fiction


Mexican Gothic
Silvia Moreno-Garcia

What It's About: He is trying to poison me.
You must come for me, Noemí.
You have to save me.

After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside, unsure what she will find.

Noemí is an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, more suited to cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing...

Publication Date: June 30, 2020
  
horror historical fiction gothic


Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Patrick Süskind

What It's About: In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift: an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he lives to decipher the odors of Paris, and apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs...

Publication Date: February 26, 1985
  
classics historical fiction horror


Slade House
David Mitchell

What It's About: Keep your eyes peeled for a small black iron door.

Down the road from a working-class British pub, along the brick wall of a narrow alley, if the conditions are exactly right, you’ll find the entrance to Slade House. A stranger will greet you by name and invite you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave...

Publication Date: June 28, 2016
  
horror fantasy mystery


Black Rabbit Hall
Eve Chase

What It's About: One golden family. One fateful summer. Four lives changed forever.

Amber Alton knows that the hours pass differently at Black Rabbit Hall, her London family's country estate where no two clocks read the same. Summers there are perfect, timeless. Not much ever happens. Until, one stormy evening in 1968, it does...

Publication Date: June 26, 2015
  
historical fiction mystery gothic


The Secret History
Donna Tartt

What It's About: Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last—inexorably—into evil.

Publication Date: September 16, 1992
  
physical tbr dark academia mystery


The House at Riverton
Kate Morton

What It's About: An alternate cover edition can be found here.

The House at Riverton is a gorgeous debut novel set in England between the wars. Perfect for fans of "Downton Abbey," it's the story of an aristocratic family, a house, a mysterious death, and a way of life that vanished forever, told in flashback by a woman who witnessed it all...

Publication Date: March 3, 2009
  
historical fiction mystery historical


The Distant Hours
Kate Morton

What It's About: A long lost letter arrives in the post and Edie Burchill finds herself on a journey to Milderhurst Castle, a great but moldering old house, where the Blythe spinsters live and where her mother was billeted 50 years before as a 13 year old child during WWII. The elder Blythe sisters are twins and have spent most of their lives looking after the third and youngest sister, Juniper, who hasn’t been the same since her fiance jilted her in 1941...

Publication Date: November 9, 2010
  
historical fiction mystery historical


The Silent Companions
Laura Purcell

What It's About: When Elsie married handsome young heir Rupert Bainbridge, she believed she was destined for a life of luxury. But pregnant and widowed just weeks after their wedding, with her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie has only her late husband’s awkward cousin for company--or so she thinks...

Publication Date: October 5, 2017
  
historical fiction gothic mystery


The Corset / The Poison Thread
Laura Purcell

What It's About: A thrilling Victorian gothic horror tale about a young seamstress who claims her needle and thread have the power to kill

Dorothea Truelove is young, wealthy, and beautiful. Ruth Butterham is young, poor, and awaiting trial for murder.

When Dorothea's charitable work brings her to Oakgate Prison, she is delighted by the chance to explore her fascination with phrenology and test her hypothesis that the shape of a person's skull can cast a light on their darkest crimes...

Publication Date: September 20, 2018
  
horror gothic mystery


The Hoarder / Mr. Flood's Last Resort
Jess Kidd

What It's About: Maud Drennan - underpaid carer and unintentional psychic - is the latest in a long line of dogsbodies for the ancient, belligerent Cathal Flood. Yet despite her best efforts, Maud is drawn into the mysteries concealed in his filthy, once-grand home. She realises that something is changing: Cathal, and the junk-filled rooms, are opening up to her...

Publication Date: February 1, 2018
  
mystery magical realism fantasy


The Stranger Diaries
Elly Griffiths

What It's About: Librarian note: See alternate cover edition here.

A dark story has been brought to terrifying life. Can the ending be rewritten in time?

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer RM Holland, she teaches a short course on it every year...

Publication Date: November 1, 2018
  
mystery thriller gothic


The House Between Tides
Sarah Maine

What It's About: Fans of Kate Morton will love this atmospheric and immersive debut novel of a woman who returns to her ancestral home in Scotland and discovers a century-old secret buried in the basement.

Following the deaths of her last living relatives, Hetty Deveraux leaves her strained marriage behind in London and returns to her ancestral home, a crumbling estate in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, with the intention of renovating and reselling it as a hotel, much to the dismay of the locals...

Publication Date: March 24, 2014
  
historical fiction mystery scotland


The Essex Serpent
Sarah Perry

What It's About: Sarah Perry's award-winning novel, set at the end of the nineteenth century and inspired by true events.

Moving between Essex and London, myth and modernity, Cora Seaborne's spirited search for the Essex Serpent encourages all around her to test their allegiance to faith or reason in an age of rapid scientific advancement...

Publication Date: May 27, 2016
  
historical fiction historical dnf


House of Salt and Sorrows
Erin A. Craig

What It's About: In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls' lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods...

Publication Date: August 6, 2019
  
young adult retellings horror


The Fate of Mercy Alban
Wendy Webb

What It's About: From award-winning novelist Wendy Webb comes a spine-tingling mystery about family secrets set in a big, old haunted house on Lake Superior.

Grace Alban has spent twenty years away from her childhood home, the stately Alban House, for reasons she would rather forget. But when her mother's unexpected death brings Grace and her teen-age daughter home, she finds more haunting the halls and passageways of Alban House than her own personal demons...

Publication Date: February 5, 2013
  
mystery horror gothic


Wakenhyrst
Michelle Paver

What It's About: 1906: A large manor house, Wake's End, sits on the edge of a bleak Fen, just outside the town of Wakenhyrst. It is the home of Edmund Stearn and his family – a historian, scholar and land-owner, he's an upstanding member of the local community. But all is not well at Wake's End. Edmund dominates his family tyrannically, in particular daughter Maud...

Publication Date: April 4, 2019
  
horror historical fiction gothic


Bone China
Laura Purcell

What It's About: Consumption has ravaged Louise Pinecroft's family, leaving her and her father alone and heartbroken. But Dr Pinecroft has plans for a revolutionary experiment: convinced that sea air will prove to be the cure his wife and children needed, he arranges to house a group of prisoners suffering from the same disease in the cliffs beneath his new Cornish home...

Publication Date: September 19, 2019
  
historical fiction gothic horror


The Familiars
Stacey Halls

What It's About: Fleetwood Shuttleworth is 17 years old, married, and pregnant for the fourth time. But as the mistress at Gawthorpe Hall, she still has no living child, and her husband Richard is anxious for an heir. When Fleetwood finds a letter she isn¹t supposed to read from the doctor who delivered her third stillbirth, she is dealt the crushing blow that she will not survive another pregnancy...

Publication Date: February 7, 2019
  
historical fiction fantasy historical


The Historian
Elizabeth Kostova

What It's About: For centuries, the story of Dracula has captured the imagination of readers and storytellers alike. Kostova's breathtaking first novel, ten years in the writing, is an accomplished retelling of this ancient tale. "The story that follows is one I never intended to commit to paper... As an historian, I have learned that, in fact, not everyone who reaches back into history can survive it...

Publication Date: June 14, 2005
  
historical fiction fantasy horror


The Gargoyle
Andrew Davidson

What It's About: A young man is fighting for his life. Into his room walks a bewitching woman who believes she can save him. Their journey will have you believing in the impossible. The nameless and beautiful narrator of The Gargoyle is driving along a dark road when he is distracted by what seems to be a flight of arrows...

Publication Date: August 5, 2008
  
fantasy historical fiction romance


The Paying Guests
Sarah Waters

What It's About: It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa—a large, silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants—life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs...

Publication Date: August 28, 2014
  
historical fiction lgbt historical


The Little Stranger
Sarah Waters

What It's About: One postwar summer in his home of rural Warwickshire, Dr. Faraday, the son of a maid who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country physician, is called to a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once impressive and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at twenty to nine...

Publication Date: April 30, 2009
  
historical fiction horror gothic


Wide Sargasso Sea
Jean Rhys

What It's About: Wide Sargasso Sea, a masterpiece of modern fiction, was Jean Rhys’s return to the literary center stage. She had a startling early career and was known for her extraordinary prose and haunting women characters. With Wide Sargasso Sea, her last and best-selling novel, she ingeniously brings into light one of fiction’s most fascinating characters: the madwoman in the attic from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre...

Publication Date: January 25, 2016
  
historical fiction books i own classic


The Shining
stephen king

What It's About: Jack Torrance's new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he'll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote...

Publication Date: January 28, 1977
  
horror stephen king thriller


Something Wicked This Way Comes
Ray Bradbury

What It's About: One of Ray Bradbury’s best-known and most popular novels, Something Wicked This Way Comes , now featuring a new introduction and material about its longstanding influence on culture and genre.

For those who still dream and remember, for those yet to experience the hypnotic power of its dark poetry, step inside...

Publication Date: September 17, 1962
  
horror fantasy classics


Rosemary's Baby
Ira Levin

What It's About: Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor husband Guy move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and mostly elderly residents. Neighbors Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome the Woodhouses to the building, and despite Rosemary's reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises that she keeps hearing, her husband takes a shine to them...

Publication Date: March 12, 1967
  
classics thriller books i own


The Hound of the Baskervilles
Arthur Conan Doyle

What It's About: Could the sudden death of Sir Charles Baskerville have been caused by the gigantic ghostly hound that is said to have haunted his family for generations? Arch-rationalist Sherlock Holmes characteristically dismisses the theory as nonsense. And immersed in another case, he sends Watson to Devon to protect the Baskerville heir and observe the suspects close at hand...

Publication Date: March 25, 1902
  
crime classic sherlock holmes


The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Anne Bronte

What It's About: Gilbert Markham is deeply intrigued by Helen Graham, a beautiful and secretive young woman who has moved into nearby Wildfell Hall with her young son. He is quick to offer Helen his friendship, but when her reclusive behaviour becomes the subject of local gossip and speculation, Gilbert begins to wonder whether his trust in her has been misplaced...

Publication Date: June 1, 1996
  
classic romance books i own


The Woman in White
Wilkie Collins

What It's About: Librarian note: An alternate cover edition can be found here.

The Woman in White famously opens with Walter Hartright's eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter is drawn into the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his "charming" friend Count Fosco, who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons and poison...

Publication Date: November 26, 1859
  
classics mystery gothic


Frankenstein
Mary Shelley

What It's About: Compete 1818 edition Annotated and Illustrated. Esta edición de Frankenstein acompaña la versión original de 1818 del manuscrito meticulosamente revisada y corregida línea por línea por Charles E. Robinson, una de las autoridades más destacadas del mundo en el texto con anotaciones y breves ensayos de estudiosos de primera fila que exploran los aspectos científicos, sociales y éticos de este maravilloso relato.

Publication Date: Not Available
  
horror science fiction sci fi


Dracula
Bram Stoker

What It's About: When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula purchase a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries in his client's castle. Soon afterwards, disturbing incidents unfold in England: an unmanned ship is wrecked; strange puncture marks appear on a young woman's neck; and a lunatic asylum inmate raves about the imminent arrival of his 'Master'...

Publication Date: May 26, 1897
  
horror fantasy classic


Lady Audley's Secret
Mary Elizabeth Braddon

What It's About: In this outlandish, outrageous triumph of Scandal fiction, a new Lady Audley arrives at the manor: young, beautiful - and very mysterious. Why does she behave so strangely? What, exactly, is the dark secret this seductive outsider carries with her?

A huge success in the nineteenth century, the book revels in an anti-heroine - with her good looks and hidden past - who embodied perfectly the concerns of the Victorian age with morality and madness.

Publication Date: May 29, 2012
  
mystery victorian gothic


The Mysteries of Udolpho
Ann Radcliffe

What It's About: A best-seller in its day and a potent influence on Sade, Poe, and other purveyors of eighteenth and nineteenth-century Gothic horror, The Mysteries of Udolpho remains one of the most important works in the history of European fiction. After Emily St. Aubuert is imprisoned by her evil guardian, Count Montoni, in his gloomy medieval fortress in the Appenines, terror becomes the order of the day...

Publication Date: November 15, 2008
  
classics gothic horror


The Monk
Matthew Lewis

What It's About: 'He now saw himself stained with the most loathed and monstrous sins, the object of universal execration ... doomed to perish in tortures the most severe'

Ambrosio, a pious monk, finds himself drawn to his pupil, Matilda, a young woman in disguise. Unable to control himself, he sates his lust, and soon tires of her...

Publication Date: August 28, 2012
  
classics gothic horror


The Name of the Rose
Umberto Eco

What It's About: An international sensation and winner of the Premio Strega and the Prix Médicis Étranger awards

The year is 1327. Benedictines in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective...

Publication Date: April 22, 2014
  
historical fiction mystery historical


The Turn of the Screw
Henry James

What It's About: The Turn of the Screw, James's great masterpiece of haunting atmosphere and unbearable tension, tells of a young governess sent to a country house to take charge of two orphans, Miles and Flora. Unsettled by a dark foreboding of menace within the house, she soon comes to believe that something, or someone, malevolent is stalking the children in her care...

Publication Date: Not Available
  
classics horror gothic


The Haunting of Hill House
Shirley Jackson

What It's About: Four seekers have arrived at the rambling old pile known as Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of psychic phenomena; Theodora, his lovely and lighthearted assistant; Luke, the adventurous future inheritor of the estate; and Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman with a dark past...

Publication Date: October 16, 1959
  
horror gothic mystery


Flowers in the Attic
V.C. Andrews

What It's About: At the top of the stairs there are four secrets hidden—blond, innocent, and fighting for their lives…

They were a perfect and beautiful family—until a heartbreaking tragedy shattered their happiness. Now, for the sake of an inheritance that will ensure their future, the children must be hidden away out of sight, as if they never existed...

Publication Date: November 12, 2019
  
horror young adult classics


The Graveyard Book
Neil Gaiman

What It's About: Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts.

There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard. But it is in the land of the living that real danger lurks for it is there that the man Jack lives and he has already killed Bod's family.

Publication Date: September 30, 2008
  
young adult horror middle grade

Novellas and Short Stories

The Fall of the House of Usher
Edgar Allan Poe

What It's About: And much of Madness and more of Sin
And Horror the Soul of the Plot

The lines from 'Ligeia' epitomize the familiar Poe, the arch-priest of Gothic horror, author of 'The Masque of the Red Death' and 'The Pit and the Pendulum'. That Poe, unquestioned master of 'the Grotesque and Arabesque', is fully represented here, but the volume also includes generous selections from his poetry and critical writings...

Publication Date: October 7, 1986
  
classics horror short stories


The Tell-Tale Heart: And Other Stories
Edgar Allan Poe

What It's About: A masquerade ball in a secluded abbey; a vendetta settled in the wine cellars of an Italian palazzo; a gloomy castle in a desolated landscape; the beating of a heart beneath the floorboards: the plots and settings of Poe’s dark, mysterious tales continue to haunt the popular imagination. This new selection introduces the greatest Gothic fiction from one of the most deranged and deliciously weird writers of the 19th century...

Publication Date: January 1, 2017
  
classics horror short stories


The Yellow Wall-Paper
Charlotte Perkins Gilman

What It's About: Diagnosed by her physician husband with a “temporary nervous depression—a slight hysterical tendency” after the birth of her child, a woman is urged to rest for the summer in an old colonial mansion. Forbidden from doing work of any kind, she spends her days in the house’s former nursery, with its barred windows, scratched floor, and peeling yellow wallpaper...

Publication Date: January 10, 1892
  
horror feminism gothic


The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Washington Irving

What It's About: In The Sketch-Book (1820-21), Irving explores the uneasy relationship of an American writer to English literary traditions. In two sketches, he experiments with tales transplanted from Europe, thereby creating the first classic American short stories, Rip Van Winkle, and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Based on Irving's final revision of his most popular work, this new edition includes comprehensive explanatory notes of The Sketch-Book's sources for the modern reader.

Publication Date: October 1, 2017
  
horror short stories books i own


Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales
Robert Louis Stevenson

What It's About: 'All human beings, as we meet them, are commingled out of good and evil: and Edward Hyde, alone in the ranks of mankind, was pure evil'

Published as a shilling shocker, Robert Louis Stevenson's dark psychological fantasy gave birth to the idea of the split personality. The story of respectable Dr Jekyll's strange association with damnable young man Edward Hyde; the hunt through fog-bound London for a killer; and the final revelation of Hyde's true identity is a chilling exploration of humanity's basest capacity for evil.

Publication Date: January 5, 1886
  
gothic science fiction mystery


Wylding Hall
Elizabeth Hand

What It's About: When the young members of a British acid-folk band are compelled by their manager to record their unique music, they hole up at Wylding Hall, an ancient country house with dark secrets. There they create the album that will make their reputation, but at a terrifying cost: Julian Blake, the group’s lead singer, disappears within the mansion and is never seen or heard from again...

Publication Date: March 20, 2015
  
fantasy gothic mystery


Gothic Tales
Elizabeth Gaskell

What It's About: 'Such whispered tales, such old temptations and hauntings, and devilish terrors'

Elizabeth Gaskell's chilling Gothic tales blend the real and the supernatural to eerie, compelling effect. 'Disappearances', inspired by local legends of mysterious vanishings, mixes gossip and fact; 'Lois the Witch', a novella based on an account of the Salem witch hunts, shows how sexual desire and jealousy lead to hysteria; while in 'The Old Nurse's Story' a mysterious child roams the freezing Northumberland moors...

Publication Date: August 14, 2000
  
gothic horror short stories


The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton
Edith Wharton

What It's About: These 11 spine-tingling tales of the supernatural bring to light the author's interest in the traditional New England ghost story and her fascination with spirits, hauntings, and other phenomena. Fine line-drawings by Laszlo Kubinyi enhance the mysterious and sometimes chilling mood.

The lady's maid's bell (1904)
The eyes (1910)
Afterward (1910)
Kerfol (1916)
The triumph of night (1914)
Miss Mary Pask (1925)
Bewitched (1925)
Mr Jones (1928)
Pomegranate seed (1931)
The looking glass (1935)
All souls' (1937)

Publication Date: October 20, 2020
  
short stories horror classics


American Gothic Tales
Joyce Carol Oates

What It's About: Joyce Carol Oates has a special perspective on the “gothic” in American short fiction, at least partially because her own horror yarns rank on the spine-tingling chart with the masters. She is able to see the unbroken link of the macabre that ties Edgar Allan Poe to Anne Rice and to recognize the dark psychological bonds between Henry James and Stephen King...

Publication Date: December 1, 1996
  
short stories gothic books i own


Things We Lost in the Fire
Mariana Enriquez

What It's About: In these wildly imaginative, devilishly daring tales of the macabre, internationally bestselling author Mariana Enriquez brings contemporary Argentina to vibrant life as a place where shocking inequality, violence, and corruption are the law of the land, while military dictatorship and legions of desaparecidos loom large in the collective memory...

Publication Date: February 10, 2016
  
short stories horror argentina


Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales
Yoko Ogawa

What It's About: SINISTER FORCES COLLIDE AND UNITE A HOST OF DESPERATE CHARACTERS IN THIS EERIE CYCLE OF INTERWOVEN TALES FROM YOKO OGAWA, THE CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED AUTHOR OF THE HOUSEKEEPER AND THE PROFESSOR.

An aspiring writer moves into a new apartment and discovers that her landlady has murdered her husband...

Publication Date: June 1, 1998
  
horror japan japanese


The Diving Pool: Three Novellas
Yoko Ogawa

What It's About: From Akutagawa Award-winning author Yoko Ogawa comes a haunting trio of novellas about love, fertility, obsession, and how even the most innocent gestures may contain a hairline crack of cruel intent. A lonely teenage girl falls in love with her foster brother as she watches him leap from a high diving board into a pool—a peculiar infatuation that sends unexpected ripples through her life...

Publication Date: January 22, 2008
  
japan japanese japanese literature


The Ballad of the Sad Café and Other Stories
Carson McCullers

What It's About: A classic work that has charmed generations of readers, this collection assembles Carson McCullers’s best stories, including her beloved novella “The Ballad of the Sad Café.” A haunting tale of a human triangle that culminates in an astonishing brawl, the novella introduces readers to Miss Amelia, a formidable southern woman whose café serves as the town’s gathering place...

Publication Date: January 1, 1951
  
short stories classics southern gothic


Wilderness Tips
Margaret Atwood

What It's About: In each of these tales Margaret Atwood deftly illuminates the single instant that shapes a whole life: in a few brief pages we watch as characters progress from the vulnerabilities of adolescence through the passions of youth into the precarious complexities of middle age.  By superimposing the past on the present, Atwood paints interior landscapes shaped by time, regret, and life's lost chances, endowing even the banal with a sense of mystery...

Publication Date: January 1, 2010
  
canadian books i own canada


Runaway
Alice Munro

What It's About: The incomparable Alice Munro’s bestselling and rapturously acclaimed Runaway is a book of extraordinary stories about love and its infinite betrayals and surprises, from the title story about a young woman who, though she thinks she wants to, is incapable of leaving her husband, to three stories about a woman named Juliet and the emotions that complicate the luster of her intimate relationships...

Publication Date: November 8, 2005
  
short stories canadian canada


Through the Woods
Emily Carroll

What It's About: 'It came from the woods. Most strange things do.'

Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss.

These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll.

Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there...

Publication Date: July 1, 2014
  
horror graphic novel comics


The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories
Tim Burton

What It's About: From breathtaking stop-action animation to bittersweet modern fairy tales, filmmaker Tim Burton has become known for his unique visual brilliance – witty and macabre at once. Now he gives birth to a cast of gruesomely sympathetic children – misunderstood outcasts who struggle to find love and belonging in their cruel, cruel worlds...

Publication Date: October 22, 1997
  
short stories fantasy books i own


Coraline
Neil Gaiman

What It's About: The day after they moved in, Coraline went exploring....

In Coraline's family's new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close.

The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own...

Publication Date: July 2, 2002
  
horror young adult middle grade


Southern Gothic Novels

Sing, Unburied, Sing
Jesmyn Ward

What It's About: A searing and profound Southern odyssey by National Book Award–winner Jesmyn Ward.

In Jesmyn Ward’s first novel since her National Book Award–winning Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. Drawing on Morrison and Faulkner, The Odyssey and the Old Testament, Ward gives us an epochal story, a journey through Mississippi’s past and present that is both an intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle...

Publication Date: September 5, 2017
  
book club magical realism contemporary


Beloved
Toni Morrison

What It's About:

Publication Date: June 8, 2004
  


The Color Purple
Alice Walker

What It's About: Read the original inspiration for the new, boldly reimagined film from producers Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg, starring Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, and Fantasia Barrino.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award

A powerful cultural touchstone of modern American literature, The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia...

Publication Date: June 1, 1982
  
historical fiction feminism books i own


To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee

What It's About: 'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'

A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel - a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties...

Publication Date: July 11, 1960
  
classics historical fiction books i own


Wise Blood
Flannery O'Connor

What It's About: The American short story master Flannery O'Connor's haunting first novel of faith, false prophets, and redemptive wisdom.

Wise Blood, Flannery O'Connor's astonishing and haunting first novel, is a classic of twentieth-century literature. It is the story of Hazel Motes, a twenty-two-year-old caught in an unending struggle against his inborn, desperate fate...

Publication Date: May 15, 1952
  
classics southern gothic novels


The Violent Bear It Away
Flannery O'Connor

What It's About: First published in 1960, The Violent Bear It Away is now a landmark in American literature. It is a dark and absorbing example of the Gothic sensibility and bracing satirical voice that are united in Flannery O'Conner's work. In it, the orphaned Francis Marion Tarwater and his cousins, the schoolteacher Rayber, defy the prophecy of their dead uncle--that Tarwater will become a prophet and will baptize Rayber's young son, Bishop...

Publication Date: January 1, 1960
  
classics southern gothic 1001 books


In Cold Blood
Truman Capote

What It's About: On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy...

Publication Date: January 1, 1959
  
non fiction classics true crime


The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
Carson McCullers

What It's About: With the publication of her first novel, THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER, Carson McCullers, all of twenty-three, became a literary sensation. With its profound sense of moral isolation and its compassionate glimpses into its characters' inner lives, the novel is considered McCullers' finest work, an enduring masterpiece first published by Houghton Mifflin in 1940...

Publication Date: June 4, 1940
  
classics book club classic


Their Eyes Were Watching God
Zora Neale Hurston

What It's About: Fair and long-legged, independent and articulate, Janie Crawford sets out to be her own person—no mean feat for a black woman in the '30s. Janie's quest for identity takes her through three marriages and into a journey back to her roots.

Publication Date: May 30, 2006
  
classics historical fiction school


Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
John Berendt

What It's About: A sublime and seductive reading experience. Brilliantly conceived and masterfully written, this enormously engaging portrait of a most beguiling Southern city has become a modern classic.

Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty, early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares...

Publication Date: January 13, 1994
  
non fiction true crime mystery


The Devil All the Time
Donald Ray Pollock

What It's About: Set in rural southern Ohio and West Virginia, The Devil All the Time follows a cast of characters from the end of World War II to the 1960s. There’s Willard Russell, tormented veteran of the carnage in the South Pacific, who can’t save his beautiful wife, Charlotte, from an agonizing death by cancer no matter how much sacrifi­cial blood he pours on his “prayer log...

Publication Date: July 12, 2011
  
horror thriller historical fiction


Knockemstiff
Donald Ray Pollock

What It's About: In this unforgettable work of fiction, Donald Ray Pollock peers into the soul of a tough Midwestern American town to reveal the sad, stunted but resilient lives of its residents.

Spanning a period from the mid-sixties to the late nineties, the linked stories that comprise Knockemstiff feature a cast of recurring characters who are woebegone, baffled and depraved but irresistibly, undeniably real...

Publication Date: March 18, 2008
  
short stories southern gothic contemporary


Winter's Bone
Daniel Woodrell

What It's About: The sheriff's deputy at the front door brings hard news to Ree Dolly. Her father has skipped bail on charges that he ran a crystal meth lab, and the Dollys will lose their house if he doesn't show up for his next court date.

Ree's father has disappeared before. The Dolly clan has worked the shadowy side of the law for generations, and arrests (and attempts to avoid them) are part of life in Rathlin Valley...

Publication Date: August 7, 2006
  
mystery contemporary crime


The Sound and the Fury
William Faulkner

What It's About: “I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire. . . . I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all of your breath trying to conquer it. Because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools...

Publication Date: October 7, 1929
  
classics literature classic


Absalom, Absalom!
William Faulkner

What It's About: Published in 1936, Absalom, Absalom! is considered by many to be William Faulkner's masterpiece. Although the novel's complex and fragmented structure poses considerable difficulty to readers, the book's literary merits place it squarely in the ranks of America's finest novels. The story concerns Thomas Sutpen, a poor man who finds wealth and then marries into a respectable family...

Publication Date: November 1, 1990
  
classics literature classic


Swamplandia!
Karen Russell

What It's About: The Bigtree alligator wrestling dynasty is in decline—think Buddenbrooks set in the Florida Everglades—and Swamplandia!, their island home and gator-wrestling theme park, is swiftly being encroached upon by a sophisticated competitor known as the "World of Darkness."

Ava, a resourceful but terrified twelve-year-old, must manage seventy gators and the vast, inscrutable landscape of her own grief...

Publication Date: February 1, 2011
  
book club magical realism abandoned


The Road
Cormac McCarthy

What It's About: The searing, post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son’s fight to survive.

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there...

Publication Date: September 26, 2006
  
science fiction dystopian post apocalyptic


Child of God
Cormac McCarthy

What It's About: Falsely accused of rape, Lester Ballard – a violent, dispossessed man who haunts the hill country of East Tennessee – is released from jail and allowed to roam at will, preying on the population with his strange lusts. His everyday actions are transformed into stunning scenes of the comic and the grotesque...

Publication Date: January 1, 1973
  
horror southern gothic novels


Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Tennessee Williams

What It's About: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof first heated up Broadway in 1955 with its gothic American story of brothers vying for their dying father’s inheritance amid a whirlwind of sexuality, untethered in the person of Maggie the Cat. The play also daringly showcased the burden of sexuality repressed in the agony of her husband, Brick Pollitt...

Publication Date: September 17, 2004
  
classics drama play


The Glass Menagerie
Tennessee Williams

What It's About: No play in the modern theater has so captured the imagination and heart of the American public as Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie. As Williams's first popular success, it launched the brilliant, if somewhat controversial, career, of our pre-eminent lyric playwright. Since its premiere in Chicago in 1944, with the legendary Laurette Taylor in the role of Amanda, Menagaerie has been the bravura piece for great actresses from Jessica Tandy to Joanne Woodward, and is studied and performed in classrooms and theatres around the world...

Publication Date: June 17, 1999
  
classics drama play


Beautiful Creatures
Kami Garcia

What It's About: Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever...

Publication Date: December 1, 2009
  
fantasy young adult paranormal


gothic books novels stories novellas literature

gothic books novels stories novellas literature

gothic books novels stories novellas literature

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