Gothic Readers Book Club

The Gothic Readers Book Club is a gathering of like-minded souls who read Gothic literature. Our goal is promote the best in modern and classic Gothic literature from around the globe.

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This is the first book in a new series called Seasons of the Dead from Rob Smales. The Dead of Winter features three novella/ short stories. Each one is a ghost story, but the hauntings and outcomes are all very different. The first, "The Christmas Spirit," is a story about a protective ghost and the child-like belief in magic, Santa, and all things wondrous. "Fishing Hole" is a radical 180 about revenge, terror, and alpha male culture. "Snowbirds" examines that delicate line between the ghosts of our past and the unreality of our present as the two worlds collide. Smales is a fantastic writer. His stories capture the Gothic tone and atmosphere so well. The fear is real. It follows you into the dark night long after the last page.

If You Like: Mary Shelley, Ambrose Bierce, Sheridan Le Fenu

Urban legends have always been a bizarre idea. They can be found in every culture and in every city around the world.  Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas have put together a great collection of stories based on these strange stories. The collection features stories from around the globe such as "Tin Cans" by Ekaterina Sedia. Set in Stalinist Russia, it's a take on the Russian legend of  Beria, who was known as "Stalin's butcher." "As Red as Red" by CaitlĂ­n R. Kiernan has a distinct Lovecraft feel with its creepy, dream-like state.
Carolyn Turgeon's "La Llorona" is based on the Mexican legend of the weeping woman who steals children. The tales here are bizarre, creepy, and dark. Highly recommended.

If You Like: H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, James Hogg, M. R. James

The Walls of the Castle is a haunting story of a soul trapped in guilt and loss. The castle is an old structure now serving a hospital, and it becomes the literal trap for a man struggling to deal with his son's death. The protagonist Kasteel is a man driven by dark impulses and his belief in life, the system, and happiness has been shattered. In desperation, he attempts to save others as a form of redemption, but there is more to the castle than doctors and medicine. As Kasteel seeks answers, he only finds more questions. Madness, fear of the unknown, and pain fill the pages. There were a few threads left dangling in the end, but this is a fine tale.

If You Like: Henry James, Sheridan Le Fanu, H.P. Lovecraft


Although lycanthropy and shapeshifting legends have existed for countless centuries, werewolves are not considered a staple of the Gothic literary tradition. Editor Andrew Barger gives us evidence to the contrary with his collection of the best of the wolf stories from the early modern period. Many of these stories have not been republished in over 150 years. There are more than just ghosts and vampires lurking in the 1800s!

If You Like: Edgar Allan Poe, Honor de Balzac, E. T. A. Hoffmann, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Prosper Mrime, James Hogg