Atwood, Margaret
The Handmaid's Tale
     Why? It's a frightening experience to watch a woman with a family,
     career, and independence lose her identity when [a Christian
     fundamentalist] goverment takes over and creates 3 classes of women:
     wives (with social status), handmaids (who breed), and aunts (who are
     the rest/teachers/enforcers). Another one that just stuck with me.
     - Jen (kuehne@cae.wisc.edu)
     I'll second this one. I'm in the middle of reading it right now, but I'm
     enthralled! It really is a frightening look at America, if the Fundamentalists
     take over America. Very 1984-ish, and very good. - Grimm

Borges, Jorge Luis

Bradbury, Ray
Farenheit 451

Braddon, Mary Elizabeth
Lady Audley's Secret
     A female response to Wilkie Collin's The Woman in White. Just goes to
     show that sweet little innocent Victorian angels were not all that men
     thought they were. - Twilight

Bronte, Charlotte
Jane Eyre
     This is _beautifully_ written, very romantic (and not in a silly, floofy way), and
     the title character is very real and believable and, once again, I could identify
     with her. - ~E.V.

Bronte, Emily
Wuthering Heights
     A book about passionate love which even death cannot conquer *hand, staple,
     forehead* which is notable because the protagonists are not particularly likeable
     people. Goes into themes of class structure and revenge, as well. I prefer this
     one to Jane Eyre; with the exception of a ghostly incident or two, it is a much
     more plausible story overall. And so beautifully written. - Thessaly

Bulgakov, Mikhail
The Master and Margarita

Byatt, A.S.

Calvino, Italo
The Castle of Crossed Destinies
If on a winter's night a traveller...

Carter, Angela
Burning Your Boats: The Collected Short Stories
The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr. Hoffman (aka The War of Dreams)
     A short novel (120pp) about a young teacher in an English university town
     who meets and marries a mentally unstable teenage girl. When the teacher's
     eccentric and violent younger brother returns to live with them, and the
     teacher's affairs with other women become public knowledge, the wife's
     mental illness takes over. This is a very nasty book - nobody is remotely
     sympathetic - I think I've read it at least five or six times. ;) - Thessaly
The Magic Toyshop
Nights at the Circus

Conrad, Joseph
Heart of Darkness
     It changed how I looked at the good and evil in humanity, and really
     opened my eyes when I was in high school. - faile alizarine

Coupland, Douglas
Generation X
Shampoo Planet
     Just found myself a remaindered hardcover copy and am rereading this
     for the second time. It's not my favorite Coupland piece, but it's still quite
     worthwhile. - Christabel LaMotte

Davies, Robertson
Rebel Angels
What's Bred in The Bone
The Lyre of Orpheus
     Yah, so it's a trilogy.... it's more like one big, long book. Straight fiction, it's
     about art and education and people, and they're bloody wonderful.
     - Leanan Sidhe

Dinesen, Isak
Out of Africa
Winter's Tales

Dunn, Katherine
Geek Love
     This is a book that took me a while to know if I liked or not. It's
     fascinating, disgusting, and fantastically real. If you like "real-life"
     stories of carnies, genetic mutations, and a mother's love, this is
     the novel for you. - Twilight

Eliot, George
     This book is 800 pages long. It is also funny, sad, absorbing, heartwrenching,
     and likely to make you say things like "Dammit, Rosamund, you bitch!" and
     cause people to look at you funny. Virginia Woolf (I think) called it "a novel
     for grownups," which it is. This is a book to be savored and digested.
     - rufus

Follett, Ken
Pillars of the Earth
     It's way up there on my book list, and it's something like 950 pages, and I've
     still read it nine or ten times, I think. It's about the politics and nuances of life
     in the Middle Ages (around 1100) and the building of a cathedral. It's the kind
     of book you don't put down. Plus it has one of the best opening lines ever...
     "The small boys came early to the hanging." - eloquence
     Quite possibly the best, most intricate piece of historical fiction ever to hit the
     NY Times best-seller list. The medieval story of the construction of a Cathedral
     and the lives connected to it, spanning 3 generations. - Raphrat

Forster, E.M.
Howards End
A Room With A View
     It's sharp, very witty, every time I read it I find another nuance I haven't noticed
     before. The language and story are beautiful. It's one of my favorite movies as well.
     It's one I've read about nine or ten times, when I'm feeling really depressed.
     - eloquence
     This is one of my favorite books, as well... it's about a girl who meets an
     unconventional young man while on a trip to Italy in the early 1900s. When they
     return to England, she becomes engaged to an upstanding and well-meaning but
     hopelessly dull prig, but very soon things that happened while she was in Italy
     start to interfere with her engagement, and she finds herself having to choose
     between the two men. It is *oh* so swoony and romantic, but makes some
     good points about relationships and independence as well. - Thessaly

Fraser, George MacDonald
The Pyrates
     I'm a longtime fan of his other work (the inimitable Flashman novels and his
     Highland regiment short stories) and have heard many recommendations for
     this particular novel over the years. Well, I'm currently in the midst of it, and
     they were all right -- it is the most over-the-top, uproarious, hysterical
     swashbuckling piece of derring-do I've seen in ages. - Christabel LaMotte

Fry, Christopher
The Lady's Not For Burning

Fry, Stephen
The Hippopotamus
The Liar

Gira, Michael
The Consumer
     This book is a collection of what Michael Gira refers to as his "fairy tales."
     Written at different times and at different junctures... this book is, if nothing else,
     a collection of some very grim situational satire and random malignant thoughts
     on life and love. If you liked Animal Farm... you'll LOVE The Consumer. It's a
     nice walk through the corridors of the former SWANS' mind.
     - The Lighthouse Keeper

Graves, Robert
I, Claudius

Hawthorne, Nathaniel
The Scarlet Letter
     Classic and devastating in a weird puritanical sort of way. The movie should be
     banned because it is awful. - Ash
Twice-Told Tales
     A collection of somewhat Poe-like gothic tales. My personal favorite is
     "Rappaccini's Daughter", which is about a botanist who experiments with
     poisonous plants, his beautiful daughter, and a young man who falls in love
     with her. - Thessaly

Helprin, Mark
A Soldier of the Great War

Homes, A. M.
The End of Alice
     Disgusting book about a pedophile in jail and his correspondance with a
     19-year-old girl obsessed with a young boy. Well-written and fascinating.
     - Opium Poppy Fields

Irving, John
A Prayer for Owen Meany

Lamb, Wally
She's Come Undone
     It blew me away - truly amazing, engaging, easy to get very absorbed in and
     just...ja. damned good. Follows a girl from age 4 to 40 as she goes insane,
     to college, gets married, has an abortion, is raped, has all of her family die
     one by one but still manages to be sarcastic and humorous. - mayfair

Leroux, Gaston
The Phantom of the Opera
     [This was recommended by several people; it seems to be a sort of goth favorite,
     although not as notoriously as, say, Dracula. It's about a deformed genius named
     Erik, who has for various reasons been able to build a virtual castle in the cellars
     of the Paris Opera House. The story's major plot involves a young soprano,
     Christine Daae, who he has become obsessed with and decided to make a star,
     and her childhood friend, Vicomte Raoul de Chagny, who has recently come
     back into her life and wishes to marry her. At the same time, there is an amusing
     subplot about Erik's penchant for bilking the Opera's managers out of a fortune.
     Just the right balance of excitement, mystery, romance, and horror, with a tear-
     jerker ending, all presented in a journalistic style. Try to get the Bantam Classics
     edition translated by Lowell Bair: it's the only modern translation, as well as the
     only unabridged edition available. Other editions have a more Edwardian flavor
     and edit a lot of detail information regarding the Opera House itself and the
     characters' pasts. - T.]

Marquez, Gabriel Garcia
Love and Other Demons
Love in the Time of Cholera
One Hundred Years of Solitude

Maupin, Armistead
Tales of the City
     These are highly absorbing and addictive books about a bunch of people living
     in an apartment building in San Francisco. - rufus (also recommends the sequels)

Nabokov, Vladimir

Pinkwater, Daniel
Young Adults
     This is the funniest thing that I have ever read. It's about a group of high school
     boys who worship the Dadaists, and create art, sort of, heh. In the second part/sequel,
     they get really, really interested in Zen because of a cookbook. In the third part,
     they go to college, sort of. This is sort of a comfort book, and most of the stuff is
     still funny, even after repeatedly reading it. - ~twilight~(little t.)

Pirsig, Robert M.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
     Zen was one of the cult books of the late sixties and early seventies,
     and is still one of the most brilliant books ever written. It details the
     author's cross-country cycle trip with his young son and some friends,
     intermixed with recollections of another personality, called Phadreus.
     It goes through a huge amount of philosphy and thought, and gradually
     arrives at a superb conclusion. You can read it in any number of ways,
     and any number of times - I'm currently on what must be my twentieth
     re-reading. - Gothwalker

Poe, Edgar Allan
Complete Works

Potter, Stephen
     This book, and the rest in the series, is about "how to win life's
     little games without appearing to try," as the subtitle claims. This
     book is a primer for social interaction in the way Machiavelli is a
     tutorial for public service. I was reading this while waiting for a
     philosophy club lecture on ethics and authenticity, when a professor
     (Dr Mehring) walked up and asked me what I was reading. After I told
     him, he commented that I was behind the times by some fifty years, to
     which I replied that I wasn't particularly born in 1950, so subtracting
     twice my age meant I was only two years behind. He told me that that
     was the most sophistic thing he'd heard all year. Were you up on your
     knowledgeship, you'd see how I'd trumped him, and how I've trumped you
     in Litmanship. - Jim Rantschler

Rand, Ayn
Atlas Shrugged
The Fountainhead
     These are incredible works of literature, and very descriptive of what America is
     really like, that the mediocre are for the most part embraced and admired the most,
     that real talent and drive are just not acceptable any longer. I don't know which one
     I like better. You basically have to read them both. - eloquence

Rhinehart, Luke
Adventures of Wim
     One of the most fun books I've ever read, Adventures of Wim is an
     account of the life and times of Wim, a member of an almost extinct
     Indian tribe whose motto is "Brave men run." Wim is given a mission by
     the gods, to seek enlightenment, and in the process manages to collapse
     any reader on the ground laughing. - Gothwalker

Rice, Anne
Cry to Heaven
     Never really cared for her vampire stuff, but this book, about castrati singers,
     had me mystified. I didn't even think I would like it. - Opium Poppy Fields

Robbins, Tom
Jitterbug Perfume

Stoker, Bram

Weiss, Peter

Wilde, Oscar
The Picture of Dorian Grey
The Complete Works
     [Note: Wilde is a popular figure with many goths, and is considered proto-goth
     himself by many people. So many people mention Wilde or read him on a
     regular basis that it would be unfair to attribute just one or two comments
     about him. While I'm sure there are also a few who will tell you not to bother
     with his work, the overwhelming majority of bookish goths love him.]

Winterson, Jeanette
Art & Lies
The Passion

Sexing the Cherry
Written on the Body

Wodehouse, P.G.
Cocktail Time
The Inimitable Jeeves
      This book isn't quite a novel, but a series of related short stories
     that is almost a novel. The Jeeves and Wooster novels are wonderful,
     but this is my favorite of the (quite large)series. The prose is wonderful,
     and the plots are unparalleled. High compliments come from a wide range
     of worthies, from Douglas Adams and George Orwell. Almost all of his
     books are worth your attention, but watch out, there's at least one book
     of golf stories lurking in wait for the unwary. - Jim Rantschler
The World of Jeeves
     [contains all of Wodehouse's Jeeves stories, including those from The
     Inimitable Jeeves
, but not the novels.]

Yoshimoto, Banana

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Last update 27 March 1998.

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