Monday, February 2, 2015

February: *American gothic; January wrap up

I recently finished Wieland and Memoirs of Carwin the Biloquist, by Charles Brockden Brown, which is billed as America's first gothic novel. I'll be making a post about this strange book shortly, but in the meantime, I decided that I'll be sticking with  American gothic  for a while before heading into more familiar territory like James Fenimore Cooper and other well-known American writers. How's this for a title:  Julia and the Illuminated Baron, published in 1800.  Just finding these books has been a fun project in itself.

 So far the "great american novel" project has proven to be quite interesting -- two seduction novels (The Coquette, The Power of Sympathy), a book about the education of women (The Boarding School) and then there's Wieland, which, like all of the others mentioned here, works on two different levels.  On the other hand, I also have to keep a foot in the modern world or I think my brain would explode.  I had a particularly nasty case of the flu that kept me down for two weeks, giving me nothing but  pure reading time, so January was a great month for books:

Island Fog, by John Vanderslice
*The Coquette and The Boarding School, by Hannah Webster Foster
*The Power of Sympathy, by William Hill Brown
Blood-Drenched Beard, by Daniel Galera
*Wieland and Memoirs of Carwin the Biloquist (to be discussed soon)
The Green Man, by Kingsley Amis (coming soon)

The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith
Windy City Blues, by Marc Krulewitch
Nightfall, by David Goodis
Death and the Pleasant Voices, by Mary Fitt (from the obscure women writers project)
Sound Alibi, by Maribel Edwin (from the obscure women writers project)

He Wanted the Moon: The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter's Quest to Know Him, by Mimi Baird
Severed: A History of Heads Lost and Heads Found, by Frances Larson

strange fiction:
Songs for the Lost, by Alexander Zelenyj
The St. Perpetuus Club of Buenos Aires, by Eric Stener Carlson
An English Ghost Story, by Kim Newman (discussed soon; in the meantime, it turns out to be much more YA-ish than I expected)

Currently reading:
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, by Erik Larson
Hauntings and Other Fantastic Tales, by Vernon Lee
Dark Passage, by David Goodis


  • the book group read The Lobster Kings, by Alexi Zentner, and like me, they all thought it had some great potential that sadly devolved into a beach read. Someone even called it a soap opera. 
  • the small book group was supposed to have discussed The Testament of Mary, by Colm Toibin, but we cancelled because I didn't want to infect anyone. Picking it up again this month.

that's it - off to stick my nose in a book. 


  1. What an impressive reading list! The flu does have its upside, giving one so much reading time.

    I only read four books in January: J.K. Rowling's The Silkworm, a gruesome mystery with some sexism in the denouement; Tana French's The Secret Place, a good read with character development and great police dialogue (if one can stand privileged teenage girls at a boarding school, which I learned to do); Ian Rankin's Saints of the Shadow Bible, my first Rebus book and I enjoyed it and laughed a lot; and
    Sarah Waters' The Paying Guests.

    My favorite was the Waters' book. Thanks again.

    1. You're so welcome. I should have a few more to give away very shortly. Actually I was three weeks down -- two actively with the flu, and one more when I told myself I was well, tried to be superwoman and realized I wasn't!

  2. When in doubt about health, rest, read, drink tea and eat whatever you want. Always a good excuse to crack open those books and none the wiser.


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