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March 2022: Emma

Emma is a North Carolina native who got her BFA in Creative Writing from UNCW and plans to get her master’s degree someday, hopefully before she dies. She is an avid reader and sometimes-writer and loves all things spooky and/or classic. Emma is best known for being the tallest QRB employee (with purple hair) and always talking about her fat cat. At any given time, she is reading four books at once and has at least seventeen books on standby. 

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth (William Morrow) was by far my favorite book of 2021. It's spooky and sapphic and gothic to the extreme. The story switches between a haunted early 1900s boarding school and modern Hollywood with a rotating (and entirely queer) cast of characters. Read it read it read it!!!

Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling (St. Martin’s) is equal parts a gothic love story, a how-to on ritual magic, and a haunting of the most confusing variety. I loved the remnants of old literature in the setting and the foreboding feeling that stuck with me even after I put the book down. If you're a fan of the macabre there isn't a better book to read.

Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado (Graywolf Press) is a blend of urban legends and horror stories all focusing on the roles women play in society. Machado writes in the most beautiful, haunting way, and each story is truly unique and almost always a little uncomfortable.

There's so much to say about Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (Penguin), most of which has already been said, but it really is the blueprint for gothic literature. It's a dark, layered romance, filled to the brim with unlikeable characters and gorgeous prose. You'll either love it or hate it, but either way, read it!

A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw (Atria) has one of the best beginnings I've ever read. I was so immediately pulled into the mystery, the atmosphere, the setting. It's entirely original and gave me weird dreams for weeks afterwards.

Donna Tartt could write a how-to manual on dishwashing, and I'd still read it. The Secret History (Vintage) is dark academia embodied, and so incredibly immersive that I lived on those pages long after I read the last. Tartt's writing is beautiful, her characters hedonistic at best, and her literary worlds are unforgettable.

An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed by Helene Tursten (Soho Crime) is simply the cutest book in the world with the most delightful protagonist by the name of Maud. Maud is an 89-year-old murderess with no remorse and an acerbic inner monologue that will have you anticipating and even endorsing her kills.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (Penguin) is THE book to read if you want to feel like you're losing it bit by bit with every page you turn. Eleanor is a fantastically unreliable narrator and I loved how Hill House served as both the villain and the love interest.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (William Morrow) is my go-to rainy day book. Despite the ambiguity gothic novels thrive on, the characters in Rebecca were fully fleshed out and the haunted manor is beautifully described. It's slow moving at first, but once the tension builds, you'll have a hard time putting it down.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Del Ray) is such a wonderful combination of traditional gothic themes and 1950s Mexican culture. It's scary and unpredictable and the last 50 or so pages left me scrambling for solid ground.

Staff Pick Badge
Plain Bad Heroines: A Novel By Emily M. Danforth, Sara Lautman (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Emily M. Danforth, Sara Lautman (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780062942869
Availability: On our shelves
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - October 5th, 2021


The award-winning author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post makes her adult debut with this highly imaginative and original horror-comedy centered around a cursed New England boarding school for girls—a wickedly whimsical celebration of the art of storytelling, sapphic love, and the rebellious female spirit.

Staff Pick Badge
The Death of Jane Lawrence: A Novel By Caitlin Starling Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250272584
Availability: Ships from warehouse to store in 3-6 business days
Published: St. Martin's Press - October 5th, 2021

Best Books of 2021 ·
ALA/The Reading List Best Horror 2021 Pick
Longlisted for the Bram Stoker Awards for Superior Achievement in a Novel, 2021

From the Bram Stoker-nominated author of The Luminous Dead comes a gothic fantasy horror
The Death of Jane Lawrence.

Her Body and Other Parties: Stories By Carmen Maria Machado Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555977887
Availability: On our shelves
Published: Graywolf Press - October 3rd, 2017

Finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction

“[These stories] vibrate with originality, queerness, sensuality and the strange.”—Roxane Gay

“In these formally brilliant and emotionally charged tales, Machado gives literal shape to women’s memories and hunger and desire. I couldn’t put it down.”—Karen Russell

Wuthering Heights: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) By Emily Bronte, Ruben Toledo (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Emily Bronte, Ruben Toledo (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780143105435
Availability: On our shelves
Published: Penguin Classics - August 25th, 2009

'May you not rest, as long as I am living. You said I killed you - haunt me, then' Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord.

A History of Wild Places: A Novel By Shea Ernshaw Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982164805
Availability: Ships from warehouse to store in 3-6 business days
Published: Atria Books - December 7th, 2021

In this “riveting, atmospheric thriller that messes with your mind in the best way” (Laini Taylor, New York Times bestselling author), three residents of a secluded, seemingly peaceful commune investigate the disappearances of two outsiders.

Travis Wren has an unusual talent for locating missing people.

The Secret History (Vintage Contemporaries) By Donna Tartt Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400031702
Availability: On our shelves
Published: Vintage - April 13th, 2004

A READ WITH JENNA BOOK CLUB PICK INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER • A contemporary literary classic and "an accomplished psychological thriller ... absolutely chilling" (Village Voice), from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Goldfinch.

An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed By Helene Tursten, Marlaine Delargy (Translated by) Cover Image
By Helene Tursten, Marlaine Delargy (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781641291675
Availability: On our shelves
Published: Soho Crime - October 5th, 2021

Don’t let her age fool you. Maud may be nearly ninety, but if you cross her, this elderly lady is more sinister than sweet. 

The Haunting of Hill House By Shirley Jackson, Laura Miller (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Shirley Jackson, Laura Miller (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780143039983
Availability: On our shelves
Published: Penguin Classics - November 28th, 2006

The greatest haunted house story ever written, the inspiration for a 10-part Netflix series directed by Mike Flanagan and starring Michiel Huisman, Carla Gugino, and Timothy Hutton

Rebecca By Daphne Du Maurier Cover Image
ISBN: 9780380730407
Availability: On our shelves
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - September 5th, 2006

Now a Netflix film starring Lily James, Armie Hammer, and Kristin Scott Thomas

"Last Night I Dreamt I went to Manderley Again..."

Staff Pick Badge
Mexican Gothic By Silvia Moreno-Garcia Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525620808
Availability: On our shelves
Published: Del Rey - June 15th, 2021

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “It’s Lovecraft meets the Brontës in Latin America, and after a slow-burn start Mexican Gothic gets seriously weird.”—The Guardian

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