As a newbie blogger, I was a little taken-a-back by Red&Black Week. I've never happened on it before in my browsing, much to my shame, so I had no idea what was going on. After some scrolling back through the archives of some lovely older blogs, I finally got the hang of it. (It was after this that I discovered the Q&A page about it on Sophistique Noir's blog. Oops.) So, for my contribution, I offer you a list of some of my favorite Red&Black Vampire books!
The Deluxe Transitive Vampire by Karen Elizabeth Gordon- Yes, my first book on my vampire reading shelf isn't fiction! but it is no less a favorite of mine. If you do any amount of writing and sometimes struggle with grammar, I highly recommend this book to you. (My blog might be the exception to the rule I have for grammar checking all my writing.) The book teaches you the rules of grammar that you need to know by way of ghoulish monster-infested examples. My personal favorite is the example of a participial phrase: "Someone's been sleeping in my bed," cried the baby vampire, snuffling at his dank cradle of earth. It has a rather black sense of humor in it's lessons which, really, is the best way to teach me something ever. Very Goth appropriate! It stays on my desk because I reach for it quite often. If you'd like your own copy, you can buy it here.
Vampires by David J. Skal - This book is a series of short stories, excerpts and essays about the origins and characteristics of vampires, arranged in a rather casestudy-like form to teach the reader about our favorite bloodsucking cretins by way of side commentary with historical and cultural links. The book is thoughtfully divided into parts one (the Historical Evidence), two (Romantic & Victorian Vampires), three (Vampires in the Twentieth Century) and four (Postmodern Vampires.) In it's pages you will learn about Bela Lugosi's "real vampire romance", the various diseases that can be linked to vampirism, and a handy timeline of most of the influential vampire-related fiction from 1818 onto 1995. If you look hard enough, you might also see little nods to (or jabs at, I can never quite tell) our own little spooky subculture. You can buy it here on Amazon, if you're tempted.
100 Vicious Little Vampire Stories by Various edited by Robert Weinberh, Stfan Dziemianowicz and Martin H. Greenberg - What Goth's bookshelf is complete without a collection of short stories about vampires? Mine certainly isn't, and this collection is absolutely fabulous. The time periods of the stories range from the late Victorian to the current era, providing a fun little exercise as you try to imagine a dastardly vampire runing around in a fedora circa 1930 (or was that just me?) The thing about it, however, is that the various authors sometimes reimagine the very idea of vampires. However, luckily for us, the editors limited the book so that these reimaginings are less along the lines of brooding-disco-ball-re-imaginings and more along the lines of the vampire's primitive origins. And cannibalistic scarecrows. And possessed child spirits that like blood more than they probably should. Really, this book is awesome. If you'd like to purchase it, it's available here on Amazon.
Dracula's Brood: Neglected Vampire Classics selected and introduced by Richard Dalby - If you like vampire short stories but are less enthused by the modern writing of the above book, I strongly encourage you to have a look at Dracula's Brood. As the cover happily boasts, the author's in this short story collection range from the talents of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to M.R. James and more. The time period of the vampire stories range from the earliest in 1867 to the latest in 1940. As such, while the vampires are by no means all the same, they tend to be more in line with our traditional Romantic (with a capital R, not as in the latest Twilight-knock off romance novel) and Victorian vampires. They're nicely scenic stories, written in that evocative "paid by the word" style and the stories are not strictly terrifying, more along the lines of creepy and darkly beautiful. If you'd like a copy, you can buy it from Amazon here.
Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange - I make no secret of the fact that I am not a Jane Austen fan. I've read Pride and Prejudice and Emma for my English class and found myself not entirely enthused by either. However, peculiarly, the works of Miss. Austen seem to be vastly improved by terrifying creatures of the night. Yes, I unironically enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies because I hate the characters of Austen novels and enjoy seeing them get punished for their ridiculous behavior. Now, this book came along and tried to do something vaguely similar but with Mr. Darcy as a vampire. Sorry, VampYre. The difference here is that it takes place after the ending of Pride and Prejudice, after the wedding and Mr. Darcy finds himself craving blood. It's a fun popcorn read if you're tempted and stands out above the other Pride and Prejudice "Darcy is a Vampire" reboots (seriously, I have four in my house.) You can buy it here on Amazon if you like.
The New Annotated Dracula by Bram Stoker, Leslie S. Klinger, and Neil Gaiman. I contemplated putting straight Dracula on this list because it's one of my favorite books of all time until I remembered this little gem. While you get all the content of Dracula, you also get the benefit of analysis and new tidbits of information in the margins. It's a rare annotated book that teaches me things I don't know about my favorite subjects and this book is really, really informative and also well written and entertaining. I, like many fans of the book, find all the female characters insipid and annoying so it's nice to see some sort of justification for it. Maybe I'm the only one that likes this kind of thing (I had fun doing the mandatory annotations for all my school books, so there you go) but I really do like it because I'm going to look these things up anyway so having it in the book for me is really thoughtful of the game. If you're a fan of these annotated books, you can buy it here on Amazon.
My outfit for the occasion is actually full of things that won't be in my closet in about two hours. While I enjoy the red and black color scheme, I was really into it when I had a much different style. Now I have a lot of pieces that I am donating to Thrift Stores or throwing away (depending on how beat up they are.) The blouse in this outfit is one of them because A. the plastic boning inside it is mangled beyond repair and B. I just don't like the pseudo-medieval styling of it. It feels costumy to me, and not in my Victorian/Gothic Lolita preferred direction. So, in the bin it goes. The shoes are a size too small for me and I don't wear much red/black plaid anyway, and the purse is just...hehe. Um. I'll just say that I was a very interesting babybat to enjoy a backpack made of a red heart and bat wings. Anyway, these will be gone (along with a host of other clothes) and then my purging will be complete! Next up is the ever anticipated buying part of the wardrobe overhaul. Are you as excited as I am?
Skirt: Retroscope Fashions
Necklace: Alchemy Gothic
Disclaimer: All the editions of these books that I own have black and red covers. This may not be the case in later or earlier editions.