10 Books Every Goth Needs on His or Her Shelf (But Doesn't Have to Actually Read)
Having wandered around the goth scene the better part of the last decade, sipping absinthe in the homes of hosts of spooky musicians, artist, and funeral home workers, I've come to the conclusion that not having a visible library is a major gothic faux pas. Every elegant sinister figure in pop culture reads, and you have to at least imply you do as well even if you don't. And let me tell you, a lot of them don't. They use books like lawyers do... as a backdrop.
Not to worry, my literarily challenged chums, I've got your back. If you're out setting up your first apartment, free to finally explode your bats and skulls all over every inch like a Michaels in October that was hit with a bomb, you can still fill up that smart-person shelf easily. Most people will be none the wiser. If someone who actually does read comes along and starts to talk about the books, just get them a drink and take off your clothes. That usually works.
Ed. Note: This isn't a plot to get dumb people naked is it? Author's Note: You ruin all my best plans.
10. Mein Kampf: Being goth involves a lot of being interested in things that make other people uncomfortable, and almost nothing makes people more uncomfortable than Nazis. You can't just pick up some World War II books at the discount shelf in Barnes & Noble, though. That's the sort of thing your dad has. No, it has to be the insane ramblings of Adolf Hitler himself. By the way, you are completely justified in not reading this book. Historically important? Yes. Well-written? I'm pretty sure that Twitter account run by actual wild birds has better sentence structure and less offensive politics.
9. A Thick H.P. Lovecraft Collection: If you actually want to read Lovecraft, Penguin puts out a great three-volume set edited by S.T. Joshi that is full of highly illuminating annotations. They also look very stylish, and you can borrow that previous sentence if you like. Barring that, there are plenty with bizarre covers and spines at slightly cheaper prices that serve just as well cosmetically.
8. Dante's Inferno: Luckily, Inferno gets assigned in school so you can usually pick it up for less than $5, even new. The John Ciardi translation is an easy read with a creepy cover to boot. For maximum impressiveness, though, you'll want to find one with the Gustave Dore illustrations. Speaking of Hell...
7. The Satanic Bible: Really, any pagan belief structure tome will do. You could just as easily swap in something like To Ride a Silver Broomstick by Silver Ravenwolf. Statistically you're better off going with Anton Lavey's Satanic work, as you're less likely to run into a true believer that will call you on it, plus it's cheaper. Do not under any circumstances put Aleister Crowley on your shelf without reading it. Anyone who will be excited you have a copy of The Book of the Law is intimately familiar with it.
6. Catcher in the Rye: Catcher in the Rye has been linked to so many famous murderers that there was a rumor for years that checking it out of the library put you on a government list. Salinger's novel is the kung fu grip of mentally disturbed and dangerous people. Make sure you buy it used so it looks like you obsessively go through it looking for meaning in your life. Underline a few sentences to be sure.