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Dark Academia - Livres du Mois

Dark Academia, which started as a type of vague book genre, has now become an aesthetic. Donna Tartt wrote The Secret History, a novel where a group of beautiful eccentric students study Greek, a dark story of friendship murder and betrayal, all in an academic setting. Even Harry Potter could be considered to fall into this category. From this starting point of beauty, academia and dark friendships has evolved an aesthetic which I personally take great delight in.

Mostly featuring on Tumblr and Instagram, people who fall in love with the aesthetic share their favourite books and museums. Clad in tweed, sepia toned jumpers and soft white shirts, these individuals share poetry written in the middle of night by candlelight, prefer to use fountain pens to writer letters and journals and spend their free time seeking out libraries, museums, bookshops and exquisite architecture from baroque to Edwardian, relishing quiet and intimate friendships. Minus the murder of the books they read of course (it's an absolute nightmare trying to get blood out of a white shirt.)

Dark Academia has become more than just an aesthetic, it has become a place where people share how much they love to learn. Through the quarantine they wrote more poetry than ever, learned new languages and instruments, swapping book recommendations and quotes, sharing inspiration and their passions for things. So in this Livres du Mois I will share books that fall in and around this category, from the greek myths that inspire to the binding of books themselves.


The Secret History


Donna Tartt

'What we did was terrible, but still I don't think any of us were bad, exactly; chalk it up to weakness on my part, hubris on Henry's, too much Greek prose composition - whatever you like.'

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of morality, their lives are changed profoundly and for ever.


The Goldfinch


Donna Tartt

Aged thirteen, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years clings to the thing that most reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld. As he grows up, Theo learns to glide between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love - and his talisman, the painting, places him at the centre of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling power. Combining unforgettably vivid characters and thrilling suspense, it is a beautiful, addictive triumph - a sweeping story of loss and obsession, of survival and self-invention, of the deepest mysteries of love, identity and fate.


If We Were Villains


M. L. Rio

As a young actor studying Shakespeare at an elite arts conservatory, Oliver noticed that his talented classmates seem to play the same roles onstage and off – villain, hero, tyrant, temptress – though Oliver felt doomed to always be a secondary character in someone else’s story. But when the teachers change up the casting, a good-natured rivalry turns ugly, and the plays spill dangerously over into life.

When tragedy strikes, one of the seven friends is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.


The Binding


Bridget Collins

Young Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a strange letter arrives. He is to begin an apprenticeship as a Bookbinder--a vocation that arouses fear, superstition, and prejudice amongst their small community, but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.

For as long as he can recall, Emmett has been drawn to books, even though they are strictly forbidden. Bookbinding is a sacred calling and he discovers that he is a binder born. Under his mentors watchful eye, Emmett learns to hand-craft the elegant leather-bound volumes. Within each one they will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there's something you want to forget, a binder can help. If there's something you need to erase, they can assist. Within the pages of the books they create, secrets are concealed and the past is locked away.

Just as Emmett begins to settle into his new circumstances, he makes an astonishing discovery: one of the books has his name on it. Soon, everything he thought he understood about his life will be dramatically rewritten. An unforgettable novel of enchantment, mystery, memory, and forbidden love, The Binding is a beautiful homage to the allure and life-changing power of books--and a reminder to us all that knowledge can be its own kind of magic.




Stephen Fry

In Stephen Fry's vivid retelling, we gaze in wonder as wise Athena is born from the cracking open of the great head of Zeus and follow doomed Persephone into the dark and lonely realm of the Underworld. We shiver in fear when Pandora opens her jar of evil torments and watch with joy as the legendary love affair between Eros and Psyche unfolds.

Mythos captures these extraordinary myths for our modern age - in all their dazzling and deeply human relevance.

While I usually prefer reading a book with my own inner monologue impersonations of characters, I highly recommend the audiobook read by Stephen Fry, his impersonations of the gods in conversations, arguments and flirtations are absolutely fantastic.


I hope you have discovered something new in these new editions to the Library. Feel free to sift through the others books in the Library and if you know of a book that I might like do not hesitate to write to me about it.


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