Censored by Confucius – Yuan Mei

A wonderful anthology of ghost stories and folklore collected by Chinese poet Yuan Mei during the Manchu dynasty. Beyond being unique and in many cases genuinely unnerving, there is a progressive thread, particularly in regards to gender, sensuality and homoeroticism, that is present in much of the work. It has long been a fantasy of mine to illustrate a selection of the lovely fables.

Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy

I relate more to Jude than any other character in fiction. Hardy’s merciless tale of the futility of happiness is one of the few Victorian realist novels I can stomach. It also details a scene so tragic and severe that I remember audibly yelping when I first read it.

In Watermelon Sugar – Richard Brautigan

This book is a dream. A vision of an understated and disorienting utopia. I have more feelings than memories of this book.

The Encantadas – Herman Melville

A collection of vignettes about the Galápagos Islands. There are equal parts mythology and naturalism in these small, precise stories. Accounts of wayward eccentrics, mysterious hermits and the strangest wilderness Melville ever detailed.

The King in Yellow – Robert Chambers

A play that either kills or drives the reader insane, mechanical suicide boxes on street corners, decadent artists, mysterious symbols, weird science. What’s not to like?

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Jeremy Gaulke is a writer, illustrator, and Editor in Chief of APEP Publications

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