Book Reviews by Nancy Kilpatrick

Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been Goth?

Encyclopedia Gothica, from Toronto writer and alternative music expert Liisa Ladouceur, is, well, an encyclopaedia. It's a cute-looking hardcover--even if the cover should have been grey instead of beige! Still, there are smudge marks on that pale brown, a decorative curlicue surrounding the title--said illustration featuring a skull and a bat--and the paper is ragged-edged. What's not to love?

Ladouceur makes a good stab at defining the indefinable G word and gives readers a clue as to how to use this book, which is crammed with names and terms that generally define the interests of this special group of darklings. Some are familiar, others not so much. For instance, under G, there's writer Neil Gaiman, followed by singer Diamanda Galás. Under the letter N, you'll find Normal, The--a paragraph about Daniel Miller and his 1978 single 'Warm Leatherette'--followed by Nose Chain, a definition and history of jewellery connecting the nose to the ear. The alphabetically-organized book of short entries has some pretty clippy writing and quite a bit of humor. Ladouceur has a sharp eye and she hasn't missed much. She especially excels at references that are her specialty--music and musicians. This is a book that defines pretty much everything you've ever wanted to know about Goth but were too mesmerized by Edward Sissorhands (who is included) to ask. For instance, What is a Perky Goth? Look under P and Ladouceur tells us: "A Goth who smiles. No, seriously." Ending the paragraph with, "Prone to bouncing."

Encyclopedia Gothica would make an unusual and terrific holiday gift for the goth gurrl or boi skulking around in your life, the suburban wanna-be goth, those who are doomed to love a goth(s), and for the goth-curious, including misguided souls...