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Discover the Best Dark Academia Books: A Reading List


The ultimate Dark Academia reading list.
The ultimate Dark Academia reading list.

I have previously written about what is Dark Academia and explained its key characteristics. In that post you’ll find a detailed list of old and new Dark Academia novels—a great place to start your education (pun intended!). I love Dark Academia; there is something creepy and alluring about forbidden knowledge and protagonists you can’t quite trust.

 

If you’re like me, you keep wanting to add new Dark Academia books to your reading list—well, look no further! The increasing popularity of this genre, a subset of Gothic literature, means there are so many more Dark Academia novels I could recommend since I wrote my first blog. I've included some older Dark Academia novels you might have overlooked—some even with links to the OG Dark Academia novel, The Secret History by Donna Tartt—and ones being published this year.

 

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  • Frankenstein (1818) by Mary Shelley

  • Brideshead Revisited (1945) by Evelyn Waugh.

    • While not entirely set at college, Brideshead Revisited was turned into a film around the time Donna Tartt was at college and writing her debut novel The Secret History and may have influenced the Dark Academia fashion of tweeds, trousers, and ties (plus if you’re a fan of the film Saltburn, you’ll want to read this one!).

  • Sleepwalking (1982) by Meg Wolitzer

  • A Great and Terrible Beauty (2003) by Libba Bray.

  • The Lake of Dead Languages (2002) by Carol Goodman

  • The Historian (2005) by Elizabeth Kostova

  • Vita Nostra (2007) by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko

  • Confessions (2008) by Kanae Minato

  • The Magicians (2009) by Lev Grossman.

    • This one I read years ago and it sits this on my top 10 reads of all time. Having grown up on the Harry Potter series, this gritty take on magic blew my mind. It has since been adopted to the small screen!

  • The Secret Place (2014) by Tana French.

    • I love the entire Dublin Murder Squad series, but this penultimate one in the series was incredible (Book #2 in this series, The Likeness, can also be considered Dark Academia-adjacent).

 

Recent and new Dark Academia Books (published within the last 5 years)



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