Wednesday, November 4, 2020

A Long List of Gothic Novels


We're nearing the end of Witch Week and I wrote a post that went up today, Mexican Gothic and the Classic Gothic Novel. In it, I mentioned making a list of the more than 75 gothic novels and short stories I have read over the years. They may not all be pure gothic but at least contain significant gothic elements. Here, for your curiosity and edification, is that list.

Peter Ackroyd    The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein
Joan Aiken    The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
Jane Austen    Northanger Abbey
John Boyne    This House is Haunted
Octavia Butler    Fledgling
Mary Elizabeth Braddon    Lady Audley's Secret
Charlotte Brontë    Jane Eyre, Villette
Emily Brontë    Wuthering Heights
Edgar Cantero    The Supernatural Enhancements
Laura Carlin    The Wicked Cometh
Angela Carter    The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories
Agatha Christie    And Then There Were None
Wilkie Collins    Armadale, The Haunted Hotel, The Moonstone, The Woman in White
Michael Cox    The Meaning of Night, The Glass of Time
Charles Dickens    A Christmas Carol, Bleak House, Dickens' Ghost Stories, Great Expectations, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Oliver Twist
Arthur Conan Doyle    The Hound of the Baskervilles
Daphne du Maurier    Don't Look Now, Jamaica Inn, My Cousin Rachel, Rebecca
Umberto Eco    The Name of the Rose
Alan Finn    Things Half in Shadow
Neil Gaiman    The Graveyard Book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Charlotte Perkins Gilman    The Yellow Wall-Paper
Elizabeth Hand    Wylding Hall
John Harwood    The Asylum, The Ghost Writer, The Seance
Nathaniel Hawthorne    Rappaccini's Daughter
Jane Healey    The Animals at Lockwood Manor
Susan Hill    The Woman in Black
Shirley Jackson    The Haunting of Hill House, The Lottery, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Henry James    The Turn of the Screw
MR James    Short Stories
Franz Kafka    Metamorphosis
Elizabeth Kostova    The Historian
WW Jacobs    The Monkey's Paw
Sheridan Le Fanu    In A Glass Darkly, Carmilla
Harper Lee    To Kill a Mockingbird
Gaston Leroux    The Phantom of the Opera
Gregory Maguire    Lost
Erin Morgenstern    The Night Circus
Kate Morton    The Clockmaker's Daughter, The Distant Hours, The House at Riverton
Arturo Perez-Reverte    The Club Dumas
Edgar Allan Poe    The Fall of the House of Usher and more
Ann Radcliffe    The Mysteries of Udolpho
Diane Setterfield    The Thirteenth Tale
Mary Shelley    Frankenstein
Robert Louis Stephenson    The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Bram Stoker    Dracula
Horace Walpole    The Castle of Otranto
Sarah Waters    Affinity, Fingersmith, The Little Stranger
Oscar Wilde    The Picture of Dorian Gray
Cat Winters    The Uninvited
Carlos Ruiz Zafón    Labyrinth of the Spirits, Marina, The Angel's Game, The Midnight Palace, The Prince of Mist, The Prisoner of Heaven, The Shadow of the Wind, The Watcher in the Shadows

and now

Silvia Moreno-Garcia    Mexican Gothic

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

#RIPXV September Update

The RIP challenge has turned out to be a lifeline during this ridiculously stressful time. Escaping into old and new favorites in my favorite genre is the perfect antidote to the world right now. Here's how I did in September.


The books I finished:

Murder by an Aristocrat Mignon G. Eberhart
The Manual of Detection Jedediah Berry (reread)
Silver in the Wood Emily Tesh
The Haunting of Tram Car 015 P. Djèlí Clark


Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling Michael Boccacino (reread)
Mexican Gothic Silvia Moreno-Garcia
The Infinite Blacktop Sara Gran (audiobook)
The Seance John Harwood (reread)
Finna Nino Cipri
The Crooked Hinge John Dickson Carr

My favorites of this batch were Finna, The Haunting of Tram Car 015The Crooked Hinge, and The Seance. Although The Manual of Detection was really fun to revisit and Mexican Gothic was a great choice for my Witch Week post (which you will see in just over a month).

I've been extra stressed during the past week or so (PSATs and debates and such) so I have three books going at the moment: 
The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales, edited by Chris Baldick
Murder in the First-Class Carriage Kate Colquhoun (non-fiction)
Horrorstör Grady Hendrix (audiobook)

I listened to half of Horrorstör today because it is just that good! I tried to listen to Melmoth by Sarah Perry just before this but it was just too slow and after fifty pages I still didn't care about anyone in the story. I don't know if I'll put it aside for later or just be done with it.

Looking forward, I have a couple of books that I was saving specifically for October and a few audiobook holds that should come in this month. I don't know if I'll participate in Readathon just because I'm having a hard time with anything organized or social. We'll have to see!

Have you read anything for Readers Imbibing Peril yet? Anything you want to recommend?

Monday, August 31, 2020

#RIPXV Will Save the World

What is this beautiful book stack for? Readers Imbibing Peril, of course! It is the 15th year of this wonderful, seasonal reading challenge, started many full moons ago by Carl and continued by Andi and Heather for the past few years. It is my absolute favorite thing and, to be honest, a good portion of the books I read year-round could fit into this challenge. But, in September and October, I read exclusively Perilous books and I've never regretted it. There is so much variety in what you can count, from a classic ghost story to a tea-sipping matronly detective tale to some full-blown horror and mayhem.

As we all have for many things during the past six months, our friends have opted for a simplified version of the challenge this year. There are no sign-ups and no levels. Just read one or more books during these months and post on Instagram or Twitter (if you have them) or your blog, if that's still going. It's all questionable these days, right?

So, we'll start with my new books. I have a full shelf of about 25 books that I will consider picking up this fall but I decided, since I have some other stacks, to pick a smaller group that are my "top-shelf, must reads". I will be writing about Mexican Gothic as part of Witch Week (Oct/Nov). The gothic tales pair with that (and I read some gothic classics during the summer too). Plain Bad Heroines is a new release, coming out in October, that I'm looking forward to. And, as for the American Mystery Classics, I have fun with almost every one and, in fact, started Murder by an Aristocrat last night and it grabbed my attention immediately.

Then I have some library holds that will be (hopefully) coming in over the next two months. These two novellas, Silver in the Wood and The Haunting of Tram Car 015, came in first and I think Finna is in transit. I'm also hoping for The Eighth Detective, A Declaration on the Rights of Magicians, Flyaway, The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne, and The Relentless Moon. These are all new releases so we'll see if the library manages to receive their ordered copies in a timely manner! If not, I'm sure I can handle reading them in the winter.

And then, this year, I really wanted to pull some old RIP favorites off of my shelves to enjoy their familiarity and the guaranteed quality. Picking a Carlos Ruiz Zafón almost broke my heart but his YA horror novels are so fantastic and he and I discussed once that I always turn to at least one of his books in the fall for their atmosphere. The others are all going to be fantastic as well! I don't think I could even pick one that I'm looking forward to the most.

Finally, with last Saturday being Independent Bookstore Day, I couldn't resist a few purchases to support my indie favorites. And yes, the books I chose all happen to be possible RIP reads. I grabbed two more American Mystery Classics (The Red Right Hand and Rocket to the Morgue), the latest Charles Lenox mystery, Titus Groan, and a British Library Crime Classic, Castle Skull.

So, 26 books, plus 19+ on my TBR and many others that I could choose to reread. I think I'm set!

What will you be reading perilously this autumn?

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Blogiversary and Random Bits


I started this blog twelve years ago in July 2008. The world was different, the community was different, the books I was reading at the time were different. These days I read far fewer picture books, far more genre books. I allowed diversity to seep into my reading organically by following from one book/author I enjoyed to another similar/tangential one. I read more memoirs, mainly by funny people. I don't make enough time for reading other blogs, mostly because I am barreling through my owned books and the library's audiobooks in an attempt to escape to anywhere else. (I know some people are having trouble reading right now but I just finished my 72nd book of the year yesterday. That's ridiculous.) And, just writing this post, I can tell that I'm missing blogging. I no longer worry about visitor counts or giveaways or review copies but I do worry that some of you might miss out on a fabulous book because I didn't share it.

Anyway, here are a few random bookish things of recent note:

My heart broke last month with the news of Carlos Ruiz Zafón's passing. I went back through this blog and counted 45(!) posts that were reviews, giveaways, or mentions of his books. I have all of his books that were translated into English in hardcover and I revisit them regularly. I'm starting to feel the need to renew and improve my Spanish reading skills so as to eventually read his books in their original form.

There is a Fire and Hemlock discussion at the end of this month (27 July, 8pm EDT), hosted online by the Brooklyn Public Library. Follow the link to register. I think it will be a fun little Zoom gathering, especially if a couple of us DWJ fans from around the world join in!

Monika has compiled a Goodreads list of "not-cis authors". They have 206 books on this list so far!

And here's a free short story from Sarah Pinsker, one of my favorite current authors. She actually wrote a post-pandemic tale, A Song for a New Day, that came out last year and recently won the Nebula Award for Best New Novel. I told her that she might be a witch and she didn't disagree.
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So, I do feel kind of happy writing right now and I am certainly reading enough to give me content so maybe I'll be back soon? I was going to wait until after the November election to decide whether to come back or not but I feel like this might be the moment when I need to reach out, to start rebuilding what I once loved. If you are still around and reading this, please leave a comment below!

Friday, February 28, 2020

#MarchMagics 2020 Has Begun! #DWJMarch


I know that it is only February 29 but I figure that we can add this day on to March Magics if we want to since it's a random, magical day. I, for one, am ready to start reading the wonderful stories of Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett.


I have two new-to-me books that I'm planning on reading--Small Gods and Hexwood--and then the rest will be based on mood. I'm pretty sure I will reread Dodger and Eight Days of Luke because I've been thinking about them lately. I'm not sure if I will write any additional blog posts but will definitely be sharing on Twitter, Instagram, and Litsy.

Which DWJ and Pratchett books are on your stack this month?

Please post any links you have during the month on this post so that others can come and find them. And remember to use the #MarchMagics hashtag on social media.

Enjoy your month with our dearly departed but never forgotten!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Announcing #MarchMagics / #DWJMarch 2020

As we quickly approach the middle of February, I remembered that I need to actually launch our favorite event of the year, that it doesn't just magically begin in March. So, without further ado, this year's March Magics (formerly DWJ March), celebrating the books and lives of Terry Pratchett and Diana Wynne Jones--two of the *best* all-ages fantasy authors EVER--will be a DIY event!


As I am a bit scattered, stressed, demoralized, and a host of other not-fun emotions at the moment, and since I know some of you are feeling the same, I wanted to continue with last year's theme and have this event really be about the joy you find while you spend time with these two authors. Simply pick up your absolute favorites, dive into them, and lose yourself for a few hours. Afterwards, share that love with others. If you want to host a readalong or a giveaway, DO IT! If you want to write a blog post, share on social media, or even read with your kids--PERFECT! If you want to pick up that last book you have been saving with a heavy heart, this is the time.

Have you already been thinking about March Magics? Share your plans below!

Please link any posts, events, etc. below that you create/organize before March 1 and then I'll have another post for sharing during the month. (And remember to use the hashtags!)

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Closing out 2019


Well, hello there! I don't know if I'm coming back or not yet but I feel really antsy about not having a wrap-up post for 2019 because, even if I'm not blogging, I'm definitely reading. Here are some of the stats:
Books read: 139 
This was helped by audiobooks and novellas and the fact that I needed A LOT of escapist time due to things both personal and worldwide. Many of my books were genre -- mystery, fantasy, and, this year, a lot more science fiction. I've gone to space more times than I ever expected to!

Rereads: 21
This was mostly due to MarchMagics/DWJ March but I also had a couple of Jasper Fforde, William Ritter, Erin Morgenstern, Philip Pullman, Mary Shelley, and Neil Gaiman rereads throughout the year.

Library books: 60
I made really good use of my library this year. I do wish they had a few more audiobook choices but they are a great way to try books I'm not sure I want to buy. I even gave a couple of romances a whirl this year! I didn't really like any of them though. Hmm.

Books in translation: 3
This is the stat that I'm most disappointed with. I usually do much better but I only managed one German, one French, and one Japanese story this year.

Non-fiction: 19
I made up for that bad translation number though with an amazing non-fiction year! I even have two more in progress on my nightstand. The best ones of the year were Becoming by Michelle Obama, Sea People by Christina Thompson, Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, Coal Black Mornings by Brett Anderson, So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo, and The Lady from the Black Lagoon by Mallory O'Meara. I think the key for me is definitely variety!

New-to-me authors: 59 (+ some in collections)
My favorite new-to-me authors this year? Seanan McGuire, Sarah Pinsker, and Becky Chambers. I ended up reading five books by McGuire!

I even made a Top 10 of the year list:
Bluecrowne by Kate Milford
Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal (novella)
Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea by Sarah Pinsker (short stories)
Six Months, Three Days, Five Others by Charlie Jane Anders (short stories)
Crosstalk by Connie Willis
Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers (novella)
How Long 'Til Black Future Month by N.K. Jemisin (short stories)
Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott

And a runners-up list:
Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders
The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
The True Queen by Zen Cho
Witchmark by C.L. Polk
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Recursion by Blake Crouch
The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal
Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw
Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia

And an honorable mention:
Wanderers by Chuck Wendig ... for being the book to traumatize me the the most! I am terrified that any single thing that happened in that book could really be in America's future.


My goal for the first couple of months of this year is to read almost exclusively from my shelves (after two audiobooks that I have checked out -- The Starless Sea and Bring Down the Hawk). These beauties I got for Christmas will help keep me busy!


And finally, I have to decide what to do with the blog. At the least, I think it is time to rebrand it. When I started writing here, I was reading with my little guy, featuring picture books and chapter books along with my own reads. But Z and I haven't read together in years and so the "we" is now just "me". I also have a goal of less screen time this year so I'm not sure how blogging would fit in with that. I have started using Litsy again (kristenm) but I'm not sure if that will stick. I tend to forget it after a couple of posts and I just don't feel like it's a replacement for blogging. And finally, there's MarchMagics/DWJMarch, which I don't want to let go but also am not sure I have the time/energy to run.

So there it is -- where 2019 went and where 2020 is headed. Happy New Year, friends! I wish you each happiness and many unexpectedly good story adventures.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Reappearing for #RIPXIV

I was about to say "I can't believe it has been five months since I last posted" but I can totally believe it. I'm starting to feel like this particular blog has run its course after 11 years, that it needs to either change format into something more fun for me or close for good. I spent the summer posting all of my summer reads on Instagram and that was okay for a while but I even got bored there and let the final couple of weeks drop. The state of the world, extended family issues, mid-life crisis ... it has all come together to form the perfect storm of me not knowing what I want, feeling paralyzed by uncertainty, and choosing to do nothing for a bit and waiting to see what is ahead.

BUT! It is almost September and that's R(eaders) I(mbibing) P(eril) time and I have to at least share my bookshelf here, right?! If anything is going to bring me back to blogging, it's the RIP challenge, now in its 14th year.


This challenge is, of course, a simple one where you can read anywhere from 1-100 books or short stories (or watch movies) that fall into the "perilous" category, be they mysteries, horrors, creepies, or atmospherics.


This is what my shelf looks like at the moment, packed solid and full of what I think I will be in the mood to read. I, naturally, have other books below that can move up if the mood strikes. Here are a couple of close-ups.


I'm really looking forward to The Inheritor's Powder (non-fic about arsenic!), the final Jackaby novel (after a reread of book three), Jo Walton's Small Change trilogy (I need to hate on some Nazis right about now), and Hollow Kingdom (crows and Seattle).


These are mostly mysteries and I have plenty more where they came from (the stack on the floor next to the bookshelf). I'm really looking forward to Stiletto, the second book in The Rook series. I tried about ten minutes of the tv show but it pissed me off so badly with the changes in character and tone and even purpose that I swore it off forever. The Daphne du Maurier shorts are going to be fun too!

I have audiobooks on hold at the library that are unexpectedly spread perfectly over the next two or so months -- The Ocean at the End of the Lane (~3 weeks), The Graveyard Book (~4 weeks), The Sentence is Death (~5 weeks), Coraline (~7 weeks), The Night Circus (~8 weeks), and Wanderers (~9 weeks). Obviously the Gaimans and the Circus are rereads, there for comfort and sheer happiness. And my library hold list has some peril on it too ... like The Darwin Affair, Sword and Pen (the new Great Library book!), and maybe Recursion (I'm #117 on the hold list).

I'll definitely be posting on Instagram/Twitter and we'll see if the season and books I love inspires me to resurrect the blog as well.

What will you be reading this season?