I know I’m a little bit late to the game, but I just found out about the Gothtober Readathon and couldn’t resist trying to participate! It sounds so fun, and I have been really into the spooky books I’ve picked up so far, so I figured I’d give it a shot. Which means I will be attempting to read thirteen scary books this month. I might absolutely fail, because that’s a lot (and one of them is fourteen-hundred pages), but it’s fine. I can do this. Basically, I’m forcing myself to read a ton of books because I am finally out of my reading slump and I want to read all the books.
I put my TBR together with the thought that a lot of the books I plan on reading can count for multiple challenges, so I think I can still complete them all if I fall a bit behind. I am also attempting to stick with a spooky theme, so all of these books fit into darker genres.
Here are the prompts and all the books I’m planning on reading for them:
Disability Rep – a book with disability representation
I thought this was the perfect opportunity to fit in some nonfiction, so I’ll be reading My Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan. It’s about her experience waking up one day in a mental institution having been labeled as violent and psychotic. Since psychosis is classified as a mental disability, I am counting it towards this prompt.
For me, not being fully in control of my own mind is absolutely terrifying (I can’t begin to explain the massive anxiety I had after reading Still Alice), so I honestly think this might be the scariest book on this entire list.
Bones – a book with bones either on the front cover or in the title
For this one, I decided to go with a book I wasn’t really planning on reading, which is The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones. This is something about gravediggers and reanimated corpses, and I think it’s an absolutely perfect pick for Halloween. I’ve also heard it’s a quick read, which I really need this month.
Oldest Purchased – a book that has been in your Own TBR for the longest
I have never really kept track of my physical TBR (I should, I know). But I looked on my Goodreads to-read shelf, and picked a horror novel that has been there pretty much since I started using Goodreads. Luckily, it was one already on my TBR: The Stand by Stephen King.
I am planning on listening to the audiobook of this one as my annual Stephen King Halloween read. It’s a solid two days worth of audio, so I really need to start it. But I have heard great things, and I am very excited.
Red – a book with the color red on the cover, or in the title
Not sure why, but I couldn’t find a scary book or thriller with a red cover that was really catching my attention this month. Which is why I was super relived when I picked up my copy of Bird Box by Josh Malerman and saw that the title is red. So I’ll be reading Bird Box. And I’m super excited, because I have been putting off watching the adaptation until after I read the book, so definitely doing that this month.
BIPOC Author – a book written by a black, indigenous, or author of color
This one was easy, because I am already in the middle of a horror novel written by a black author (I might even be finished by the time you read this). I’m reading The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle. So far, I’m really liking it! It’s historical fiction with something creepy going on that may or may not involve black magic. I’m excited to see where it goes.
Female Protagonist – a narrative led by a herione
I started this month by reading a book not on my October Reading List, but it’s okay, because it fit this prompt. I finally read the fifth book in the Wayward Children series: Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire. It was the perfect start to Halloween month, because it was definitely creepy. There are vampires and bones and reanimated corpses and sea monsters and I loved it!
Foreign Country – a book that takes place in a country foreign to the once you currently reside in
Yet another prompt I have the perfect book for! Earlier this year, I was in Prague (which feels super weird to say in 2020) and picked up a single book on my trip: The Golem by Gustav Meyrink. Which is a pretty well-known horror novel (it inspired Kafka). I started it and then got sick and didn’t feel like reading, but now I do. So I’m going to restart and then finish this book. Because it’s super creepy, and perfect for October!
Grey Morality – a book with characters or themes that are morally grey
When I did a search for books with morally grey characters, one book immediately came up that I’ve been curious to read. So I’m going to read The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. I know I threw all my reading goals and lists out the window this year, but I still want to read more classics. And this one is relatively short, and I am trying to read as many short books as I can for this readathon, because we’re probably already clocking in at like three-thousand pages. (Why am I doing this again?)
Undead Character – a book which includes an undead character
I actually had a few books that fit this category, but I’m going with The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix. I just need a fun, campy read this month, and this sounds perfect. I’ve also heard really great things, so I’m looking forward to seeing what this is all about.
LGBTQ+ – a book with LGBTQ+ representation
I am very excited to report that V.E. Schwab already confirmed that the main characters of The Immortal Life of Addie LaRue are, indeed, LGBTQ+ (I think they’re both bi or maybe nonbinary, but don’t quote me on that). This comes out tomorrow, and I cannot wait until my copy gets delivered so I can dive right in!
Modern Retelling – a modern retelling of a Gothic classic, or a newer release which is described as “Gothic”
The book I chose for this is a newer release that very much has Gothic tropes. I am planning on reading Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler. It’s about a young girl who wakes up with amnesia and some weird abilities, only to discover that she is actually a genetically modified 53-year-old vampire. Which just sounds fantastic.
I loved Kindred when I read it earlier this year, and I’m very excited to read more Octavia Butler. Especially because I am really in the mood for some dark, Gothic literature.
Lies – a book where the title has Liar, Lies, or Lying in it, OR the MC is a liar
Honestly, I might try to double-dip for this one, but I have no idea which of the other books on my list has a main character who is a liar. So we’ll see. But the book that is tentatively on my TBR right now is The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager. I have yet to read a Riley Sager book, despite hearing great things about them for years, so maybe this is just the universe telling me it’s time.
Dark Academia – a book set at university/college with dark themes or a vintage aesthetic
I love dark academia books, and have the perfect book to read this year (I’m going to start it as soon as I finish The Ballad of Black Tom. I’ll be reading A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik. Which I have heard amazing things about. I’m super excited, because I loved Uprooted and Spinning Silver, and I’m fully expecting to love this one.
Vampire Film/TV – watch your favorite vampire TV series or film
I think this is a bonus challenge, but I already completed it by continuing my rewatch of Buffy this weekend.
That’s it for my readathon TBR! I already know I am definitely biting off more than I can chew, but it’s fine. I’m still going to have a fun month full of spooky reads.
Are you participating in Gothtober? If not, are you planning to read any spooky books this month?