It is SO CLOSE to being October, which is one of my favourite reading months of the year as I love focusing on spooky books. This year, I’m going to be participating in the fantastic Gothtober readathon, which is hosted by LadetteM, Olivia’s Catastrophe and Little Wolf. It’s a readathon to celebrate gothic fiction, although you don’t need to read just gothic books to participate (and I won’t be!) But all the themes and prompts are designed to work well with gothic fiction. So without further ado, here’s my TBR for this readathon!
Disability rep: a book with disability representation
I have been wanting to read Christina Henry’s books for so long, she writes horror retellings of fairytales which sounds very up my street. The Girl in Red is a horror retelling of Red Riding Hood, and it features a main character with a prosthetic leg!
BIPOC author: A book written by a Black, Indigenous, or Author of Colour
In news that made me happy this week, my library reopened its doors for collection orders which meant I could go collect a bunch of reservations I’ve been waiting on, all of which are perfect for Gothtober! White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi is one of these, it’s a modern, queer, gothic horror about a spooky, mysterious house where generations of women inhabit the walls.
LGBTQ+: A book with LGBTQ+ representation
Sarah Waters is the author of one of the biggest lesbian novels of all time, Tipping the Velvet. I haven’t actually read any of her novels, but she writes a lot of gothic, historical, mystery novels which seems perfect for spooky season! Fingersmith is the one I’ll be reading, it’s about a girl from a family of thieves who falls in love with the rich mark she’s trying to steal from.
Bones: A book with Bones either on the front cover or in the title
Okay I really struggled with this prompt, none of my books have bones in the title or on the cover so this connection is tenuous to say the least. My thinking was: bones are dead things; and also the flamingo’s legs are so thin they totally look like bones. Thus, Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett will be my read for this prompt.
Female protagonist: A narrative led by a heroine
The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo is a spooky (because of the ghosts) historical romance based on Chinese/ Malaysian customs and is about a girl offered to be a ghost bride for a recently decesaed young man (as ghost brides are used to placate angry spirits). She is then drawn into the parallel world of the Chinese afterlife every night.
Oldest purchased: A book that has been on your owned TBR the longest
I have been meaning to read The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux for years, it’s one of those classics which has just sat on my shelf and I’ve never gotten time to read. But that changes now! It’s the gothic horror/romance novel which the musical is based on!
Foreign Country: A book that takes place in a country foreign to the one you currently reside in
Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi is a retelling of one of the most well known gothic novels of all time! It’s, obviously, set in Baghdad, and follows a scavenger in US occupied Baghdad who collects human body parts to sew together a corpse, to get the government to recognise the parts as people and give them a proper burial. But as we all know, the corpse, Frankenstein, wakes up…
Modern retelling: A modern retelling of a Gothic Classic, or a newer release which is described as ‘gothic’
I am considering rereading Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia for this prompt because it’s my favourite book of the year and I really want to reread it, but I have so many other books I need to read as well…. My other option for this prompt is The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. It’s a sapphic retelling about the brides of Dracula.
Red: A book with the colour red on the cover, or in the title
Award for most fucked up book on my TBR goes to this baby! Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica is a fucked up story about a virus that makes animal meat poisonous to humans, so eating human meat is legalised (yeah, I told you it was fucked up). We follow one of the “farmers” of human meat who is given a “special gift” (a woman) that he starts to get to know, even though he isn’t supposed to talk with the specimens. As I’ve said like three times already, this is some fucked up shit.
Grey Morality: A book with character or themes that are morally grey
Back to another classic gothic novel here, with The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I read this years and years ago as a teen and I am very much due a reread as an adult! Dorian Gray is of course the morally grey character, who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty!
Lies: A book where the title has liar, lies or lying it it, or the MC is a liar
Rebecca by Daphne du Marurier is another classic, like The Phantom of the Opera, which has been on my TBR for years and I’ve just never got around to it. But, I’m very excited for the Netflix film adaptation which is releasing near the end of October so I need to read this before then! The husband spends the whole book lying about his first wife, which is why I’m reading it for this prompt!
Undead character: A book which includes an undead character (this can be ghost, zombie, Frankenstein, vampire, wraith, banshee, mummy, skeleton etc)
Another classic gothic novel, Dracula by Bram Stoker is one of my favourite classics and I’m very excited to reread it this month! I first read this when I was in high school, I studied this book and Carmilla for my English dissertation which pretty much talked about queer vampire sex and it was great.
Dark academia: a book set at university/college with dark themes or vintage aesthetic
I have like four different dark academia books sitting on my shelf right now so who knows which one I’ll actually end up reading for this prompt. At the moment, I’m thinking it’ll be The Secret History by Donna Tartt since that’s been on my shelf the longest, and I keep hearing people talk about it. One of my most anticipated books of 2021 (A Lesson in Vengeance) is also described as a sapphic The Secret History meets The Craft so I want to know what I’m in for!
Vampire film/TV: watch your favourite vampire TV show or film
For my film, I’ll be watching my favourite adaptation of Dracula, the 1992 edition with Keanu Reees, Anthony Hopkins and Gary Oldman! I might also try out the recent BBC Dracula TV show, which was created by the same team behind Dr Who. I’ve heard some mixed feelings so I haven’t yet got around to it, but maybe October is the month!
Finally, because I am EXCEEDINGLY indecisive, I also have some extras here which all fit some of these prompts so I can mix and match depending on my mood.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor
Vita Nostra by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko
The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling
I’m so excited for this TBR! All of these books looks so amazing, so spooky, there’s so many gothic novels in there, classics and modern, and I can’t wait to celebrate this genre all month long! I suspect there’s going to be a lot of new favourites in my reads this month. Are you participating in this readathon? Let me know in the comments!