Saturday, December 29, 2018

2018 Reading Challenge Wrap Up

Hi Readers, Writers, and Caffeine Junkies:

Every year, I hold myself to a pretty strict reading challenge where I usually aim to read 100 books a year. This time around the sun, I didn't meet that goal, but I'm very impressed with my bookish intake, nevertheless. To some degree, this year was a little different because I read way more novels than I usually do, and I also read more short stories and critical work because I started teaching literature this year (yay!).

Below is my reading list, in case you're interested in seeing my reading history. When it comes to poetry, I absolutely fell in love with Nothing is Okay by Rachel Wiley, and I will from here on out read everything she writes. She has such a beautiful authentic and real voice, and I really resonated with her poetry.

When it comes to fiction/nonfiction, it's really quite hard for me to pick a favorite. I thought Final Girls by Riley Sager was fun, and I just picked up his other book The Last Time I Lied the other day at the library, so I'm very much looking forward to that. I also started getting into Ruth Ware more. Her first two books left me wanting, but I adored The Lying Game and loved The Death of Mrs. Westaway. It's been fun watching her grow as an author, and I'll certainly be picking up her next when it drops.

For horror....let's just saw we had a totally kick-ass year and I loved every minute of it. I got to get my copy of My Best Friend's Exorcism signed by Grady Hendrix, and I'll be teaching it next semester alongside Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage (which I absolutely loved!). Other big players for me were Providence by Caroline Kepnes (if you haven't watched the adaption of her novel YOU on Netflix, you'll want to remedy that fast. Trust me!), Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman, and The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay.

For nonfiction, I absolutely loved From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death and Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty, and I'm pretty sure I've made Witches, Slut, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive by Kristen J. Sollee my new mantra in life. Highly, highly recommend all three of these books.

I'm also happy to report that I finally managed to get on the Saga train, and holy hell...why did it take me so long to read this series? I have the ninth volume on request at the library now, but I'm so impressed with it. My husband devoured it, too, so it was fun to experience that read together.  Oh, and that reminds me: if you have any graphic novel series that you're a fan of (mostly looking for horror recommendations), please let me know! I'm thinking of revisiting Lucifer again, and I've read the first volume of Clean Room and liked what it was doing, so I'll probably continue with that, but I'm always looking for new stuff as the comic/graphic novel world is still relatively new to me.

As for next year on the fiction front, I'm very much looking forward to Inspection by Josh Malerman (seriously, I'll read anything he writes!), In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire (I'm obsessed with her Wayward Children in I screamed when I saw this has a January 8th release date), The Migration by Helen Marshall (I'm a big fan of her short story collection Hair Side, Flesh Side and her poetry collection The Sex Lives o Monsters), and Will Haunt You by Brian Kirk (and because he's one of my best buds, I got to read an early version of this book, and I'm still having nightmares about it so I CAN'T WAIT).

What are you folks looking forward to? Tell me in the comments below!

Happy bleeding, 
Stephanie M. Wytovich


  • Our Numbered Days by Neil Hilborn
  • The Future by Neil Hiborn
  • Ordinary Sun by Matthew Henriksen
  • A Guide to Undressing Your Monsters by Sam Sax
  • I Am Not Your Final Girl by Claire Holland
  • Horror Film Poems by Christoph Paul
  • To Bedlam and Park Way Back by Anne Sexton
  • Sadness Workshop by Stevie Edwards
  • Nothing is Okay by Rachel Wiley
  • Love for Slaughter by Sara Tantliner
  • Popular Music by Kelly Schirmann
Books/Collections: Fiction/Nonfiction
  • The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
  • Final Girls: A Novel by Riley Sager
  • He Digs a Hole by Danger Slater
  • Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes
  • Providence by Caroline Kepnes
  • A Father’s Story by Lionel Dahmer
  • My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Gary Hendrix
  • The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler
  • Witch: Unleashed, Untamed, Unapologetic by Lisa Lister
  • Literary Witches: A Celebration of Magical Women Writers by Taisia Kitaiskaia
  • Witches, Slut, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive by Kristen J. Sollee
  • Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
  • The Poetry Lesson by Andrei Codrescu
  • You’ll Never Know Dear by Hallie Ephron
  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark #1 by Alvin Schwartz
  • More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark #2 by Alvin Schwartz
  • Just Kids by Patti Smith
  • Shock Value: How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Invented Modern Horror by Jason Zinoman
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty
  • Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty
  • Widow’s Point by Richard Chizmar
  • And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe by Gwendolyn Kiste
  • Pretty Marys All in a Row by Gwendolyn Kiste
  • The Program by Suzanne Young
  • The Treatment by Suzanne Young
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Flowers for Algernon
  • The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington by Leonora Carrington
  • Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked by Christa Carmen
  • Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
  • Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  • How to Write and Sell True Crime: How to Spot Local Stories and Turn Them into Gripping National Bestsellers by Gary Provost
  • From Cradle to Grave: The Short Lives and Strange Deaths of Marybeth Tinning’s Nine Children by Joyce Egginton
  • The Hunger by Alma Katsu
  • The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
  • Baby Teeth by Zoe Stage
  • Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman
  • Girl Like a Bomb by Autumn Christian
  • The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
  • The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
  • Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu
  • The Death of Mrs. Westaway by RuthWare
  • Elevation by Stephen King
  • How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

Graphic Novels/Comics
  • Blue Is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh
  • Body Music by Julie Maroh
  • Skandalon by Julie Maroh
  • My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness by Nagata Kabi
  • Shiver: Selected Stories by Junji Ito
  • Frankenstein by Junji Ito
  • Monstress, Vol. 1 Awakening by Marjorie M. Liu
  • Winnebago Graveyward by Steve Niles
  • Krampus! by Brian Jones
  • Clean Room, Vol 1 by Gail Simone
  • Saga, Vol 1 by Brian K. Vaughan
  • Saga, Vol 2 by Brian K. Vaughn
  • Saga, Vol 3 by Brain K Vaughn
  • Saga, Vol 4 by Brain K Vaughn
  • Saga, Vol 5 by Brian K Vaughn
  • Saga, Vol 6 by Brain K Vaughn
  • Saga, Vol 7 by Brian K Vaughn
  • Saga, Vol 8 by Brian K Vaughn 
Short Stories
  • “The Yellow Wallpaper,” “Turned,” and “The Giant Wisteria” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • The Lottery,” “The Daemon Lover,” and “The Possibility of Evil” by Shirley Jackson
  • “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates
  • “A Good Man is Hard to Find” and “The Life You Save May Be You Own” by Flannery O’Connor
  • “The Rocking-Horse Winner” by D.H. Lawrence
  • “The Necklace” and “The Hand” by Guy De Massupant
  • “Young Goodman Brown,” “The Minister’s Black Veil,” “The Birthmark,” “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” “The Ambitious Guest,” and “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  •  “Bernice” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “Ligeia,” “The Oval Portrait,” The Masque of the Red Death,” “William Wilson” and “The Pit and the Pendulum” by Edgar Allan Poe
  • “Click-Clack the Rattlebag” by Neil Gaiman
  • “A Haunted House” by Virginia Woolf
  • “Horror Story” by Carmen Maria Machado
  • “The Music of Erich Zann,” “The Thing on the Doorstep,” and “Pickman’s Model” by H.P. Lovecraft
  • “Dracula’s Guest” by Bram Stoker
  • “Vampyre” by John Polidori
  • “True Crime” by M. Rickert
  • “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving
  • The Handless Maiden (aka The Girl Without Hands), Grimm’s Fairy Tales (1812-1858)
  • Baba Yaga, Vasilisa the Beautiful
  • Clockwork by Laura McCaffrey