R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril Challenge XV: A Longlist! #ripxv

So, you would think that having just completed a three month, twenty book reading challenge, that a new challenge would be the last thing I would want to dive into.


I have a very soft spot for the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril challenge, which is now in its fifteenth year. I’ve done the challenge a few times now and it always appeals to my love of autumn, dark nights, warm fires and creepy reads.

The rules of the challenge couldn’t be simpler. During September and October, read books from the following categories:

  • Mystery
  • Suspense
  • Thriller
  • Dark Fantasy
  • Gothic
  • Horror
  • Supernatural

I’ve had a look through the 746, my NetGalley shelves and some recent purchases and have come up with a list of twenty books that fit the challenge, of which I hope to read and review 8 – 10 over the coming months. I didn’t realise that I had such a large number of unsettling books on my TBR!

You can click on the titles to go to Goodreads for a longer description:

The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin

I read Rosemary’s Baby for this challenge last year and was really impressed, so I am hoping for more of the same with this iconic tale.

Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas

This is a dark, literary gothic tale, based in an elite girl’s college – Catherine House – where students have no contact with the outside world during the three years in which they attend. It has gothic and it has campus – two of my favourite things in a novel!

These Women by Ivy Pochoda

Billed as a serial killer story with a difference, focusing on female empowerment and social change, this sounds like it won’t be your run-of-the-mill thriller.

Bedbugs by Ben H Winters

I am not sure why I was drawn to buy a book about a young family whose home is infested with bedbugs, but I do love an ambiguous tale where the line between madness and horror blur.

The Taiga Syndrome by Cristina Rivera Garza, translated by Suzanne Jill Levine and Aviva Kana

Cristina Garza is one of Mexico’s most well-known contemporary authors and here she subverts the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale in a dark story about a couple missing in a forest.

The Bird’s Nest by Shirley Jackson

You can’t really go wrong with some Shirley Jackson, can you?

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

I’ve never read any Sherlock Holmes. There. I’ve admitted it. So, now is as good a time as any!

Audition by Ryū Murakami, translated by Ralph McCarthy

The film adaptation of Audition is one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen so I really hope the book delivers as well as it explores what happens when a wealthy widower ‘auditions’ for a new wife.

The Witches: Salem 1692 by Stacy Schiff

I’m very interested in literature surrounding the Salem Witch Trials but have never properly explored the actually history of what happened.  The Witches puts what happens into historic context and should be a timely read.

Already Dead: A California Gothic by Denis Johnson

I’m a big fan of Denis Johnson and his wonderful writing and am looking forward to this slice of contemporary Gothic noir which explores a drug deal turned sour.

The Troop by Nick Cutter

A scouting trip to a remote island goes horribly wrong in this acclaimed horror novel featuring tapeworms, isolation and homicide.

Blindness by Jose Saramago

I’m sure you all know by now how long this has been lingering in my TBR. I’ve started it a few times and always stalled early on, so I think it’s time to get this one read.

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Blending horror, science fiction and fairy tale, this is a short-story collection I’ve been meaning to read for quite a while now.

A Sincere Warning about the Entity in your Home by Jason Arnopp

A short, sharp little story that takes the form of an anonymous letter sent to your address warning you of the horrors that await within your own home!

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

I do love a story that features a creepy child and Baby Teeth features a resilient seven-year who is the epitome of a Daddy’s Girl and who will do anything to get Mummy out of the picture!

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

While we’re on the topic of creepy children, they don’t come much creepier than the possessed girl at the centre of The Exorcist. Can the book live up to the movie? Time to find out!

The October Country by Ray Bradbury

Classic horror short stories from the man who wrote the beautiful, warm, sun-dappled Dandelion Wine? I’m intrigued!

Disappearance at Devil’s Rock by Paul Tremblay

I’ve heard Tremblay called the master of the ghost story, so am eager to read this tale of the mysterious disappearance of a teenage boy and the even more mysterious happenings that follow.

Sisters by Daisy Johnson

I haven’t read Johnson’s award-winning debut Everything Under but was drawn to the premise of Sisters, a gothic tale of siblings caught in an emotional web and struggling to understand where one ends and the other begins.

Reality and Other Stories by John Lanchester

I like John Lanchester’s writing and was delighted to get a copy of this collection of modern ghost stories from NetGalley which explore the absurd horrors of technology and modern life.

I’ll admit that is quite a lot to choose from, there is enough here to keep me going for the next three RIP challenges but I’ll prioritise books in the 746 and leave others for back-up/ mood reading. I am looking forward to some dark evenings in front of a crackling fire with these scary pals for company!

To follow along with the challenge, follow Readers Imbibing Peril on Twitter or Instagram (@perilreaders) and use the hashtag #ripxv

Do any of these take your fancy or are there any you would recommend? If you are also taking part then do share links to your lists in the comments.

Reading Challenge

Cathy746books View All →

I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!

47 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Cathy I commend you on joining yet another challenge. It sounds like a good one, but I won’t be joining in this time as my review commitments are pressing for the rest of 2020.
    One of the books you’ve long-listed is one that I didn’t enjoy at all. In fact, of the 75 titles I’ve read so far this year it was my LEAST favourite read!
    I won’t tell you the title so as not to influence your opinions.
    Good luck with the challenge! 👍📚


  2. Well good for you, Cathy – I’ve read a few but mostly I’ll just stay away from scary books. I like some pretty gritty crime novels but not horror or anything approaching it. And I don’t have any on my shelves and I don’t have library access. I’ll watch your blog with interest.


  3. Catherine House is great! I DNF These Women and tbh I don’t think it’s a great fit for this challenge either – the blurb is a bit misleading, as in more than halfway through there was still barely a mention of a serial killer.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What an amazing list! I will also be reading Jackson’s The Bird’s Nest for this year’s challenge. I hope you like The Stepford Wives – it is an amazing read. Spooky, atmospheric, but understated too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You’ve picked some good ones and I have read a few of them myself. I don’t think I could bring myself to read Bedbugs! Eeesh!
    This is the only challenge I participate in. It’s just too much and it kicks off the season for me which is necessary since fall doesn’t really feel like fall here in California until later October or mid-November.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this challenge, and that we can read as much or as little as we like. Catherine House is one I recently added to my TBR list and some Shirley Jackson is perfect for this challenge. Happy reading!


  7. I read Baby Teeth and it definitely fits in with your new challenge, Cathy! Also, we just picked The Hound of the Baskervilles to read for our library mystery book club – I’m looking forward to reading it!


  8. I had forgotten I wanted to read Bedbugs. Actually, I’ve just wanted to read more Ben H. Winters and this one is seasonally appropriate!
    Sherlock Holmes was one of the first things I remember reading that wasn’t a kid’s book so I’m always surprised when I learn someone hasn’t read them yet. I’m rereading Hound of the Baskervilles later in RIP. Hope you get to it and enjoy it!


  9. Very nice list, glad you are taking part in RIP XV!

    I just finished The Hound of the Baskervilles for this a few days back and really enjoyed it. It is only my second Holmes novel, but certainly my favorite of the two. Just finishing up The Silent Companions and have found that to be a page-turner and just the kid of spooky, gothic story I like this time of year.



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