Reading Shirley Jackson – October 2019

I am a little late in posting this review of my month of reading Shirley Jackson. I was quite surprised with how much I enjoyed these reads, and they stuck with me for a weeks afterwards.

One of my reading goals for 2019 is to become more familiar with works by different authors by featuring a different author every month (see A Focus on Authors Reading Challenge). I thought another great addition to my Fall reads and for October especially would be to read Shirley Jackson for the first time. I think it will be great for the Halloween season.

The-Lottery-and-other-storiesTitle: The Lottery and Other Stories
Author: Shirley Jackson
Genre: Short stories
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Company
Publication Date: 1949
Pages: 302
Format Read: Audiobook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Library Libby app
Date finished reading: October 5, 2019

Goodreads Description: The Lottery, one of the most terrifying stories written in this century, created a sensation when it was first published in The New Yorker. “Power and haunting,” and “nights of unrest” were typical reader responses. This collection, the only one to appear during Shirley Jackson’s lifetime, unites “The Lottery:” with twenty-four equally unusual stories. Together they demonstrate Jackson’s remarkable range–from the hilarious to the truly horrible–and power as a storyteller.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ 

6708624Title: We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Author: Shirley Jackson
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Viking Press
Publication Date: September 21, 1962
Pages: 146
Format Read: Ebook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Amazon
Date finished reading: October 28, 2019

Goodreads Description: My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise, I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cap mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead…

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

HauntingOfHillHouseTitle: The Haunting of Hill House
Author: Shirley Jackson
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Viking
Publication Date: 1959
Pages: 208
Format Read: Ebook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Amazon
Date finished reading: November 3, 2019

Goodreads Description: First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, the lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

My Review: I had never before read Shirley Jackson. I tend to hide away from any story classified as horror. I am quite a scaredy cat when it comes to horror, but I decided to jump out of my comfort zone for October. I am really glad I did. Shirley Jackson is now one of my favorite authors that I read this year. While I did not as much enjoy her classic short story collection that includes The Lottery, which was quite disturbing, I absolutely loved both We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Haunting of Hill House. While We Have Always Lived in the Castle was a bit slow at times, it kept me guessing. It was a very unique read and unlike anything I had ever read before. My favorite read of Shirley Jackson’s was definitely The Haunting of Hill House. It was really creepy in a great way. I already new the story a bit from the movie The Haunting (1999) with Liam Neeson and the recent Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House. However, I can honestly say that the book is better. I still can’t stop thinking about this book. It continues to haunt me. 🙂 I highly recommend reading some Shirley Jackson.

My Overall Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ½


WWW Wednesdays – October 2, 2019


What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

I completed a full month of reading Stephen King (see full review here). Having only read one short story by Stephen King (just last year), I didn’t know what to expect and am shocked at how much I ended up enjoying his work – though not without some nightmares. I will be moving on to reading Shirley Jackson next as part of my Focus on Authors Challenge.

Currently Reading

Recently Finished

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Focus on Authors Challenge: The Shining by Stephen King – ebook =

*Click on the titles for full reviews. The Shining review is part of a full month of reading Stephen King review.*

Reading Next

What are y’all reading? Any plans to read some creepy novels for October?


WWW Wednesdays – September 25, 2019


What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

I’m almost done with my month of Stephen King reads (A Focus on Authors Reading Challenge). I read far more Stephen King than I thought I would get a chance to. I have so many thoughts and opinions about what I’ve read so far, that I can barely contain myself. The final review is coming soon. I’m also starting my Fall Reads!

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

Focus on Authors Challenge: The Body by Stephen King – audiobook/ebook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ½
Bookish First ARC: The Trouble With Christmas by Amy Andrews – book = ♦ ♦ ♦ ½

*Click on the title of the book for my full review. All Stephen King reads will be reviewed at the end of September.*

Reading Next

What are y’all reading? I’m exploring more horror this season than I have ever read before. Do y’all read horror in the fall? Are you seasonal readers? Leave me a comment or your WWW link below.


A Focus on Authors Reading Challenge


While listening to an episode of the What Should I Read Next podcast, Anne Bogel had a guest on her show that was focusing on reading one author a month. I would like to challenge myself in 2019 to do the same. I have a lot of books on my TBR shelf that are by certain authors that I haven’t read or have read very little. I have made a list of authors I would like to read with a few book titles to choose from. I don’t expect to read all of the following books, as I have other books to read for book clubs, etc., but I feel this will at least help me become a bit more familiar with authors I keep hearing so much about.

January: Zadie Smith

  • White Teeth
  • On Beauty
  • Swing Time
  • Feel Free: Essays
  • The Embassy of Cambodia

February: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (I thought this would be a good pick for African-American History Month)

  • Americanah
  • We Should All Be Feminists
  • Half of a Yellow Sun
  • Purple Hibiscus
  • Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

March: David McCullough

  • The Johnstown Flood
  • John Adams
  • The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris
  • The Wright Brothers
  • The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal 1870-1914

April: Margaret Atwood 

  • Oryx and Crake
  • Blind Assassin
  • Alias Grace
  • Stone Mattress
  • The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus

May: Kurt Vonnegut

  • Slaughterhouse-Five
  • Galapagos
  • Breakfast of Champions
  • Welcome to the Monkey House
  • Interview w/ Kurt Vonnegut

June: Agatha Christie (I’ve actually read a handful of her mystery novels, but there are so many more I would like to read)

  • Murder is Easy
  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles
  • The A.B.C. Murders
  • Murder in Mesopotamia
  • Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life

July: Bill Bryson

  • Notes from a Small Island
  • The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain
  • Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe
  • Bill Bryson’s African Diary
  • One Summer

August: Rainbow Rowell

  • Fangirl
  • Attachments
  • Landline
  • Carry On
  • Almost Midnight

September: Stephen King (I read my first ever Stephen King in 2018 and enjoyed it enough that I want to read more)

  • Apt Pupil
  • Christine
  • The Body
  • On Writing
  • The Shining

October: Shirley Jackson

  • The Haunting of Hill House
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle
  • The Lottery
  • Dark Tales 
  • Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life

November: Neil Gaiman

  • American Gods
  • Coraline
  • Neverwhere
  • The Graveyard Book
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane

December: Kristin Hannah

  • The Nightingale
  • The Great Alone
  • Fly Away
  • Winter Garden
  • Night Road

I am really looking forward to diving into these works by these amazing authors! What are your favorite authors? If I continue this reading challenge in future years, what authors should be on my list?

Movies/Shows I’m Watching – October ’18


I am a seasonal movie watcher. I will only watch scary movies during the month of October. A couple months ago, I tried to watch Winchester, starring the amazing Helen Mirren, but only made it 30 minutes in before I just got too scared. I have decided to try that movie again now that it is October, along with a few others. I also have a couple of series I will be binging on Hulu and Netflix as well.


  • Castle Rock – based off of Stephen King novels on Hulu
  • The Haunting of Hill House – based off of the Shirley Jackson book and premieres on Netflix this month


  • Winchester (2018)
  • The Shining (1980)
  • A Quiet Place (2018)
  • Mother! (2017)
  • Alien (1979)
  • Aliens (1986)
  • Scream (1995)
  • Jaws (1976)

Do you like scary movies? Are you a seasonal scary movie fan like me or do you watch them at any time of the year? What are you favorites?