First of all, I just want to say a massive thank you to Glenn and Brandon for an excellent year of weird fiction stories! I've been trying to listen along as much as possible (I think I've only missed a couple of stories/episodes so far), and your discussions have always given me lots to think about and things to appreciate, even about stories that I didn't necessarily enjoy.
Next, the good. My favourite discoveries as a result of the podcast are definitely Thomas Ligotti and Caitlin R. Kiernan, neither of whom I had even heard of, let alone read before (actually, I might have heard of Kiernan, I'm not sure). In fact, I'm going to say that Kiernan's "The Ammonite Violin" is probably my favourite story of the year (though already not my favourite of her stories having read a few more since). And I have to say that, of the two Ligotti stories, I preferred "The Frolic" to "Purity". It's a close call, but even though the word-smithing in "Purity" is better, it had too many elements I thought weren't explored thoroughly enough, and I felt the ending kind of fell flat. "The Frolic" is probably more my sort of story anyway, but I thought it worked a bit better as a self-contained episode, whereas "Purity" could have done with a bit more room to breath, or with being part of a wider mythos.
There were some unexpected gems by authors I already knew, for example "The Insanity of Jones" by Algernon Blackwood. I had Blackwood pegged as a wilderness/nature weird fiction author, so it was really interesting to read a story by him with an urban setting, and such a seemingly mundane subject matter (I don't mean mundane in a bad way either). And of course, having an excuse to re-read stories I've read before is great. Reading Chambers's King in Yellow stories is always a treat, and I'm glad to see "The Mask" finally got the votes it needed! Also, Lovecraft's "The Festival", which I knew I'd read but had no memory of - now it will always stick in my mind as a really evocative mid-winter tale.
Then, unfortunately, the bad. I must say that I have yet to be convinced by either William Hope Hodgson or Clark Ashton Smith. These authors are both new to me (although obviously I'd heard of CAS before), but I haven't enjoyed their stories so far - especially disappointing for a titan of the genre like CAS. I trust that you're on to something with these two, though, so I'll keep reading in the hopes that we get to some stories more to my taste. I was also a bit disappointed by the Machen stories, which just didn't do as much for me as the other stories of his I've read in the past.
I'm not going to dwell on the negative, though, and I think I've probably said my piece about various themes in my posts here. Overall it's been a great year, and even the stories I didn't enjoy I don't regret having read. Here's to a great 2020 - I'm really excited for what's coming up!
Oh, and one last thing. Glenn, I'm not just saying this as your friend, but I've read quite a few of your stories, and none of them have prose anywhere near as bad as Smith's in "The Door to Saturn", so you don't have anything to worry about on that front!