Yes, it’s that time of year when we look back at the year talk about how great (or not so much) the last has been. It’s certainly been a solid one for me, a guy who likes books and also a new dad. I have compiled a list of twenty reasons why 2019’s been an awesome year that cover the science fiction, fantasy, weird, graphic novel, and detective genres that all are available from booksellers and your local library.
Kid Gloves by Lucy Knisley
Lucy Knisley covers the science and the emotional roller coaster of having a baby in a genre where she’s a master: graphic memoir! Check out this latest, greatest of her autobiographical comics.
Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory by Raphael Bob-Waksberg
Where did this book even come from? The stories in this book are random, hilarious, and extremely emotional. They care, they want to be read, and they love you.
Your Favorite Band Cannot Save You by Scotto Moore
I’ll never forget the day I was told that there’s a difference between your favorite and the technical best. That’s why this list doesn’t have numbers. This skinny little book’s a fave: a sci-fi horror about bloggers who listen to too much indie rock, that’s so gory it can’t help be funny.
Bunny by Mona Awad
Bunny‘s not only bizarrely hilarious, but it’s easily the smartest book on this list. This satire of creative writing programs will kowtow at your winter convocation before it spits in everybody’s eye. It belongs in a museum, in the surrealist art gallery.
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
Ever get lost in a book? It’s too easy to get lost in the Teixcalaanli Empire’s politics the way that Mahit Dzmare does when she show’s up to work and finds her predecessor dead. Now she has to juggle diplomatic relations, a succession crisis, and so much poetry while staving off the impending alien invasion.
The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling
A caver on another planet is tethered, electronically and emotionally, to her manipulative employer at the surface, all the while searching for elusive corpses in a hostile environment. It’s a slow burn with a small cast that will become very real to you by the end of the ride.
The Other Americans by Laila Lalami
A grieving daughter seeks out answers in the seemingly accidental death of her Moroccan father in a Mojave Desert town. Told in alternating narration, we meet the entire community as the death spiderwebs across psyches eventually revealing a motive for murder.
The Birth of Loud by Ian S. Port
Rock ‘n roll history of two guitar icons. Luthier Leo Fender can’t play a lick but his endless finicking and innovating leads to the Strat, the Tele, the Jazzmaster, and more. Les Paul, meanwhile, is determined to be the best guitar player in the world. The two fight, make up, collaborate, fight again, as their guitars soar ahead as their enduring legacies.
Orange World and Other Stories by Karen Russell
Karen Russell is the queen of the weird. She weaves literary, brainy fiction with environmental science fiction and complete fantasy. An awesome short story collection from one of the best of her generation.
The Municipalists by Seth Fried
This sci-fi buddy cop caper is 2019’s best kept secret. This novel leaps off the building and into a robot-filled adventure that can only be solved by the biggest nerd on the planet.
Violet by Scott Thomas
Heartland horror writer Thomas brings a grieving mother and daughter home to a small, crumbling prairie town. Surrounded by decay, with depression closing, both members of this family will need confront the demon chasing them.
Lent by Jo Walton
Speaking of demons, how would you like find out you’ve always been one? It gets even worse for Catholic reformer Girolamo Savonarola, who figures out that his personal hell is living the same pious life over and over again only to end up in eternal torment.
Dark Constellations by Pola Oloixarac
I’ve never been one to describe a book as ethereal except this one. Nature and technology dance around one another, bordering on the edge of either discovery or extinction.
Paper Girls, Vol. 5 by Bryan K. Vaughn
As the Paper Girls saga comes to end, Erin, Mac, KJ, and Tiffany find themselves in middle of a war of the generations. Volume 5 brings us right to cliff-hanging climax of the story, whether the girls must confront both the time-traveling Grandfather and clones of their own past selves.
Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin
The collection of strange short stories translated from Spanish will grab your attention and not let go. Often ambiguous, never dull, and certain to bring to mind all the creepy-crawlies just underneath the surface.
Best. Movie. Year. Ever. by Brian Raftery
You have a favorite movie that came in 1999. But which one? How did it effect cinema? Find out in this ode to the year that ended a millennium and opened a new era in filmmaking.
Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Morena-Garcia
One part road trip, one part historical fiction, and one part Mayan myth. All parts adventure in this thrilling adventure that shows all the magic of Jazz Age Mexico.
The Deep by Rivers Solomon, et al
Listen to the album, read the book. Or read the book and then listen to the album. It doesn’t matter, because the world of The Deep is omnidimensional and up for exploration again and again.
The Border Keeper by Kerstin Hall
A creepy fantasy novella that charges into the underworld and waits for no one to catch up. The Border Keeper is a story of ever-shifting, all-encompassing war on unfathomable levels.
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
This historical fantasy plunges into every bookworm’s dreamworld — the library stacks! One bookish hero embarks on the inward odyssey of a lifetime as he loses himself in the immense fantasy of reading.
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