Books

TGON’s Best Reads of 2019

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.

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.

A cartoon of the author touching her pregnant belly.
Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

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.

Read my review of Kid Gloves Here!

Cover of Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory: Stories which features a man in George Washington costume with an oversized head.
Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

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.

Read my review of Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory here! 

Cover of Your Favorite Band Cannot Save You which features a cheering crowd.
Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

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.

Read my review of Your Favorite Band Cannot Save You here!

The cover of Bunny has a pink rabbit on a black cover.
Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

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.

Read my review of Bunny here!

A Memory Called Empire cover, which features an enormous throne on a stone dais.
Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

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.

Read my review of A Memory Called Empire here! 

Cover of The Luminous Dead, which features a hand wearing the glove from a high-tech space suit
Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

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.

Read my review of A Luminous Dead here!

Cover art for The Other Americans which is red with black text
Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

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.

Read my review of The Other Americans here! 

Cover of The Birth of Loud which features a Fender Stratocaster on the left and a Gibson Les Paul on the right.
Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

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.

Read my review of The Birth of Loud here!

Cover art for Orange World and Other Stories by Karen Russell, which features a fox standing in a baby's crib.
Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

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.

Read my review of Orange World and Other Stories here! 

Cover of The Municipalists which features a busy city
Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

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.

Read my review of The Municipalists here!

The cover art for Violet by Scott Thomas, which features a silhouette of a little girl standing by a lake and two silhouettes of little girls reflected on the surface of the lake.
Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

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.

Read my review of Violet here!

Cover of Lent, which features a monk talking with a demon
Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

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.

Read my review of Lent here!

Cover of the English language edition of Dark Constellations, which features an image of flowers and an eyeball, distorted by computer pixels
Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

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.

Read my review of Dark Constellations here!

Cover art of Paper Girls, Vol. 5, which features an elderly woman standing next to a woman holding a laser gun
Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

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.

Read my review of Paper Girls, Vol. 5 here!

Cover art for Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin

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.

Read my review of Mouthful of Birds here!

Best Movie Ever
Source Amazon

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.

Read my review of Best. Movie. Year. Ever. here!

Cover art for Gods of Jade Shadow, which has a Mayan pyramid depicted in art deco style
Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

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.

Read my review of Gods of Jade and Shadow here!

Cover of The Deep by Rivers Solomon with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes which features a wajinru, a woman with a fish's tail and fins, swimming with whales.
Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

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.

Read my review of The Deep here! 

Cover art for The Border Keeper, which features silhouettes of people and animals in a dark forest
Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

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.

Read my review of The Border Keeper here.

Cover art for The Starless Sea, which features a variety of ribbons and keys
Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

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.

* This article contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Game of Nerds. * 

1 comment

Leave Your Comment Here!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: