I read a lot of books this year, particularly in the latter half. It is one of the joys of my life that I got ot read a lot of books to small human in the first half, and another joy that I got to read a lot of unpusblished manuscripts for blurb and review in the latter.
These are my favorites for grownups that are available to you right now, in no order.
- One Dirty Tree, Noah Van Sciver
- Van Sciver writes about the irrationality of poor children, the way we make religion out of everything good or bad that happens to us, because we can’t count on anything. This graphic novel was very compelling to me, and I hope to see lots more.
- Whalefall, Daniel Krauss
- This is one of those thrillers that literally fucked up my ability to breathe. Edge of my seat doesn’t cut it; I was on the edge of my inhale. There’s going to be a movie and I’m worried people are going to pass out in the theater.
- Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl, Andrea Lawlor
- Much more literary than what I usually like, but this book is more artful with gender and its applications than almost any other. Gayest thing I read all year.
- The Devil Takes You Home, Gabino Iglesias
- All the best horror stories are iterations on our grief, and this one’s a whopper. Scary and beautiful and brilliant.
- You Could Make This Place Beautiful, Maggie Smith
- I was wary of reading another divorce memoir in the year of my own divorce, but this one is so lovingly rendered. Only a poet could do it.
- Yellowface, R.F. Kuang
- Publishing is a hideous bitch-goddess who screws us all, and as if that weren’t enough she’s also super racist. Kuang goes for her throat, and I cannot help but cheer.
- Quietly Hostile, Samantha Irby
- Irby is the funniest person alive with respect to things that suck. I will always buy her books.
- Lint, Chris Ware
- Ware is the most quietly brilliant artist today producing works that look and feel like the internal processes of the human mind. Nobody is doing it better.
In short stories, I have a few that really rocked me when I read them.
- Scott Edelman wrote a short story about the kind of thing we all dream about, and has the wisdom and experience to make it work better than most.
- Eugenia Triantafyllou broke my heart this year with a story about a dog that isn’t a dog.
- Nino Cipri published a story that is and is not Our Town that stuck with me for days.
- On a long list of things that hurt this year, Rachael K. Jones’ The Sound of Children Screaming is the probe in the wound.