I managed to read 51 books this year, which I believe is a new record. There are a handful of quick reads in there– poetry chapbooks, graphic novels, a middle grade/YA fiction binge around book 27– but it’s still 51 books. And it was perfectly doable, which is why I have set 50 as my goal to read for 2018.
Of the 51, here’s my top five that I think that are must-reads:
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I bought multiple copies of this book this year to give to people, and I wanted to give it to even more. This book is amazing and so relevant right now. It’s a perspective on current events that everyone needs to read and understand.
The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin. This is the final book in the Broken Earth trilogy, so obviously read the first two, first, but the trilogy is an absolute must-read. It’s a masterclass in fiction. Can’t recommend it enough.
Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero. This book is for any kid who ever wanted to be a detective, which, let’s face it, was every single one of us. Rooted in the Scooby gang, but paying homage to every kid detective story ever written, this book is fantastic and hilarious and a look at what happens when kid detectives grow up. Oh, and they meet actual Lovecraftian monsters, too.
Insomniac City by Bill Hayes. The most beautiful memoir ever. I love Oliver Sacks, I love New York City, I love this book. So much.
Iraq + 100 edited by Hassan Blasim. The first collection of science fiction out of Iraq, according to the editor’s note. At times light on the science fiction element, but interesting, necessary perspectives from a country that has been under foreign influence for 100 years, on where they might be in another 100.
Honorable mention must-reads ( you thought I could just pick five, ha!)
River of Teeth and Taste of Marrow by Sarah Gailey. Sneaking in a two-for here, because they’re a quick duology of novellas. (Is there going to be a third? I haven’t heard.) Alternate history in which the United States decided to raise hippopotamuses in the bayous for meat instead of cattle (which, according to the author’s note, was a real thing we considered in the 1800s). Action packed, hippo packed, alternate history goodness.
An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon. A microcosm of humanity is on a spaceship hurtling towards (hopefully?) a new planet that the generation on board won’t live to see. It’s an exploration of class systems and power struggles. Reminded me a little bit of Battlestar Galactica, but better.
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera. How do you write a book where the title tells you your two main characters will die at the end? Beautifully. This book is heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time and the premise works. Will definitely leave you gutted, but it’s worth it.
The Full List:
1) Swing Time- Zadie Smith
2) The Underground Railroad- Colson Whitehead
3) Circuits and Slippers- anthology, ed. Jaylee James
4) Neologian: Raido: Mark I – journal, ed. Goddess Trilogy
5) Culdesac- Robert Repino
6) Binti- Nnedi Okorafor
7) Deadeye Dick- Kurt Vonnegut
8) Hidden Youth- anthology, ed. Mikki Kendall
9) The Hate U Give- Angie Thomas
10) Elysium- Jennifer Marie Brissett
11) No Country for Old Men- Cormac McCarthy
12) Insomniac City- Bill Hayes
13) The Feminine Future- anthology, ed. Mike Ashley
14) Phenomenal Woman- Maya Angelou (poetry collection)
15) My Side of the Mountain- Jean Craighead George
16) Company Town- Madeleine Ashby
17) Still I Rise- Maya Angelou (poetry collection)
18) The Handmaid’s Tale- Margaret Atwood
19) The Egypt Game- Zilpha Keatley Snyder
20) The Rabbit Back Literature Society- Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen
21) River of Teeth- Sarah Gailey
22) Amberlough- Lara Elena Donnelly
23) Meddling Kids- Edgar Cantero
24) Now and Forever- Ray Bradbury
25) The Year of the Flood- Margaret Atwood
26) The Box and the Dragonfly- Ted Sanders
27) The Cats of Tanglewood Forest- Charles DeLint
28) Lockwood and Company: The Screaming Staircase- Jonathan Stroud
29) Bayou Magic- Jewell Parker Rhodes
30) Starry River of the Sky- Grace Lin
31) Some Kind of Happiness- Claire Legrand
32) The Gauntlet- Karuna Riazi
33) We Have Always Lived in the Castle- Shirley Jackson
34) Akata Witch- Nnedi Okorafor
35) Dusk or Dawn or Dark or Day- Seanan McGuire
36) Borne- Jeff VanDerMeer
37) The Invisible Library- Genevieve Cogman
38) The Whispering Skull- Jonathan Stroud (Lockwood and Co, book two)
39) The Book of Phoenix- Nnedi Okorafor
40) The Stone Sky- N. K. Jemisin
41) Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore- Robin Sloan
41) Sourdough- Robin Sloan
43) An Unkindness of Ghosts- Rivers Solomon
44) Neologian: Kano: Mark II- journal, ed. Goddess Trilogy
45) Taste of Marrow- Sarah Gailey
46) Paper Girls vol. 1- Brian Vaughn
47) Kraken- China Mieville
48) Iraq + 100- anthology, ed. Hassan Blasim
49) They Both Die at the End- Adam Silvera
50) The Continental Op- Dashiell Hammett
51) Wintersong- S. Jae-Jones
Here’s to a new year and new books!