Fifty Book Pick Up: 2019 Edition

It’s New Year’s Eve, which means it’s time to make a list of everything I read this year and pick some favorites. I aim for five best books of the year, usually, and every year I fail to limit myself to five.

So let’s go! In no particular order: (actually that’s a lie; the list is in chronological order of when I read them)

The Eternaut- Hector German Oesterheld and Franciso Solano Lopez

I read this Argentinian comic strip turned graphic novel for a Canon Blast! post, and it was one of the few things I read for that project that I totally loved. A unique allegory for the Cold War from the point of view of one of the non-superpower countries, but it was also just really interesting early Science Fiction. It was published as a comic strip in the 1950s, and has a cool take on alien invasion. And the art is FANTASTIC.

Mem- Bethany C. Morrow

Mem is my decopunk contribution to the list. Set in an alternate 1930s Montreal, it’s a book about memory and ethics. A scientist has developed a way to extract memories and clones, called Mems, are created in order to house particularly painful memories for their source human. Most of them exist only in that moment, forever, until they burn out. Dolores Extract #1 is different. This was a stunning little gem of a short novel and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s beautifully written, and a really interesting concept. It definitely reminded me of Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, but was also it’s own thing.

The City in the Middle of the Night- Charlie Jane Anders

A planet evenly divided into day and night, where either extreme will kill you almost instantly, and the entire population has to live in the literal twilight zone, a totalitarian government, and, of course, smugglers. This book is at heart an adventure story, but it’s so much more than that. The world building is immaculate, the ideas are HUGE and so well done. I got to meet Charlie Jane Anders at BookCon this year, and she was lovely. This book cemented her status on my immediate-preorder list.

The Light Brigade- Kameron Hurley

This book is so hard to explain. It’s military science fiction (there’s a war, against mars.) It’s hard science fiction (soldiers are teleported to their missions, hence the title). It’s (mild spoiler but not really) a time travel story. Kameron Hurley claims she’s not great at plotting, but the structure of this novel blew my damn mind. It is, I think, the very best thing I read this year.

The Poet X- Elizabeth Avecedo

I picked up this novel written in poems as something that my sister my like, and then I read the entire thing in a day and it made me cry. It’s for anyone who has ever been a teenager, anyone who was ever struggled to find themselves and anyone who has had a hard relationship with a parent/parental figure. It’s for anyone and everyone. Just read it.

Honorable Mentions!

How Long Til Black Future Month- N. K. Jemisin. Short story collection, from another author on my immediate-preorder list. N. K. Jemisin is always amazing.

Kindred- Octavia Butler. This was my first Octavia Butler novel and I don’t know how I’ve been slacking so much. She’s definitely on my 2020 list.

The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle- Stuart Turton. I devoured this murder mystery in 24 hours. It was the perfect vacation read.

The Twisted Ones- T. Kingfisher. I started reading this folk-horror set in Appalachia before bed and then I had to finish it on my lunch break because it scared the hell out of me.

Before I give you the complete list, as most of you have probably already heard, 2020 is my year of reading exclusively female-identifying authors. I may add non-binary authors to this because I’m *dying* to read Sarah Gailey’s Upright Women Wanted (future-western! librarians!) but I may not because I also have a future western-ish starring an archivist percolating that I might work on this year and I don’t want to be influenced by that book.

Anyway, long story longer, this is a plug: if you want to follow the exclusive Year of Reading Women content, subscribe to my Patreon! (If you have suggestions for a catchy hashtag for this project, too, I’m all ears. Puns are love.)

And now, the complete run down of all the things I read this year. According to my goodreads book challenge data, it’s 14,283 pages across 50 books. Data is fun.

Happy New year!

Muse of Nightmares- Laini Taylor

We- Yevgeny Zamaytin

Jack Jetstark’s Intergalactic Freakshow- Jennifer Lee Rossman

Not Heaven, Somewhere Else- Rebecca Brown

How Long Til Black Future Month?- N. K. Jemisin

The Eternaut- Hector German Oesterheld/ Franciso Solano Lopez

Hope Never Dies- Andrew Shaffer

Ladycastle- Delilah Dawson

When the Moon Was Ours- Anna Marie McLemore

Here and Now and Then- Mike Chen

Kindred- Octavia Butler

Kill the Farm Boy- Delilah Dawson and Kevin Hearne

Ghost Boys- Jewell Parker Rhodes

Boy, Snow, Bird- Helen Oyeyemi

A Night in the Lonesome October- Roger Zelazny

We Set the Dark on Fire- Tehlor Kay Mejia

Tentacle- Rita Indiana

York- Laura Ruby

Around the World in 80 Days- Jules Verne

The Agony House- Cherie Priest

Mem- Bethany C. Morrow

On the Come Up- Angie Thomas

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe- Carlos Hernandez

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen- Alan Moore

The Black God’s Drums- P. Djeli Clark

Ten Thousand Doors of January- Alix E. Harrow

A People’s Future of the United States- ed. Victor LaValle

A Taste of Honey- Kai Ashante Wilson

Blithe Spirit- Noel Coward

The City in the Middle of the Night- Charlie Jane Anders

The Light Brigade- Kameron Hurley

The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle- Stuart Turton

Five Midnights- Ann Davila Cardinal

Brave New Girls vol 4- ed. Mary Fan and Paige Daniels

The Parker Inheritance- Varian Johnson

Recursion- Blake Crouch

The Hero Next Door- ed. Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

Gideon the Ninth- Tamsyn Muir

The Twisted Ones- T. Kingfisher

The Poet X- Elizabeth Avecedo

Pet- Akwaeke Emezi

Grimm, Grit, and Gasoline- ed. Rhonda Parrish

Wilder Girls- Rory Power

The Westing Game- Ellen Raskin

They Don’t Make Plus Sized Spacesuits- Ali Thompson

Slay- Brittany Morris

The Deep- Rivers Solomon with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes

The Gilded Wolves- Roshani Chokshi

Dead Astronauts- Jeff VanDerMeer

Middlesex- Jefferey Eugenides


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