I’ve been doing these lists every year since 2012 over on my old tumblr. It’s a new blog on a new website, but rules have stayed the same. These are my favorite books and comics that I read this year, not necessarily books that were released this year. Ongoing series that were mentioned on previous lists (and continue to kick ass) are noted at the bottom.
by Christopher Pike.
I’m as surprised as anyone that this book ended up on my year-end favorites list, but this one was a stand-out. I already wrote an extensive blog post about it, so I’ll keep it brief. I think Christopher Pike is an underrated writer. I’m excited about re-visiting more of these.
9. White Fragility
by Robin Diangelo.
I did the audiobook for this one; it was a relatively quick listen. I’ll only note that I did not care for the narrator. This was not a fun or light read, but it was an incredibly important one. Understanding how and why racism is embedded in American society is only the first step in dismantling it. I can’t recommend this book enough for other white people.
8. Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred
Adaptation by Damian Duffy and John Jennings.
This is probably Octavia Butler’s best known book, but it’s premise just never grabbed me. When I saw there was an award-winning graphic novel adaptation I could check out instead, I jumped on it. I’m really glad that I did. I still prefer her weird and devastating sci-fi, but this one is worthy of its acclaim.
7. Queen of Bad Dreams
by Danny Lore, Jordi Pérez, Dearbhla Kelly, and Kim McLean.
I read this as single issues, and plan on getting the collected edition as soon as it’s available. I’m a sucker for a story rooted in dreams and nightmares. This one hooked me on the first issue and kept me coming back for more. Side note: I need to read more comics by queer writers of color.
by Saladan Ahmed, Semi Kivelä, & Jason Wordie.
This was a stunning graphic novel set in 1972 Detroit. I loved seeing depictions of queer characters in a 1970s context. The story is was equal parts horrific and captivating. I read it on comiXology but will need to be getting a print copy.
5. Just Mercy
by Bryan Stevenson.
I was inspired to read Just Mercy after traveling to Montgomery and getting to watch Bryan Stevenson speak earlier this year. It was also the first book I did as an audiobook while biking. If you saw me crying while biking over the Williamsburg bridge back in July, this was the reason. This book was incredibly moving and powerful. It’s got some legal jargon here and there, but the books primary focus is on showing the human side of a corrupt justice system. I’m excited to see if the movie adaptation does it justice.
by: Victor Lavalle, Dietrich Smith, & Joana Lafuente.
I’m not terribly well-versed in classics, but this just bumped Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein up to the tip top of that list (it was already near the top). This was a great modern take, weaving a literary classic into a cyberpunk horror story that reflects the sociopolitical turmoil of our present. I need to read some more of Victor LaValle’s work as well.
3. My Brother’s Husband
by Gengoroh Tagame.
I wrote a review of this for Geeks OUT earlier this year. This was a simple. sweet, and uniquely moving story. It’s a beautiful story about family, grief, culture clash, and queer identity. I highly recommended it to all. Both books are available now from Pantheon.
2. Deep Work
by Cal Newport.
I did this as an audiobook back in August, and it has already made a huge impact on my daily routine. I might listen to it again because there was only so much I was able to take in on the first listen. We live in an age of sensory overload; I’ve got ADHD as an additional complicating factor. For those of us that are trying to make a name for ourselves as writers and artists, social media is a double-edged sword. This book has a little something for everyone.
by Joe Hill.
I read this while on vacation in the Dominican Republic. I was totally hooked right from the prologue. This story was wildly imaginative and wonderfully disturbing. I haven’t watched the show yet, and I’m not sure I want to because I liked this story so much that I don’t want to see it changed. If you’re looking for some good, original, Christmas horror story: this is your book.
Some of the books that just missed the cut.
A Fire Story
by: Brian Fies
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark
by: Michelle McNamara
by: Pornsak Pichetshote, Aaron Campbell, & José Villarrubia.
My Sister, The Serial Killer
by: Oyinkan Braithwaite
Kick-Ass Ongoing Series:
Some ongoing and recently completed series that I read new volumes of this year.
by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda
by: Rick Remender & Matteo Scalera.
Letters for Lucardo: Fortunate Beasts
by: Otava Heikkilä
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
by: Kyle Higgins & Various Artists