This list is made up of my favorite books I read in 2019, regardless of publication year.
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs: I’ve read bits of this before, but not altogether. Extraordinary book, extraordinary woman.
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom: Another book by an extraordinary woman, and disturbingly relevant to the 21st century.
American Nightingale: The Story of Frances Slanger, Forgotten Heroine of Normandy by Bob Welch: I’m sensing a theme of extraordinary women here…
Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose by Flannery O’Connor: A really great collection of published/unpublished talks and essays about writing, religion, life, and literature.
Dragon Lords: The History and Legends of Vikings in England by Eleanor Parker: What it says on the tin.
Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-Earth by John Garth: Possibly my favorite Tolkien biography ever? Although Humphrey Carpenter’s is hard to beat.
Homeric Moments: Clues to Delight in Reading the Odyssey and the Iliad by Eva Brann: Very nerdy and fun, but I only recommend it if you, you know, enjoy Homer at least a little already.
Within the Sanctuary of Wings by Marie Brennan: The last book in the Lady Trent series, about a Victorian-analogue lady who just wants to study dragons in their natural habitat.
The Chanur Saga 1-3 by CJ Cherryh: I finally read Cherryh this year! She’s incredible! I love these dumb space-lions with all of my cold shriveled heart!
Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear: It took me a bit to get into this one, but I adore Bear space opera SO SO SO MUCH.
The Kindly Ones by Melissa Scott: I read a lot of Melissa Scott’s older stuff this year and this is a work of art. No questions at this time.
Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor:
Cyteen by CJ Cherryh: This genius book is really dark and really happy and I don’t know how to move on from it.
Regenesis by CJ Cherryh: A sequel to Cyteen and very different in some ways, but such a soft story about found family and about picking up the pieces after the big status-quo shift.
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers: I adore every chapter, page, sentence, and word of this.
The Hanged Man by KD Edwards: The only urban fantasy I’ve found so far to fill the Ilona-Andrews-shaped home in my reading life.
Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers: The only non-SFF on this list. I’ve been loving all of the Peter Wimsy novels but so far this is my favorite.
Thrawn: Treason by Timothy Zahn: Thrawn was my least favorite part of this book and I like Thrawn quite a bit. I really want more space opera Star Wars like this.
X-Wing: Mercy Kill by Aaron Allston: Somehow this book packed in everything I love about the X-Wing series and non-Jedi Star Wars in general. Fantastic cast of characters, suspenseful story, aLL THE FEELS.
Young Adult Fiction
Slayer by Kiersten White: Set in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe, hilarious, scary, and cozy, and by one of my favorite living authors.
Death Prefers Blondes by Caleb Roehrig: Heists! Drag queens! Revenge!
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by EK Johnston: One of my favorite books of the decade, truly perfect, give respect, etc.
The Story of Owen by EK Johnston: Dragons! Family! Found family! Canada! Jokes!
The Afterward by EK Johnston: The aftermath of the epic quest, and the softest story ever.
The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried by Shaun David Hutchinson: SDH’s books get better and better and better and, respectfully, it’s alarming.
Ziggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon: Sometimes I get frustrated with YA, and then I come across an amazing piece of writing like this one.
Radio Silence by Alice Oseman: Friendship and podcasts! Podcasts and friendship!
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black: A perfect vampire book, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater: A lot of nightmares packed into one book, but I loved it anyway.
Black Enough: Stories About Being Young and Black in America edited by Ibi Zoboi: One of the best short-story anthologies I’ve read. There are many gems in here.
Year of the Griffin by Diana Wynne Jones: Diana Wynne Jones is a genius.
Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones: Diana Wynne Jones is a gEniUs.
Nate Expectations by Tim Federle: The third in Tim Federle’s hilarious theater kid trilogy and an absolute gem.
Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez: VERY FUNNY AND WHIMSICAL.
Aru Shah and the Song of Death by Roshani Chokshi: Part of an epic ongoing series based on Hindu mythology.
Time of the Ghost by Diana Wynne Jones: [diana wynne jones is a genius]
The Royal Tutor 1-10 by Higasa Akai: One of the funniest things I read this year, a delight.
Runaways 1-3 by Rainbow Rowell: All-around incredible art, story, and characters.
Silver Spoon 1-10 by Hiromu Arakawa: This rich kid decides to quit fancy prep school and go to ag school instead and I never thought I would care so much about making food.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 9-11 by Ryan North: This series, as the kids say, slaps. I wish more superhero comics were like this one.
Captain America 1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates: COATES DOES NOT HOLD BACK, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks: Very cozy love story set at a fall festival. So much autumn joy packed into one book!
Strange Planet by Nathan W. Pyle: If you haven’t read the webcomic, go ahead and do that now.
A Spring Harvest by Geoffrey Bache Smith
An American Sunrise by Joy Harjo