It’s that time of year again, when I have to list my five favorite reads for LitReactor and I feel like an asshole because I read so many good books and how in the wide world of fuck can I possibly narrow it down?
I tried my best. My top five is:
American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson, Recursion by Blake Crouch, Wanderers by Chuck Wendig, Three-Fifths by John Vercher, and Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. You can see my reasoning here.
BUT there were a whole lot of books I read that I really liked and I am going to list some more of them here because this is my site and I can do what I want. This is for books released in 2019 (some of which I really struggled about including in the top five).
- The Better Sister by Alafair Burke – could not put this book down—it was impossible to ignore
- Miami Midnight by Alex Segura – the final (maybe?) Pete Fernandez mystery and Alex really stuck the landing
- They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall – Rachel’s writing always makes me jealous
- Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – such fantastic myth and fantasy
- How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones – this book shook me
- Lock Every Door by Riley Sager – good god Riley knows how to build suspense
- Miraculum by Steph Post – I want an entire universe based around this world and these characters
- End of the Ocean by Matthew McBride – Matt just gets better and better with each new book
- Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha – the crime fiction we need right now
- Deception Cove by Owen Laukkanen – come for the great characters, stay for the very good dog
- Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips – breathtakingly beautiful
- Unspeakable Things by Jessica Lourey – this one stuck with me
- Maxine Unleashes Doomsday by Nick Kolakowski – a hell of a lot of fun
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson – required reading
- War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi – Black Panther + Fury Road – need I say more?
There are probably a few I missed. There are also a few books I really wanted to get to this year, and didn’t… but I vow to get to them soon.
(And yes I get it there’s a new Amy Hempel book in the world and I didn’t read it yet; I’m afraid to, because once I’ve read it, the world won’t be as full of the same wonderful possibility it held, from knowing there is new work from Amy Hempel.)
I also read some really fantastic books coming out in 2020 that you ought to have on your radar:
- Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby – Shawn is another writer who just takes huge leaps and bounds with each new project – you can see the movie as you read this
- Stealing Thunder by Alina Boyden – so much fun, such great themes of politics and family and identity… with dragon-bird fights
- Sixteenth Watch by Myke Cole – I love books from authors who are writing with the authority of experience… also, Coast Guard on the moon!
- Consider This by Chuck Palahniuk – a fantastic book on writing
- Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener – truly cutting portrait of Silicon Valley
- Line of Sight by James Queally – you’re going to know this dude’s name real soon
- The Return by Rachel Harrison – I was legit afraid to read this at night because it was so scary
There were some other books mixed in—older books, or non-fiction books for research (none of which knocked my socks off so thoroughly as to warrant inclusion here). Looking at this list I feel like I did okay but also wish I had read more. I went through a dark period over the last few months where I wasn’t reading as much, and honestly it was Blacktop Wasteland that got me back into the groove. What a good fucking book that is.
Anyway. Happy reading! Hopefully you find something fun here.