‘Tis the season for best-of-2019 lists. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the books I read aren’t shiny and new, so I can’t really make one of my own. But fret not! We can still talk about the best books that were new to us in 2019. Without further ado, here are mine.
Best of the Best:
Without question, the most memorable book I read in 2019 was The Incal (1980-1988), a graphic novel written by Alejandro Jodorowsky & illustrated by Moebius. After failing to adapt Dune for the big screen, cult director Jodorowsky wrote this weird-as-hell space opera epic instead. Legendary French illustrator Jean Giraud, aka Moebius, inked it. Just a transcendent “what on earth did I just read?” experience.
It was also a good (reading) year for LGBT graphic novels. Specifically, My Brother’s Husband (2014-2017), by Gengoroh Tagame, and Fun Home (2006), by Alison Bechdel. The former tells the story of a Canadian widower visiting his late husband’s estranged brother in Tokyo. The latter is a memoir of Bechdel’s early life growing up in rural Pennsylvania with a closeted father. Both won Eisner Awards.
I was also a big fan of the Broken Earth trilogy, which I wrote about here.
Finally, some honorable mentions:
- A Memory Called Empire (2017), by Arkady Martine. Part 1 in a series, this tells the tale of an impressionistic young ambassador, who represents an independent space station at the court of a ravenous interstellar empire.
- Salvation (2018), by Peter F. Hamilton. I’m as surprised as you are that he made the list. But this well-wrought page-turner is worth picking up if you’re looking for the first part of what I’m sure will be a sprawling epic space opera.
- The Goblin Emperor (2014), an award-winning story of race and class, told through the lens of a minor half-breed heir becoming the ruler of the elven empire. If I had to describe it in one word, it would be ‘kind’. (I picked this one up from one of your recommendations.)
Well, that’s my list. Very interested in seeing yours!