What you really want to know is...what should I read? And that's good because I am unable to choose one favorite from my 5-star reads this year. They were all so good in a variety of ways!
In non-fiction, I recommend How a Poem Moves by Adam Sol. I spent every morning for about two weeks with this class-condensed-to-book over my coffee. It taught me how to talk about poetry in a way that I'd never been exposed to before. If you're intimidated by how poetry works - reading or writing - this book is like a light to help you find your way.
Song of Myself by Walt Whitman is my favorite of the poetry I read this year. Yes, I realize he's an old white dude, but I really needed the the happy tears this long poem brings. If you are (wisely) over old white dudes, then I would absolutely go with Angel Nafis and her BlackGirl Mansion. This woman is everywhere in poetry circles, but I'm not hearing about her book enough.
A fiction book you might not have heard of, but that I thought was dark and marvelous was Smoke by Dan Vyleta. In a sea of great fiction, this one stood out to me. It's not a particularly happy book, but my astonishment at the concept was worth getting my soul a little tarnished.
I also just finished (and loved) Jade City by Fonda Lee. This is an urban wuxia fantasy with gangsters and characters who are complex and infuriating. I was riveted.
All the hype around Rebecca Roanhorse's debut novel, Trail of Lightning, was well deserved. I blew through that book in like two days, and found her voice astonishingly well-developed for a first-timer. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel in 2020 (it's already out, I'm just slow).
And, of course, if you haven't read N.K. Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy, you are missing out on one of my favorite tropes - Gods Behaving Badly and the Humans Who Love Them. These books make me stay up late because Jemisin is a master.
Two books that I handed to my husband with a firm command to hurry up and read so we could talk about them were: Recursion by Blake Crouch and Gideon the Ninth by Tasmyr Muir. One is a time-travel thriller and the other is a murder mystery with magic. Both were a lot of fun and gave us things to talk about.
Not fantasy, but My Cat Yugoslavia by Pajtim Statovci (trans by David Hackston) is one I am going to need to buy for my shelves. My favorite kind of book is one that completely trusts the reader to build the story from what they are shown, and when what they are shown isn't even a straight reality, but rather a raw perception of reality, a surreal explanation of how trauma happens and heals, then I'm sold. This book won't let go of me. This is not an easy book to read or experience, but I devoured it and I loved it.
I'd like to do better in the new year with reading more indie authors. I really enjoyed Sweet Turtleberry's romantic dramas and Tamara Woods' cozy mysteries. Plus, the role-playing comedy of Jason Holt, and the cyberpunk thrills from Jen Donohue. I even went out on a limb and read indie published non-fiction! Lauren Sapala wrote a helpful marketing book with journal prompts for sensitive writers. But, there's a whole world of publishing out there that I'm barely grazing! (If you have recommendations, I'm listening.)
I read 79 books so far in 2019, and the year's not over yet! Next year, I'd like to keep an actual spreadsheet so I can make cool graphs with weird info! I'm also going to try and organize my short story reading so I can share my faves at the end of 2020.
Thanks for reading about my reading!