I don’t know what the standard method is for finding new books. Everyone has their own, I’m sure, and some people actually read all those paperbacks one finds waiting in line at the pharmacy. I assume some get their recommendations from bestseller lists. Me, I just sit back and let the universe throw books at me.
If I find one left behind at a bus station, I adopt it. Sometimes I sign into Twitter and snag the first book I see there. I get emails from BookBub, but my selection process from the offerings is a mystery even to me. Friends appear and put books in my hands. I read them.
Through this osmosis, I have found some wonderful and terrible books, and sometimes, books that are both.
Honestly, I don’t like to talk about the ones I didn’t like: A writer out there somewhere put their whole heart into that messy thing, and some not-me reader is probably going to love it. So I leave those alone.
On the other hand, I love pointing out the good discoveries. Here are a few of my favorites from this year. Please don’t ask me how I found any particular one of them, because I won’t have the faintest idea.
This book just hit all my buttons: Swords, sorcery, and snarky main character lady. Definitely goes on my beloved “Tamora Pierce for Adults” shelf.
I don’t normally go browsing for YA, but this book so transcends genre that I recommend it for anyone who loves to read anything. It seems to have suffered a bit from small-minded advertising (including the gal-pal-ification of a relationship between two female characters), but I’m going to shout this one from the rooftops for a long time. Bonus: The hardcover is BEAUTIFUL. Also, goats.
This one may be a little rough around the edges in the first few pages (a common affliction among us fledgling novelists), but then this weird western just gets on its feet and GOES. Great fun, good creepiness factor, and the kind of diverse cast that warms my little non-straight-white-dude heart.
I know. I’m late to the S.A. Hunt party. In case you are, too, there’s very little I can tell you about this one without spoiling it. Just imagine if ’90s Stephen King was a bit better at writing endings. Also, be prepared for really unsettling witches.
Woman escapes city, fights zombies, etc.. You’ve read that before. What makes this special is the main character’s practical knowledge about things other than firearms. The research in here is good enough that you should keep it on your shelf as a zombie apocalypse guidebook. You know. Just in case.
This is really the first and only Southern Grit Lit that I’ve read. Honestly, I grew up in a poor, rural place, and mostly I’d rather not be reminded of it, but while the writing was sufficiently evocative to bring back muddy memories, it was also strong enough to take over and drive away from them.
I know. It’s a comic. But it’s just too good not to include. Everyone should get everyone else this book for Christmas.