This was meant to be a Top Ten Tuesday post, but I’m about a week and a half late and deciding to share it anyway. As usual, putting together a mid-year list of the best books I’ve read makes me think that my end-of-year list will be impossibly long—although admittedly, there are a few books on this list that I can tell will probably make way for something else by that time.
Women, Race and Class and An Autobiography, by Angela Davis [review pending]
The Fate of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen
This is a bitter, bittersweet ending to an outstanding trilogy (the second one is the only book I’ve reviewed on the blog). I wasn’t ready for the series to end yet—especially not how it ended. It is emotional. But I think it’s going to be one of my favorite fantasy series of all time, and for all the same reasons that I can see many other people not liking it. The world in this series is, in many ways, the world so many people are fighting for right now in the U.S. and elsewhere—one of rule by religion and money—and it was incredibly satisfying for me to see it laid out so clearly, how horrific it would actually be. But the books have someone like Kelsea Glynn in a position to do something about it, and that’s far more than we can say for ourselves here in the real world.
The Fire Next Time, by James Baldwin [review pending]
Saga, Vol. 7, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
I really hope we get a few more volumes of this series before they end it, because damn, why does it have to end. One of the best adult comics out there.
Fluent Forever, by Gabriel Wyner
The best, clearest, most interesting book I’ve ever read on language learning. It explains things in a really unique way that makes the whole process seem natural and manageable no matter how much you’ve struggled before.
Bad Machinery, Vol. 1: The Case of the Team Spirit, by John Allison
The size of this book is very annoying: it is enormous and floppy and you need a music stand to read it properly or else just lie on the floor. Which is not comfortable. But it’s hilarious and I love John Allison, so now I have to decide whether I want to deal with this nonsense for another FIVE VOLUMES, or read the webcomic online (it was still available there when I looked a couple months ago).
March: Book Three, by John Lewis
This trilogy has got to become required reading in every school in the United States. It is so well done, in addition to being one of the most important books of its kind.
God Loves Hair, by Vivek Shraya
Beautiful short stories examining gender and sexuality, religion, race, and all the other issues that make life complicated.
Wandering Son, volumes 1-6, by Shimura Takako
A lovely manga series about transgender middle school children. The author is cishet as far as I can tell, but writes the protagonists pretty sensitively, and for some reason includes a very problematic adult transgender character. The children are so sweet and their lives are depicted really naturally, in a way that makes me want to keep reading about them.
Ooku: The Inner Chambers, Vol. 1, by Fumi Yoshinaga
What an absolutely fascinating combination of ideas at play in this book. A sort of dystopian premise with a historical setting, a matriarchal society that still has to deal with the misogyny of the patriarchal structure it replaced, a ruler questioning the cruelties arbitrarily codified in her own position of power. The attempt at medieval dialogue was a bad idea, but I would really like to see where this goes.
Black Widow, Vol. 1: S.H.I.E.L.D.’S Most Wanted, by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee
Excellent artwork, excellent story (even if it’s getting to be a very common Widow storyline). Every page of this book is sheer awesome.
Tonoharu, by Lars Martinson [review pending]