As we leave the month marked by rough first drafts and apparently not shaving, we now find ourselves in a time of reflection; where we look back over the first eleven months and sum up the high points. Yes, we’ve reached the time when bloggers’ Best of Lists abound. This is the first of the lists I’m planning, and I’m starting with books. It’s possible I’ll come across something in the next couple weeks that I’ll wish I included but, given how what I’ve got stacked next on my TBR isn’t a 2013 book, I think I’m safe. I’m also going for “favorite” rather than “best,” because my reading wasn’t comprehensive enough this year to die on that particular hill. I will say with certainty you can’t go wrong with any of these selections; 2013 had scads of great books, and these were my favorites.
10. The Big Reap – Chris F. Holm. I haven’t reviewed this yet because I actually haven’t finished it yet (I’m definitely far enough in to highly recommend it). I’m taking my time, and really savoring the way Holm mixes horror and hard-boiled crime writing.
9. The Best of Connie Willis: Award Winning Stories – Connie Willis. Kind of says it all in the title, but what I particularly enjoyed about this collection were the afterwards she wrote for each story, pulling back the curtain a bit for the reader.
8. SAGA. – Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. Rich storytelling, brilliant artwork, and a willingness to push every button possible make SAGA unmissable each month.
7. The Twelve-Fingered Boy – John Hornor Jacobs. Strange, dangerous powers roiling in damaged adolescent boys is a hell of a starting point for this new YA series.
6. Locke and Key vol. 6, Omega and Alpha – Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. The magnificent symphony of fantasy writing and art Hill and Rodriguez have been performing since 2007 is coming to a stunning close, and it’s been glorious to watch.
5. The Lives of Tao and The Deaths of Tao – Wesley Chu. I read Lives near the beginning of the year and Deaths near the end, and both are so loaded with action and great characters, I had to include both.
4. The Shining Girls – Lauren Beukes. A serial killer who travels through time, being pursued by one of his victims. Beukes’s book practically begs to be read with a premise like that, and her talents as a writer are more than up to the task of exceeding the promise of the concept.
3. Under the Empyrean Sky – Chuck Wendig. Cornpunk YA stuffed to bursting with honest to god young adults, Wendig’s doing everything a great dystopian story should excel at.
2. NOS4A2 – Joe Hill. It’s thickness makes the word “distilled” an odd choice, but this is everything Hill does well, boiled down to it’s richest possible permutation.
1. Country Hardball – Steve Weddle. Hands down the best book I read this year.