Best Books and Comics of 2020 (so far)

Here’s a list of my 5 favorite books and 5 favorite comics that have been published in 2020, so far. I’ve started creating a Goodreads shelf every year to track my best books of the year, so I can stay on top of it, lest I have to sift through all of them at the end of the year. You can see my full list by looking at my shelf. I hope you find time to check some of them out yourself.

Books

Weather – Jenny Offill

This was a very unique reading experience. The style of the book lives somewhere at the intersection of slice-of-life and stream-of-consciousness. Rather than build its narrative on extended scenes, it relies on short passages, sometimes only a few sentences, that come at a breakneck pace. It’s an interesting way to get a feel for a character and what motivates them.

The Lost Future of Pepperharrow – Natasha Pulley

The latest book from Natasha Pulley and the second entry in the Watchmaker of Filigree Street series is another Victorian dose of magical realism. I enjoyed returning to these characters and Pulley has quickly become one of my favorites.

Providence – Max Barry

This was my first Max Barry book, but it won’t be my last. This sci-fi novel was the best take on space I’ve read in a while. Reading it gave me the same feel as The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey, one of my favorites. It’s as much character study as space adventure.

The King at the Edge of the World – Arthur Phillips

Sometimes it’s good to get outside your comfort zone. The description of this one, a turn of the 17th century palace intrigue tale about a Muslim physician turned spy, isn’t something you’d usually find on my shelf, but sometimes that’s where you can find new favorites. I found myself drawn to the outsider narrative here.

Fight of the Century – Various (edited by Michael Chabon & Ayelet Waldman)

I picked this one up when I saw it was edited in part by Michael Chabon, one of my favorite authors. The list of contributors is star-studded, including  Jacqueline Woodson, Neil Gaiman, Marlon James, and many more. Each author writes about an ACLU case that’s important to them and you get a scope for just how important the institution has been over its first century of existence.

Comics

The Fire Never Goes Out – Noelle Stevenson

This graphic memoir from Noelle Stevenson tracks her life from 2011 to 2020. It’s delightful to watch her transformation from Tumblr star to Netflix show-runner. The writing and illustrations remind just why she’s made it so far and touch on themes equal parts heavy and hilarious.

Harleen – Stjepan Šejić

I’m not a big Harley Quinn fan. She sits in the same zone as Deadpool for me, which is to say I find her gimmicky and haven’t been able to get on board. Yet Stjepan Šejić has found a way to re-tell her origin in a way that resonated with me by treating her as a person, first-and-foremost.

CITY Volume 7 – Keiichi Arawi

I don’t have a lot to say about CITY, other than it’s one of my favorite regularly running series. It’s a gag-manga from the creator of Nichijou and it’s an absolute blast if you get the humor. If you like comedy books, please give this series a try.

I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf – Grant Snider

This collection of works from New York Times illustrator Grant Snider is all about the passion of books. The strips touch on collecting, reading, writing, and everything in-between. Book lovers will find themselves associating with any number of Snider’s creations. I found myself laughing out loud at one Haruki Murakami themed strip, in particular.

Pretty Deadly Volume 3 – Kelly Sue DeConnick & Emma Rios

DeConnick and Rios return to the world of Pretty Deadly 4 years after the last volume was published. The writing is superb, a mythos about Death woven into 1930’s Hollywood. The artwork from Rios (with Jordie Bellaire on colors) is truly stunning. There is more Pretty Deadly promised for the future and my only hope is that the wait isn’t so long next time!

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