This year my Top Ten favorite reads were:
Severance by Ling Ma
Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin
The Feral Detective by Jonathan Lethem
All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
Every Anxious Wave by Mo Daviau
Tangerine by Christine Mangan
November Road by Lou Berney
Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller
The Third Hotel by Laura Van Den Berg
The Italian Party by Christina Lynch
I first undertook this internet challenge with some friends way back in 2008, and since then I have read 598 books, or an average of 54 a year. I didn't make it in 2013 and 2014, being a span of time when both my kids got married and a grandson was born, and I read an astounding 81 books last year, because obviously it was 2017.
I grabbed the top from every year, and some others I didn't rank as highly but have stayed with me over time; that initial list was 20, and here are the Top Ten.
I'm too close to this year's batch, but I think Severance might be there somewhere in the long haul.
The first two I have recommended to everyone, and in fact when I shot my debut feature film The Girl in the Crawlspace earlier this year, they were two of the books I gave to my lead actors as a thak you for their roles. The next two were also a heavy influence on my movie, as a character reads them during the action.
I had to include The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as it started my now ten-year love of Scandinavian crime fiction (as well, I suspect, as quite a few other people).
The others I would just say were mindblowers in some way that sent my thinking in different directions.
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
Night Film by Marisha Pessl
Stars In My Pocket Like Grains of Sand by Samuel R. Delany
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin
Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
The City and The City by China Mieville
Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Here are the next five that I had to think hard about before excluding:
Lunar Park by Brett Easton Ellis
Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
The Transmigration of Bodies by Yuri Herrera
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
Embassytown by China Mieville
Maybe this list would be slightly different if I did it again tomorrow, but maybe not.
A couple of times I have picked goals for the year; once I read a year of all women writers and once I did a year of people of color or people in translation. If I have a goal for this coming year, I think it will be read harder and smarter; we shall see. I hope you see something here you'd like to read!