I think one of the most difficult things about working in publishing and loving books... is working in publishing and loving books.
Between going to BEA, Comic Con, and having publicity friends send me books they are excited about, a lot of great reads float across my desk at work and sit on my nightstand at home. And then there are those Amazon Kindle deals! I buy way too many of those, and my Kindle is packed.
These ten however, were my absolute favorites this year. If you don't have them on your to-read shelf on Goodreads or in your Amazon wishlist, get on that. These are great.
Sailor Twain: Or The Mermaid In The Hudson by Mark Siegel: I noticed this book at New York Comic Con this year, and I'm still kicking myself for not meeting the author. I was immediately drawn to the cover and the fact that it promised a book full of literary references.
Beautifully illustrated with charcoal pencil and accompanied by a sweeping tale of romance and fantasy... all set on a steamboat in the Hudson? It's rare to find a graphic novel that has writing that's as beautiful as the art. And this is one of them.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: Okay okay, The Night Circus came out last year, but I only got around to reading it earlier this year. And hey, it came out in paperback this year. So it counts. Problem? Fight me.
I honestly picked up The Night Circus looking for another great YA read while researching for my own book... and was surprised to find a book that was clearly more adult. A dark romance set in a magical setting, The Night Circus is one of those books that is hard to describe. You really just need to read it. Like, immediately.
Also, the author is an absolute sweetheart. Follow her on Twitter at @erinmorgenstern.
Amped by Daniel H. Wilson: I was shocked that Amped didn't get more attention.
Written by Daniel H. Wilson, the author of Robopocolypse (one of my favorite reads of last year), Amped tells a thrilling story of human augmentation. When cybernetics can help disabled humans become 'normal', and consequently more intelligent than the average citizen, the government takes away their civil rights.
An uprising and war occurs, and the main character caught in the middle of it all, happens to be more powerfully augmented than any other human. The result? A book I couldn't put down. I tore through this in a few days, and loved it so so much.
This should have been as big a smash as Robopocolypse. Shame that it wasn't. Pick it up, you'll love it.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: I didn't discover the joys of John Green until last year, when I started working with Ransom Riggs at Quirk. I rambled about the book on the Quirk blog, and I have to feature it here in my list as well.
Because The Fault in Our Stars made me cry ALL the tears. All of them.
Two lovable characters caught up in a romance you know is going end tragically, peppered with literary references, and a wonderful story that you just can't turn away from... this was my favorite YA book of the year. I've subsequently ordered more of John Green's books, and love them all terribly.
My Heart Is An Idiot by Davy Rothbart: There's a saying about not judging a book by its cover. This book? I bought it solely on the cover. Because really, how many of us have said this to ourselves at some point? ALL OF YOU, THAT'S WHO.
A hilarious collection of wonderful essays, Rothbart doesn't stop with the laughs and heartache. Check it out.
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan: Did you know the cover glows in the dark? IT GLOWS IN THE DARK! I had no idea until my coworker pointed it out to me. Awesome.
I heard rumblings about this book through friends and publishing colleagues, but it wasn't until a book blogger I follow, Swapna, refered to it as "Ready Player One with books" that I picked it up immediately. Because Cline's book was my favorite read of last year. Also, Swapna always knows what she's talking about it. Check out her blog here.
As for the book itself... it is basically Ready Player One in a bookstore. Get it. You're welcome.
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman: I had this great moment explaining this book to a coworker, Jane, who immediately gave me one hell of a disapproving look. "It's about a girl who is half dragon and there is this prince, and this castle..." I was not selling it well.
A wonderful fantasy about a girl who doesn't quite fit in (you know, cause of that dragon thing), with dragons who transform into people to interact with us, Seraphina was just wonderfully engaging. Hartman brought new life to dragons in fantasy books, with their attempts to be human and understand art, and I just can't wait for the next one in the series.
Black Hole Sun and Invisible Sun by David Macinnis Gill: Earlier this year, I picked up Black Hole Sun as a $1.99 deal on the Kindle. I love me some cheap YA, and couldn't resist the book description. Plus, a quote from Suzanne Collins? SOLD!
I was shocked to discover a book I absolutely adored. Chock full of pop culture references, the book read like a Young Adult novelization of Firefly. A Western set on Mars, characters who speak a number of languages? It filled the Firefly shaped hole in my heart, and I loved every minute of it.
And surprise! The second book in the series was on its way. Brilliant sales tactic, Greenwillow. I preordered it and tore through the book.
Bottom line. It's a space western. On Mars. With super sarcastic characters and a corrupt government. It's hilarious and thrilling. You'll love the series. This counts as one pick, as Black Hole Sun came out in 2010.
And speaking of, I already have Shadow on the Sun pre-ordered. It's due out in March of 2013. Hurry up Greenwillow Books! I need this in my life yesterday.
Fair Coin and Quantum Coin by E.C. Myers: A publicity friend of mine sent Fair Coin my way, and I was shocked to find out the author lived here in Philadelphia! I devoured the book and adored it. The story of a kid, a mysterious wish granting coin, and the dire consequences of what happens afterwards, Myers' Coin series is pretty damn riveting, and makes for a great YA read.
Fun Fact: I'd eventually meet Myers in a writing group at the local Barnes & Noble, and I nerded out a little bit. He found that amusing, and these days we are pals. I tell people to read his books every chance I get. Including now.
This counts as two picks, since both books came out this year. Order them together. Once you finish Fair Coin, you'll be hungry for the second.
BONUS PICK: The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters: Alright alright, I'm including this at the end because I'm pretty sure it's a faux paux to ramble about a book you worked on as a favorite read. I'm the marketing guy, helped make the website, etc.
But real talk? I adore this book.
There's no other book like this out there. A police procedural set at the end of the world? So awesome. And Ben just writes incredible characters and really knows how to flesh out a believable, complicated world.
Check out the book, and follow Ben on Twitter. He's a wonderful guy, and I love working with him.