The books that cowered in fear with me in 2020

from Stoke by Sam Wade

My highest recommendations, in a nutshell:


Other years


Always Coming Home by Ursula K. Le Guin and Margaret Chodos-Irvine

by Margaret Chodos-Irvine, from the book
by Margaret Chodos-Irvine, from the book

Xenogenesis/Lilith’s Brood series (Dawn, Adulthood Rites, Imago) by Octavia E. Butler

from a cover of Adulthood Rites

Exhalation by Ted Chiang

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

Olive Kittredge by Elizabeth Strout

Missing Person by Patrick Modiani


Guts by Raina Telgemeier

Twins by Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright

Stepping Stones by Lucy Knisley

Stoke by Sam Wade

Did You See Me? By Sophia Foster-Dimino

Making Comics by Lynda Barry

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Leaving Richard’s Valley by Michael DeForge

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

Daytripper by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá

Vagrant Queen vol. 1 by Magdelene Visaggio and Jason Smith

Little Bird by Darcy Van Poelgeest, Ian Bertram, and Matt Hollingsworth

Monstress vol 3 by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

Hinges Book One: Clockwork City by Meredith McClaren

Immortal Hulk vol. 1 by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, Ruy José and others

Uncanny X-Force vol. 1 by Rick Remender, Robbi Rodriguez and others

Children’s books

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Anastasia series (Anastasia Krupnik, Anastasia Again!, Anastasia at Your Service, Anastasia Ask Your Analyst, Anastasia on Her Own, Anastasia Has the Answers, Anastasia’s Chosen Career, Anastasia at This Address, Anastasia Absolutely) by Lois Lowry

The House with the Clock in its Walls, The Figure in the Shadows, The Letter, the Witch and the Ring, and The Ghost in the Mirror, by John Bellairs and Brad Strickland

Fablehaven series (Fablehaven, Rise of the Evening Star, Grip of the Shadow Plague, Secret of the Dragon Sanctuary, and Keys to the Demon Prison) by Brandon Mull

Who is Bugs Potter? by Gordon Korman

Blackbriar by William Sleator

Max Einstein: The Genius Experiment by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein


Three Fat Sisters by Morgan Gould

Everybody Black by David Harris

Golden Shield by Anchuli Felicia King

Photo by Jeff Busby


Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

I love the 60s throwback cover design

Pandolfini’s Ultimate Guide to Chess, by Bruce Pandolfini

Bruce Pandolfini

Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations and Games by Lazlo Polgár

The Polgár girls with their father László in 1989. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell

Hunger Makes me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein

I’m not sure who took this photo; source here

Dreams of Earth and Sky by Freeman Dyson

Photo/illustration by Imke Lass/Redux and Marc Yankus

Mind Over Matter by K.C. Cole

The Knowledge Gap by Natalie Wexler

What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know, edited by E. D. Hirsch Jr.

Independent programmer, chatterbox.