My Reading List for 2021

I have written a bit about how odd 2021 was, and that oddness crept into my reading. It’s not uncommon for me to read forty-ish books a year, and I once again passed my goal. But along with novels, I generally read some comics and short stories. Yet, this year I didn’t. Was it a lack of interest? New projects filling that time? The weirdness of the waning pandemic? Not sure! Whatever it was, for 2021, both those sections will be empty.

All that said, I had a great experience reading through the year. On the whole, I enjoyed my reading more in 2021 than last. There were a lot of new finds, I rarely came across a book I couldn’t stand, and I discovered some new favorites. That’s a win.

This list correlates with my Goodreads 2020 Reading Challenge. But there are usually some slight differences between the two. This list is all strictly reading for pleasure—I typically forgo listing any research/history books I’ve read for a project as I read those differently than I do fiction. This list is always enormous, so l skip reviews except for my favorites. However, I’d invite you to follow me on Goodreads, where I occasionally leave other reviews.

Most links will go to IndieBound—now more than ever, be sure to support your local bookstore. If possible, I am directly linking to each author’s website—if you’re on the list and I didn’t find your website, please let me know about it. (I won’t link to social media, sorry.)

Okay, to the list!


📚 Novels & Novellas

  1. Cibola Burn (The Expanse #4)
    by James S. A. Corey
  2. Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries #3)
    by Martha Wells
  3. Ring Shout
    by P. Djèlí Clark
  4. The City We Became (The Great Cities #1)
    by N. K. Jemisin
  5. Planet of Exile
    by Ursula K. Le Guin
  6. A Killing Fire
    by Faye Snowden
  7. The Beauty
    by Aliya Whiteley
  8. The Hospital Ship
    by Martin Bax
  9. We Ride the Storm
    by Devin Madson
  10. A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century 🎧
    by Barbara W. Tuchman
  11. The Resisters: A Novel
    by Gish Jen
  12. A Demon-Haunted Land:
    Witches, Wonder Doctors, And The Ghosts Of The Past In Post–WWII Germany 🎧
    by Monica Black
  13. The Ruins
    by Scott Smith
  14. Merkabah Rider: High Planes Drifter
    by Edward M. Erdelac
  15. Whispers in the Dark
    by Laurel Hightower
  16. We Are Legion (We Are Bob) (Bobiverse #1)
    by Dennis E. Taylor
  17. Criterium
    by Tyler Jones
  18. The Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge #1) 🎧
    by Ken Follett
  19. The City of Ice (Gates of the World #2)
    by K. M. McKinley
  20. Foundryside (The Founders #1)
    by Robert Jackson Bennett
  21. The Republic Thieves (Gentleman Bastard #3)
    by Scott Lynch
  22. The Talisman (The Talisman #1) 🎧
    by Stephen King & Peter Straub
  23. A Man of Shadows (Nyquist Mysteries #1)
    by Jeff Noon
  24. The Blacktongue Thief (Blacktongue #1)
    by Christopher Buehlman
  25. The City in the Middle of the Night
    by Charlie Jane Anders
  26. Territory 🎧
    by Emma Bull
  27. Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries #3)
    by Martha Wells
  28. A Ritual of Bone (The Dead Sagas #1)
    by Lee C. Conley
  29. Inside Man (Prosper’s Demon #2)
    by K. J. Parker
  30. Arm of the Sphinx (The Books of Babel #2)
    by Josiah Bancroft
  31. Wolf Hall (Wolf Hall Trilogy #1)
    by Hillary Mantel
  32. The Goblin Emperor (The Goblin Emperor #1)
    by Katherine Addison
  33. Cabal
    by Clive Barker
  34. The Boatman’s Daughter
    by Andy Davidson
  35. Slewfoot: A Tale of Bewitchery 🎧
    by Brom
  36. Slow River
    by Nicola Griffith
  37. Kim
    by Rudyard Kipling
  38. Revival 🎧
    by Stephen King
  39. Paradise Club
    by Tim Meyer
  40. Monstrous Heart (The Deepwater Trilogy #1)
    by Claire McKenna
  41. Subject 11
    by Jeffery Thomas
  42. City of Illusions (The Hamish Cycle #3)
    by Ursula K. Le Guin
  43. Summer Knight (The Dresden Files #4)
    by Jim Butcher
  44. The Autumn Republic (Powder Mage #3) 🎧
    by Brian McClellan
  45. The Sunless Countries (Virga #4)
    by Karl Schroeder

🏆 Favorite Novel of 2021

The Blacktongue Thief

by Christopher Buehlman

I was already a fan of Buehlman’s from his horror work. So when I heard he was writing a fantasy series I got excited. I couldn’t be happier with the result. The Blacktongue Thief worked very well for me. It is crass and funny while it remains true to its fantasy roots it explores new and wonderfully weird ideas. It’s thoroughly refreshing and has become one of my favorite fantasy novels as a result. I eagerly await the sequel.


🏅 Favorite Novel Runners-up of 2021

Monstrous Heart

by Claire McKenna

I love a book whose genre is difficult to pin down. (Surprise surprise.) Monstrous Heart’s got weird steampunk tech, in an alt-history world with blood magic, weird eugenics cults, warring magic families, and murder mysteries in a creepy Innsmouthian town. Combined with some beautiful prose, McKenna has built a world as fascinating as it is stunning. I was enthralled from start to finish.


The Beauty

by Alita Whiteley

This was recommended by M. R. Carey during our panel for TBR Con earlier this year and I’m glad I picked it up. The Beauty is a dark thought-provoking heart-of-mankind story about history, myth, and the stories we tell all set in a future world without women. It’s a bit of an allegory which isn’t something I typically enjoy, but it works well here and the story stuck with me. A small but powerful novel that is very much worth your time.


🎈 Honorable Mentions of 2021

It was tough to pick the top three novels, but I force myself to do it. But, I read so many good books this year and wanted to call out a few more of the standouts. I’ve listed them in order of reading.


💥 Graphic Novels & 📜 Short Stories

As I mentioned above, I fell short in these two categories. I read no short stories and only read one graphic novel this year (Preacher Book IV), so there won’t be 2021 lists for either category. That said, my graphic novel TBR pile is growing, and I have some new subscriptions to some speculative fiction magazines, which will expand my short story reading.

I look forward to returning to both of these categories in 2022.


🎭 Poems

Poetry is still here! It’s hard for me to keep track of poetry because I read it often and my brain doesn’t always record it. But I read some standout poems over 2021 and I wanted to share a few with you Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb” is stunning and uplifting, Wendle Berry’s “Enemies” is thoughtful and beautiful, and I revisited an old favorite of mine Yeats’ “The Second Coming.”

  1. “Burning the Old Year”
    by Naomi Shihab Nye
  2. “I Ask My Mother to Sing”
    by Li-Young Lee
  3. “The Hill We Climb”
    by Amanda Gorman
  4. “Enemies”
    by Wendell Berry
  5. “Frederick Douglass”
    by Robert Hayden
  6. “Strange Balance”
    by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
  7. “For the Anniversary of My Death”
    by W. S. Merwin
  8. “The End”
    by Mark Strand
  9. “Good Bones” …again.
    by Maggie Smith
  10. “Sorrow Home”
    by Margaret Walker
  11. “What my 11 year old said when I was crying that day”
    by Tetyana Denford
  12. “Birdwatching”
    by Lynn Ungar
  13. “Here’s A Nut”
    by Louisa May Alcott
  14. “The Second Coming” …again.
    by William Butler Yeats
  15. “Down Jacket God”
    by Moon Bo Young
  16. “December”
    by Matthew Zapruder
  17. “A Penitent Considers Another Coming of Mary”
    by Gwendolyn Brooks
  18. “Butter”
    by Elizabeth Alexander
  19. “i am running into a new year”
    by Lucille Clifton
  20. “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”
    by Robert Frost

Thus complete’s my reading list for 2021. I’m not going to miss this year. Between the chaos of its beginning to the slow return to whatever constitutes as normal, I think we will all be glad to see it go. But this odd year allowed me to consume a solid chunk of books, and overall the books I read were enjoyable. When it comes to my reading, I have few complaints. I’m ready to start some new reads that’ll begin my list for next year, and I look forward to diving back into graphic novels and short stories. I think my reading year in 2022 will be excellent.

How about you? What were the standout books, graphic novels, short stories, or poems you read this year? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment and let me know!


Are you looking for a good book? Want to see my reading lists from previous years? Check any of the links below and see what I was reading in the bygone days of yore.

 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017 •
201820192020

Next year, why not join me? Goodreads does a reading challenge every year, and I am an active participant. First, follow me on Goodreads (leave me a review while you’re there), and once the New Year arrives, participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2022.


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. Alexander

Want to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

Three Great Horror Reads for Halloween 2021

I can’t remember the last time it hasn’t rained on Halloween in Seattle. But right now it’s cold and crisp and the sky is clear and the sun is out. It’s a pretty incredible fall day. Should be good weather for tonight’s trick-or-treaters. But we’re not here to talk about Seattle weather, we’re here to talk horror books! It’s now become a tradition for me to recommend three horror novels to spook up your Halloween season.

This is the third year I’ve done this, if you want to see my previous recommendations check out my selections from 2019 or from 2020. All the links below will go to IndieBound (Support your local indie book store!), and author links will go to their website or blog.

So, what are my choices for this year? Well, I am glad you asked…


Whispers in the Dark

by Laurel Hightower

What begins as a police procedural quickly reveals itself to be much more. Part ghost story, part urban fantasy, yet somehow grounded in a pulse-pounding realism. An engaging tale that subverts standard tropes while also exploring the ramifications of abuse and how the echoes of its trauma that can extend through generations. After finishing I immediately went and picked up Hightower’s latest novel, Crossroads.


The Beauty

by Aliya Whiteley

This was recommended by M. R. Carey during our panel for TBR Con earlier this year and I’m glad I picked it up. The Beauty is a dark thought-provoking heart-of-mankind story about history, myth, and the stories we tell all set in a future world without women. It’s a bit of an allegory which isn’t something I typically enjoy, but it works well here and the story told stuck with me for months. A small but powerful novel that is very much worth your time.


The Worm and His Kings

by Hailey Piper

This novella landed late last year and I was glad I gave it some attention. Set in New York in the 90s when the Freedom Tunnel was an underground homeless encampment Piper weaves a unique cosmic horror story that explores gender identity, personal relationships, and poverty. A fresh and welcome voice that both brings something new to the genre and still sits solidly within the cosmic horror tradition.


So there are three more great horror novels for this year. If you’re looking at spooking up your Fall, I recommend checking one of them out. Now, how about you? What are your favorite horror novels from the last few years? Leave a comment below and let everyone know!


Want to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information. Sign Up Today →

My Reading List for 2020

My Reading List for 2020

It’s no secret 2020 has been a challenging year. While upon reflection, I found it to be surprisingly full, like many of us, I still spent the majority of my time at home. One benefit of our new socially-distant stay-at-home culture was the amount of reading I managed to accomplish. Just like previous years, I’ve compiled a list of the books I’ve read over the last three hundred and sixty-six days, and as always, I want to share them with everyone.

This year was hit-or-miss for me reading-wise. There were books I loved and many books I ended up loathing. I found books I know I will re-read and proselytize, but they were often mirrored by other books I hate-read. I also found myself reading a few histories for pleasure, not something I normally do, and I dipped into science fiction much more than in previous years. Audiobooks (🎧) used to be the mainstay of my daily commute, and this year they became the soundtrack to housework. Not a bad tradeoff. Oh, and as always, I beta-read a couple of great books, and I’m excited to see where those go in the future.

This list correlates with my Goodreads 2020 Reading Challenge, but it always includes a few extra since Goodreads doesn’t let me count beta reading, and I don’t list comics or short stories or poetry (new this year!) over there. Remember, this is all strictly reading for pleasure—I typically forgo listing any research/history books I’ve read for a project as I read those differently than I do fiction. This list is always enormous, so l skip reviews except for my favorites in each category. However, I’d invite you to follow me on Goodreads, where I occasionally leave other reviews.

New for this year: with a few exceptions, most links now go to IndieBound instead of Amazon—2020 has been rough on small businesses, and now more than ever, be sure to support your local bookstore. When possible, I am now linking to each author’s personal website—if you’re on the list and I didn’t find your website, please let me know about it. (I won’t link to social media, sorry.)


📚 Novels & Novellas

  1. Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World #1)
    by Rebecca Roanhorse
  2. Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb #1)
    by Tamsyn Muir
  3. City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1)
    by Cassandra Clare
  4. Prosper’s Demon
    by K.J. Parker
  5. The Crimson Campaign (The Powder Mage Trilogy #2) 🎧
    by Brian McClellan
  6. Jade War (Green Bone Saga #2)
    by Fonda Lee
  7. Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries #2)
    by Martha Wells
  8. Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland 🎧
    by Patrick Radden Keefe
  9. The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War 🎧
    by Joanne B. Freeman
  10. They Mostly Come Out at Night (Yarnsworld, #1) (Link goes to Amazon)
    by Benedict Patrick
  11. Frank on a Gun-Boat
    by Harry Castlemon
  12. A Head Full of Ghosts
    by Paul Tremblay
  13. On Basilisk Station (Honor Harrington, #1)
    by David Weber
  14. The Reign of the Kingfisher 🎧
    by T.J. Martinson
  15. RADIO
    by J. Rushing
  16. Neuromancer (Sprawl, #1)
    by William Gibson
  17. The Fireman 🎧
    by Joe Hill
  18. The Cipher
    by Kathe Koja
  19. The Mist
    by Stephen King
  20. Control Point (Shadow Ops #1)
    by Myke Cole
  21. Blood Standard (Isaiah Coleridge #1)
    by Laird Barron
  22. City of Miracles (The Divine Cities #3)
    by Robert Jackson Bennett
  23. The Iron Ship (The Gates of the World #1)
    by K.M. McKinley
  24. Vita Nostra (Metamorphosis Cycle #1) 🎧
    by Sergey & Marina Dyachenko
  25. Thieftaker (The Thieftaker Chronicles #1)
    by D. B. Jackson
  26. BETA READING (Literature)
    by REDACTED
  27. Circe
    by Madeline Miller
  28. Terrier (The Legend of Beka Cooper #1)
    by Tamora Pierce
  29. Red Storm Rising 🎧…. again.
    by Tom Clancy
  30. The Only Good Indians
    by Stephen Graham Jones
  31. Clutter: An Untidy History
    by Jennifer Howard
  32. The Half Killed
    by Quenby Olson
  33. The Toll
    by Cherie Priest
  34. Jurassic Park …again.
    by Michael Crichton
  35. Seveneves  🎧
    by Neil Stephenson
  36. Night of the Mannequins
    by Stephen Graham Jones
  37. In the Valley of the Sun
    by Andy Davidson
  38. Foundation (Foundation #1)
    by Issac Asimov
  39. Consider Phlebas (Culture #1) 🎧
    by Iain M. Banks
  40. BETA READING (Historical Horror)
    by REDACTED
  41. The Worm and His Kings
    by Hailey Piper
  42. Wake of Vultures
    by Lila Bowen
  43. Metro 2033 🎧
    by Dmitry Glukhovsky

🏆 Favorite Novel of 2020

In the Valley of the Sun

by Andy Davidson

This sun-baked vampire horror set in Texas unexpectedly became a new favorite. A surprisingly tense, character-focused narrative. Brutal. Anguished. Tormented. Bloody. Lyrical in ways that remind me of Cormac McCarthy without the weight. It’s not shy of confronting the cracked ugliness of humanity and finding the beauty between the fissures. Davidson is an incredible writer, and I immediately purchased his more recent novel after finishing In the Valley of the Sun. We need more horror like this.


🏅 Favorite Novel Runners-up of 2020

RADIO by J. Rushing

RADIO

by J. Rushing

A jazz-infused, opium-soaked, historical fantasy that explodes from the opening chapter and never relents until its final pages. A thoroughly fresh debut that’s unlike anything I’ve read before. Rushing brings his unique, well-researched world of 1920s Paris to life with a captivating voice. Don’t expect a saccharine overly-romantic version of Paris; this is a stained, broken, and bloody place—a welcome addition to modern fantasy literature. Jim’s a friend of mine, so be sure to read my interview with him.


City of Miracles

by Robert Jackson Bennett

In recent years, the Divine Cities have become one of my favorite urban fantasy series, mostly for its fresh approach to the genre, atypical characters, and serious exploration of themes oft-ignored within mainstream fantasy. With City of Miracles, Bennett wrapped up the trilogy with a heartbreaking yet thoroughly satisfying ending. This story is a bit tighter and more focused than the previous two while wrapping up various loose ends rather nicely. It’s rare to find a final book in a series that resonates with me as much as City of Miracles did—it’s easily my favorite book in the trilogy.


🎈 Honorable Mentions of 2020

I started doing Honorable Mentions in 2018 so I could highlight some of the other standout novels from my year of reading. Below you’ll find many more excellent books, I’ve listed them in order of reading.


📜 Short Stories

  1. An Inhabitant of Carcosa …again.
    by Ambrose Bierce
  2. And Now His Lordship is Laughing
    by Shiv Ramdas
  3. How the Trick is Done
    by A.C. Wise
  4. The Yellow Sign …again.
    by Robert W. Chambers
  5. Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the
    Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island

    by Nibedita Sen
  6. Give the Family My Love
    by A. T. Greenblatt
  7. The Dead, In Their Uncontrollable Power
    by Karen Osborne
  8. The Masque of the Red Death …again.
    by Edgar Allen Poe
  9. The Repairer of Reputations …again.
    by Robert W. Chambers
  10. Paper Menagerie
    by Ken Liu
  11. Seasons of Glass and Iron
    by Amal El-Mohtar
  12. Tideline
    by Elizabeth Bear

🏆 Favorite Short Stories of 2020

The Dead, In Their Uncontrollable Power

by Karen Osborne

Generation ship! Class struggle! Religious ritual! Rebellion! Murder! Control! The complexity told within this genre-mashup was astounding. Such a rich world crafted in a way that feels effortless while maintaining a rich narrative was impressive. It’s no secret I’m drawn to stories that are hard to pigeon-hole into a specific genre, and that is fully represented here. Well worth a read.


🏅 Favorite Short Story Runners-up

Paper Menagerie

by Ken Liu

This heartbreaking story about magical origami, cultural identity, and family was the first piece of fiction to win a Hugo, a Nebula, and a World Fantasy Award. And after reading it, it was easy to see why. Touching and reflective. A masterwork of speculative short fiction.


💥 Graphic Novels

  1. Preacher: Book One
    by Garth Ennis (Author) & Steve Dillon (Artist)
  2. Saga, Vol. 8
    by Brian K. Vaughan (Author) & Fiona Staples (Artist)
  3. Preacher: Book Two
    by Garth Ennis (Author) & Steve Dillon (Artist)
  4. Once & Future, Vol. 1
    by Kieron Gillen (Author), Tamra Bonvillain (Artist), & Dan Mora (Artist)
  5. American Vampire, Vol. 2
    by Scott Snyder (Author) & Rafael Albuquerque (Artist)
  6. Paper Girls, Vol. 2
    by Brian K. Vaughan (Author), Cliff Chiang (Artist)
  7. Preacher: Book Three
    by Garth Ennis (Author) & Steve Dillon (Artist)
  8. Die, Vol. 2
    by Kieron Gillen (Author) & Stephanie Hans (Artist)

🏆 Favorite Graphic Novel of 2020:

Preacher: Book One

by Garth Ennis (Author) & Steve Dillon (Artist)

I didn’t expect to like Preacher. I bounced off the series hard when I was younger, writing off Ennis as a “blasphemous shock jock” and nothing more. But revisiting it as a middle-aged adult revealed a different sort of comic. The offensive transgressive material is still there, but beneath it is something much more—a book with more heart and humanity than one would be able to judge by its surface and laced with merciless satire that still rings relevant twenty-five years later.


🏅 Favorite Graphic Novel Runner-up of 2020:

Paper Girls, Volume 2

by Brian K. Vaughan (Author), Cliff Chiang (Artist)

Volume 1 nearly made my runner-up list last year. On the surface, it’s a time-jumping story about a group of friends caught in the middle of a future war. But beneath those sci-fi trappings, there is so much more here. It’s a book about being a kid and the expectations therein, complications with friendship, and the complexities of growing up. The characters are fantastic, and the story moves along at a clip, making it impossible to put the trade down. I’m ready for volume 3.


🎭 Poems

So this year, I’m including some of the poems I read in 2020. I hinted at doing this last year. But this is really a trial run. In reality, I read more poems than listed below, but I didn’t do an outstanding job keeping track of them. Because this is the first time for poetry on this list, I’m going to skip picking a favorite. Hopefully, I’ll be back on track next year.

  1. Small Kindnesses
    by Danusha Laméris
  2. The Peace of Wild Things
    by Wendel Berry
  3. Beneath the Sweater and the Skin
    by Jeannette Encinias
  4. The Woods
    by Melanie Batista
  5. I Confess
    by Alison Luterman
  6. The Waste Land …again.
    by T. S. Eliot
  7. Near a Raven
    by Mike Keith
  8. Insha’Allah
    by Danusha Laméris
  9. We Lived Happily During the War …again.
    by Ilya Kaminsky
  10. Christmas Greetings to Felis …again
    by H. P. Lovecraft …again.
  11. Passing Solstice
    by Ken Hada
  12. Winter Solstice
    by Hilda Morley
  13. Childhood Memory from the Old Victorian House on Warner
    by Beth Cato
  14. Raw With Love
    by Charles Bukowski

So that’s my reading list for 2020. It’s been an interesting year in reading for me. As promised, we now have a poetry section, and I hope to expand that in the future. There are some great poems there, so be sure to explore them further. Despite my ups and downs, I’m overall quite happy with the books, stories, graphic novels, and poetry I read over the last twelve months. They were excellent distractions from the chaos of the year, and it was refreshing to lose myself in other worlds. 2020 will be behind us soon, and I am looking forward to the worlds I’ll discover in 2021.

How about you? What were the standout books, graphic novels, short stories, or poems you read this year? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment and let me know!


Are you looking for a good book? Want to see my reading lists from previous years? Check any of the links below and see what I was reading in the bygone days of old.

 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 20182019

Next year, why not join me? Goodreads does a reading challenge every year, and I am an active participant. First, follow me on Goodreads (leave me a review while you’re there), and once the New Year arrives, participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2021.


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. Alexander

Want to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

It's National Read A Book Day!

#NationalReadABookDay

Today is National Read A Book Day! (Slightly different from Book Lovers Day celebrated on August 9th, or World Book Day observed every April 23rd.) Yeah, it’s an unofficial holiday, but it’s a great excuse to ignore the news, avoid social media, and spend some quiet time reading a book. I’m currently reading Jen Howard’s Clutter: An Untidy History and Stephen Graham Jones’ The Only Good Indians and would recommend them both.

Need a book to read? Read one of mine! You can get physical copies pretty much anywhere, and ebook copies are available wherever people sell ebooks. To make it as easy as possible to nab one of my books, I’ve included direct links to purchase below, as well as handy links to sample chapters. With Gleam Upon the Waves coming soon, now is an excellent time to jump into the world of the territories.


Book I: The Stars Were Right

The Stars Were Right
📚 Paperbacks: Amazon Barnes & Noble Powell’s BAM!
📱 eBooks: Kindle  Kobo  Nook  iBooks  Google Play
📖 Click here to read the first chapter!

Book II: Old Broken Road

Old Broken Road
📚 Paperbacks: Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Powell’s  BAM!
📱 eBooks: Kindle  Kobo  Nook  iBooks  Google Play
📖 Click here to read the first chapter!

Book III: Red Litten World

Red Litten World
📚 Paperbacks: Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Powell’s  BAM!
📱 eBooks: Kindle  Kobo  Nook  iBooks  GooglePlay
📖 Click here to read the first chapter!

If you’re wanting to add to your TBR pile, the fine folks over at World Without End put together an incredible list that serves as a historical crash course of Black Science Fiction and Fantasy over the years. It’s an excellent resource and absolutely worth checking out.

Happy National Read A Book Day, everyone! Enjoy all your reading.


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

Three Great Horror Reads for Halloween 2019

Three Great Horror Reads for Halloween 2019

It’s Halloween today, the perfect time to curl up with a good scary story. I’ve been reading horror since I was a kid, and I wanted to share three of my favorites. Since I’ve read a lot of good horror, I figured it’d be best to limit myself to books I’ve read over the last few years. You can see my reading list for 2017 and 2018 here on my blog, and you can view my current list for 2019 over on Goodreads. So, what three did I choose? Why let me show you…


A Lush And Seething Hell by John Hornor JacobsA Lush And Seething Hell

by John Hornor Jacobs

I’ve just started into my reading of A Lush and Seething Hell, a book consisting of two masterful novellas of cosmic horror. The first, The Sea Dreams it was the Sky was one of my favorite books from last year [See my review here], and I’m finding myself falling into John’s beautiful and haunting prose all over again. Lyrical and evocative while remaining starkly human, I cannot wait to dive into the second story, My Heart Struck Sorrow. I’d also recommend John’s weird west series that begins with The Incorruptibles.

 


Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham JonesMapping the Interior

by Stephen Graham Jones

Jones is a modern master of horror and always approaches the genre in unique ways; Mapping the Interior is no exception. Told from 12-year old Junior’s perspective, the story is one part family-struggle and one part ghost-story all woven with a heartfelt earnestness that’s easy to believe and hard to shake. It’s a book about childhood, about family, about heritage, about legacy, and the cost and ramification of all four. The ending devastated me. I’d also recommend Jones’ Mongrels.

 


The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley JacksonThe Haunting of Hill House

by Shirley Jackson

A horror classic that I (oddly) hadn’t read until last year. This is the archetypical haunted house story that defined the genre for decades to come. You’ll recognize the tropes it established right immediately, but be drawn along by Jackson’s incredibly descriptive prose and the layer of uneasiness she weaves throughout. It’ll get under your skin, and you’ll see its fingerprints everywhere. I’d also recommend Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

 


So there are three of my favorite horror novels from the last several years. If you’re looking for something to read on a cozy and dark autumn night, you’d be hard-pressed to find better. What are your favorite horror novels from the last few years? Leave a comment below and let everyone know!

Have a safe and happy Halloween!


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Like My Books? Here Are Some Other Authors to Read...

Like My Books? Here Are a Few Recommendations…

I’m still hard at work on Gleam Upon the Waves, and while I’m making significant progress, I don’t have a specific timeline for release. So, if you’re a fan of my work and you’re looking for something to read in the interim that strikes a similar weird-fiction chord s, let me recommend a few of my favorite novels from a whole bunch of amazingly talented writers. In no particular order…


Cherie Priest

What to Read: Maplecroft & Chapelwood

Priest is a talented and multifaceted author who has written a great many books in a variety of genres. However, if you like books where heroes willingly fight against the madness of Lovecraftian monsters then I cannot recommend her series The Borden Dispatches enough—the first book is a solid new-mythos entry with great characters and a fascinating premise, but Priest really hits her stride in book two, Chapelwood, a humid deep-south foray into the mythos. Pick them both up and read ’em in order.


John Hornor JacobsThe Sea Dreams It Is the Sky by John Hornor Jacobs

What to Read: The Incorruptibles & The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky

Jacobs is well known among mythos enthusiasts for his 2011 novel, Southern Gods. But lately he’s stepped up his game; first, there’s his weird-west trilogy: The Incorruptibles, a combination of classic western, high-fantasy, and Roman mythology. His latest mythos novella The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky (one of my favorite books from last year) is an absolute masterpiece of modern cosmic horror—I can’t wait for the follow up: A Lush and Seething Hell.


China MiévilleThe Scar by China Miéville

What to Read: The Scar

If you like my strange city filled with a variety of even more unusual inhabitants, then you’ll love the steampunk-influenced world of New Crobuzon.  Miéville’s writing is evocative, his world rich and vibrant, his characters flawed yet relatable, and everything is weighted in a deep history that always leaves me in awe. While all three in the series are solid books and huge influences on me, my favorite is easily the middle novel, The Scar. A swashbuckling adventure that takes place in the mobile pirate-city of Armada.


Fonda LeeJade City by Fonda Lee

What to Read: Jade City

I discovered Lee’s work after sitting on a panel with her at OryCon in 2017. After hearing her talk about her urban fantasy wuxia novel, Jade City, I knew it would be something I enjoyed. I wasn’t wrong. The city is captivating, the worldbuilding fantastic, and Lee’s characters are grounded and flawed. There’s a lot here, and it’s worth exploring. If you like gritty cities and enjoy crime dramas, then I’d recommend you take some time and spend a few days in the streets of Janloon. (The sequel, Jade War is coming soon!)


Lost Gods by BromBrom

What to Read: Lost Gods: A Novel

My friend Brom is both an incredible artist and a fantastic writer. For me, his 2016 novel, Lost Gods, stands out. It’s a rich exploration into the bizarre and brutal world of Purgatory and the people, monsters, and strange creatures who live (and die) therein. It’s a vast story that mixes a variety of mythology and weaves a remarkable and splendid tapestry of broken and complex characters and has you cheering for an unlikely protagonist searching for a way home.


The Half-Made World by Felix GilmanFelix Gilman

What to Read: The Half-Made World

I love a good weird-west book, and there isn’t enough of them. The world of Gilman’s novel is stunning in its intricacies and feels vibrate and alive and offers up something unique and engaging that feels thoroughly fresh. I want more. There’s a lot of love: warring factions, a clash of cultures, an unlikely set of anti-heroes, and a surprising plot that feels as unique as it is enthralling. A rollicking gunsmoke-tinged romp that I found delightful.


There’s a wide variety in this list, everything from cosmic horror to steampunk to weird-west. I’m sure you’ll find something to enjoy. All the links go to Amazon, but if you can, I’d recommend asking for them at your local indie book store. Once finished, be sure to leave a review for other readers on Amazon and Goodreads and share your thoughts about the books. It’s a small but powerful way to help out an author and your fellow reader.

What about you? Do you have any reading recommendations for folks who enjoy my books? Leave a comment below and help others discover some of your favorite novels.

Happy reading!