DPL Favorites of 2019

As we come to the close of 2019, our gift to you is our favorite reads from this year! This is not your typical "best of" list, but rather a gathering of reads that resonated with our staff in 2019, we hope that some may appeal to you, too! Look for our favorite nonfiction soon!

General fiction and short stories:

Hana: Sabrina & Corina: Stories by Kali Fajardo-Anstine (2019)
A debut collection of short stories that brings us the lives of Latinas working through change, violence, love, and family while capturing and preserving the beauty of a changing Denver.

Annie N: Heads of the Colored People: Stories by Nafissa Thompson-Spires (2018)
This collection of moving, timely, and darkly funny stories examines the concept of black identity in our so-called post-racial era; some stories are darkly humorous--while others are devastatingly poignant.

Nancy: Lanny by Max Porter (2019)
Amazingly creative, wild, and wonderful.

Daryl: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (2019)
This debut novel is a heartfelt letter written from a son to his mom who cannot read, the author reveals his immigrant experiences in gorgeous writing.

Amy E: The Overstory by Richard Powers (2018)
Gorgeous story of nine peoples’ lives that intertwine thanks to trees.

Stacey W.: Mouthful of Birds: Stories by Samanta Schweblin (2010 (Spanish), English translation 2019).
A teenage daughter subsists by eating live birds, a woman experiences pregnancy in reverse, an artist creates paintings from acts of violence: these beautifully written stories are surreal and unsettling.

Dana F.: The Reason You’re Alive by Matthew Quick (2017)
A story of the importance of actions and words, forgiveness and tolerance, and deeply examining people.

Lainie: Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann (2019)
This hefty, timely, bitingly funny read that follows the inner monologue of one Ohio housewife will probably alter the very structure of your thoughts -- and spur you to read any- and everything Ellmann has written throughout her decades-in-the-making career.

Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction:

Kristen A.: The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson (2019)
A mystical, mythical, and frequently harrowing quest for liberation when Christians were overtaking the last Muslim kingdom in Andalusia (now part of Spain).

Claire: Middlegame by Seanan McGuire (2019)
Twins with a curious past get totally entangled in a challenging and intelligent alchemical tale.

Claire: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (2013)
A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral when memories of his remarkable and unimaginable past suddenly start to return.

Amanie: Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor (2008)
Zahrah has special powers and decides to venture into a magical forbidden forest to try to save her best friend, and during the process she comes across sarcastic frogs, wise plants, and comes to learn more about herself and the world around her.

Becker: This is How You Lose the Time War by Amai El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (2019)
A taunting correspondence between rivals turns into something more in this wildly creative, beautifully written short novel.

Desiree: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (2019)
Based in Mayan folklore, this title follows Casiopea and the god of death she unwittingly frees from a chest found locked in her grandfather’s room, Hun Kam--jazz era Mexico comes alive in this new spin on the Popol Vuh.

Brian J: The Iron Codex by David Mack (2019)
Demons, former Nazis, Nazis coming back from Hell, and a potential demonic nuclear apocalypse combine to give a cold war thriller a whole new twist.


Written by Becker on December 5, 2019


Carol Edwards on December 6, 2019


Great list. Just finished Unnatural Magic by CM Waggoner and found it to be a wonderful romp in a well imagined universe.

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