top books

top books

this is a gallery of champions. these books have won the coveted title of "books jude liked a lot from this past calendar year." like the Newberry Award, but for a really weird type of adult.

not all of the winners were published in the listed year, because the committee reserves the right to disregard the linear nature of time. they're also listed alphabetically by title, because ranking things is not my thing.


All the Living and the Dead by Hayley Campbell
did you know that the guy who plays the harmonica in the theme for the The Sopranos also makes death masks? now you do!
i read this collection in a single sitting and sat up for hours furious about how good it was.
The Beast You Are by Paul Tremblay
Brainwyrms by Alison Rumfitt
one thing Alison Rumfitt is gonna do is publish the most gorgeously fucked up works of horror in any given year.
Ohio is a rotten place.
The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock
Doppleganger by Naomi Klein
Klein literally never misses.
can someone please slide this book into Martin Scorsese's mailbox? i just think it would be a really good one for him to adapt...
A Fever in the Heartland by Timothy Egan
Some Desperate Glory by Emily Tesh
an incredible space adventure that breaks your heart over and over.
impossible to forget or recommend.
Tender Is the Flesh by Augustina Bazterrica
A Tiny Upward Shove by Melissa Chadburn
it made me cry and grieve for people i've never known.
the system was the monster all along.
We Were Once a Family by Roxanna Asgarian


Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence by R.F. Kuang
this book creates a world that is both lush and brutal, and it broke my heart. it also offers a fantastic look into the way language and colonialism shape our world.
this book captures the feel of early Stephen King novels in the best possible way.
A Child Alone with Strangers by Philip Fracassi
The Facemaker by Lindsey Fitzharris
a fascinating deep dive into a period of history that i wasn't familiar with.
this is a great text to start learning about the history of the labor movement in the United States.
Fight Like Hell by Kim Kelly
Missing From the Village by Justin Ling
unwinds the case of a serial killer that everyone with power ignored.
beautiful and sad. it also reinforced my deep mistrust of the ocean.
Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield
Red X by David Demchuk
a truly scary book that pairs well with the Missing From the Village.
a book that is equal parts infuriating and heartbreaking. also, Alex Jones and all his apologists can eat shit.
Sandy Hook by Elizabeth Williamson
Scoundrel by Sarah Weinman
another exemplary piece of crime writing from Weinman.
one of the most gorgeously fucked up books i've ever read.
Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke by Eric LaRocca