Gretchen's Top 10

*Johnny Knoxville voice* "Hi, I'm Gretchen McKenzie, welcome to my Top 10 List!"

While making this list I noticed a few themes:

-Explosive endings
-Women-centered stories
-Vague malaise
-Periods of intense change

It prooooobably means nothing! I've been having a great year: no transitional periods here! :)

View other Top 10 Lists:
Dana - Jennifer - Gretchen - Chelsea - Bonny - Karan - Harrison

The First Cat in Space and the Soup of Doom By Mac Barnett, Shawn Harris (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Mac Barnett, Shawn Harris (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780063084117
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - October 3rd, 2023

#10: The First Cat in Space and the Soup of Doom

The much anticipated follow-up to The First Cat in Space Ate Pizza rocks.
These books are so good. I've read so so much this year and surprisingly the pacing, comedic timing, and writing of The First Cat surpasses a TON of adult fiction.
Want to read something fun? Look no further!!


Out There Screaming: An Anthology of New Black Horror By Jordan Peele (Editor), John Joseph Adams (Editor), Jordan Peele (Introduction by), N. K. Jemisin (Contributions by), Rebecca Roanhorse (Contributions by), Tananarive Due (Contributions by), Nnedi Okorafor (Contributions by) Cover Image
By Jordan Peele (Editor), John Joseph Adams (Editor), Jordan Peele (Introduction by), N. K. Jemisin (Contributions by), Rebecca Roanhorse (Contributions by), Tananarive Due (Contributions by), Nnedi Okorafor (Contributions by)
$30.00
ISBN: 9780593243794
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - October 3rd, 2023

#9: Out There Screaming

When I started this list, I was originally trying to avoid including short story collections (feels like cheating a little), but this and Never Whistle At Night are just too stellar to not be in my top 10!
This is scary in so many different ways. I loved this! A wide variety of horrors, and a bunch of writers who are clearly at the top of their game.


Staff Pick Badge
Never Whistle at Night: An Indigenous Dark Fiction Anthology By Shane Hawk (Editor), Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr. (Editor) Cover Image
By Shane Hawk (Editor), Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr. (Editor)
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593468463
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - September 19th, 2023

#8: Never Whistle at Night

This is just a top-tier anthology!! Definitely full-on darkness.
Each story feels like a stand-out, which makes perfect sense when you look at the impressive roster of authors within.
This is haunting, visceral, and just really really reaaaaally good! I would recommend this to just about anybody.


Staff Pick Badge
Nails and Eyes (Japanese Novellas) By Kaori fujino, Kendall Heitzman (Translated by) Cover Image
By Kaori fujino, Kendall Heitzman (Translated by)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781782279549
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pushkin Press - September 12th, 2023

#7: Nails and Eyes

At first I wasn't sure if I liked this or not... but then I couldn't stop thinking about it. This isn't horror per se, but just a book of uneasiness.
There are two short stories following Nails and Eyes, which is an unpleasant (just kidding) bonus!
All of these stories are centered around women, which is something I always personally love. They are all seemingly unable to influence their worlds or destinies in any major way--an undercurrent of a lack of control. Really intense! Weird!


Siren Queen By Nghi Vo Cover Image
By Nghi Vo
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250820563
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tordotcom - May 30th, 2023

#6: Siren Queen

This book was waaaaaay better than I'd expected.
Super original setting (early Hollywood!), ultra romantic, & great prose. Vo seamlessly slides you into her world--it would be hard to not be mesmerized by this. I feel like it's been a long time since I've read fantasy that feels this original whilst still drawing from familiar fables. Just excellent!


Big Swiss: A Novel By Jen Beagin Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781982153090
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - August 1st, 2023

#5: Big Swiss

This one is really wacky and fun!
Most of the other books on this list are wacky and oh-so-bleak--so here's a little palate cleanser. :)
I love an obsessive main character, and Big Swiss certainly has that. This is great!


The Idiot: A Novel By Elif Batuman Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143111061
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - February 13th, 2018

#4: The Idiot

I read The Idiot not long after (finally) reading The Bell Jar for the first time, and it was a perfect follow-up.
I went to college in Boston (where this book is set), and Batuman NAILS girlhood & college malaise to the extent that I felt like I could smell the damp of my old dorm room. Her writing is just stellar, and you will no doubt be transported into her world--awkward & uncomfortable, but seeking a sense of belonging.


Staff Pick Badge
The Employees: A workplace novel of the 22nd century By Olga Ravn, Martin Aitken (Translated by) Cover Image
By Olga Ravn, Martin Aitken (Translated by)
$14.95
ISBN: 9780811234825
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions - February 7th, 2023

#3: The Employees

I am such a huge fan of this book! I'd call this "literary sci-fi" if anything. It's a little Out, and a little funny, but altogether just very human.
I haven't read much sci-fi that has a big emotional impact like this one does. The chapters in this are very brief (often just one page), and this feels kind of like a collage of feelings & ideas. Real smart! Real good!


Staff Pick Badge
Monica By Daniel Clowes Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781683968825
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Fantagraphics - October 3rd, 2023

#2 Monica:

Pensive, existential and stark--Monica is simply fantastic. Clowes mashes genres together like a madman. I could never guess where this was going next. This is truly an epic, and it has one of the best endings I've read this year. After finishing the last page, I set this down and said "are you fucking kidding me?" (I swear I did, I have witnesses).
I don't have much to say about this other than it's great--please read it.


Bride of the Tornado: A Novel By James Kennedy Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781683693277
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Quirk Books - August 15th, 2023

#1: Bride of the Tornado

I LOVED this book. I don't know who else would like this because it is Really Weird, but I think somehow the quality of the writing transcends the weirdness. I would only recommend this to someone who enjoys the unexplainable. This does occasionally have a Twin Peaks vibe, but not the Mark Frost Twin Peaks, the David Lynch Twin Peaks.
This is an ouroboros of a story all revolving around a girl who falls in love with a tornado killer... and I'm not going to tell you what that means--you'll have to read it to find out! >:)

 

 

Thanks for reading!!
-Your pal Gretchen