Best of 2017

For the first time ever, I kept a running tab of the best of every month:

It’s not everything I read/watch/listened to. Just the stuff I dug.

And? I had this big idea that I’d peel back through all those, dither and negotiate about which is actually my favorite whatever of the year. But what I’m right-now finding? I like to remember better, on the idea that if it was good, I’ll remember it.

So, going by that, here’s my fave . . .


And, I mean ‘book’ there to cover everything with words and pages and endpapers. Seriously, I haven’t read anything this good and intentional and powerful and gripping in, I don’t know: maybe forever? That’s how this book left me feeling, anyway. So jealous of it. So fortunate to have read it. And, had this novel come a year or two earlier, I kind of doubt I do Mongrels. So, thanks for waiting, Emil Ferris.

But, if by ‘books’ I’m meant to be meaning novels, then that’s a lot trickier:


I was so completely lost on the moon, in this wonderful caper.

These two pull you raw through the gamut of everything good and terrible in the world. Haven’t been this impressed with a fantasy series since . . . okay, since NK Jemisin’s Dreamblood duology. Do yourself a big favor, and read these. Then you can wait on the edge of your seat with me for the third.

This one reels you in and does not let you go.


There were two main ones for me in 2017, one scripted, one the opposite of scripted:

Cocaine & Rhinestones is taking my country-music heart and putting it under the microscope, and with Shock Waves I feel like I’m on the floor of a horror con, just talking to friends about the stuff I love.


Which I think are what I watch, not ‘films.’ Anyway, my list of my favorite horror is here, of course, and, unsurprisingly, the winner of that category is the winner of the all-around category:

Happy Death Day is a celebration of everything I love about horror, pretty much. I am so happy it exists in the real world, not just in my dreams. But, if we’re going non-horror:


And, yeah, the first LOOKS like horror, not like coming of age, and I’m supposed to be all outraged about the second’s Dances with Wolves build. Still: they’re on my list. Now for some


Longmire ended this fall, and ended wonderfully, but I’ll try to make this be only stuff I discovered this year, and went all head over heels for:

Too, I should say that I never understood binge-watching until American Vandal. It changed me. I was back-to-backing those. Don’t know if I’ve ever been so involved in a series. And, Blacklist, man; every episode delivers. Cannot get enough. And The Orville was a big surprise. It’s got an STNG heart, and that’s the main thing I need in my space shows. And Superstore, wow. I’ve worked in those big stores, and never suspected I’d see the dailiness and the ridiculousness and the real and actual people dramatized so well. But here it is. And it’s got heart to spare as well, and some of the killerest dialogue around.

And, aside from all that, I guess I had my first comic book published, My Hero, and got to do a novella with, Mapping the Interior. This was my first year with my son off to college. I sold my 1970 yellow C-10 to someone who wanted it worse than I did, and actually drives it more than twice a year, as it deserves. I moved houses, again. I worked with a lot of top-notch students, I went to faraway places both new to me and old to me. I avoided all situations that might involve pickles or onions. I ate a lot of vanilla cookies, probably due in part to Leonard Pine. I didn’t get to see Bob Seger on stage, though I’ve still got my ticket. I signed on to MoviePass, which has been amazing. I had surgery and am still kicking. I changed keyboards, and can really cook on my new one now. I finally understood ultimate frisbee (and it’s supercool). I didn’t get to go hunting. I spent some good time on the reservation. I saw a lot of family. I didn’t lose or break my phone, amazingly. I got completely addicted to LaCroix.  I wrote one novel, American Neanderthal, and got two more—Texas is Burning and Lake Access Only—banged into good shape. Had a lot of stories come out, and have a lot more coming out. And, as you can see in the selections above, I engaged just a whole, whole lot of excellent amazing art. Couldn’t be more thrilled with it all. Now, to do it all over again in 2018, just—more, and better.

Author: SGJ