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Here are the books that I rated as great or best of the year so far.The Galaxy and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers is the final book in the Wayfarers series. I am going to miss reading more about the characters and civilizations in this series.A Psalm for the Wild-Built also by Becky Chambers is the first book in what promises to be a fascinating look at humans and technology.Perestroika in Paris by Jane Smiley is a book you want to read if a horse, a dog, a rat, a crow, and assorted humans work together intentionally and accidentally to solve a problem and make their lives better along the way. It is a beautiful story.I scored big this year with three books by P. Djèlí Clark. Ring Shout is a fantasy alternate history centered around the 1915 movie The Birth of a Nation and the rise of the KKK.The Black God's Drums is a story of a steampunk New Orleans where magic of all kinds is real.A Dead Djinn in Cairo is the story of Special Investigator Fatma el-Sha’arawi case to routinely investigate a suicide that turns out not to be either routine or a suicide. These next four are categorized as YA but I think they would appeal to readers who do not usually read those books. Two of these books, Elatsoe and Firekeeper's Daughter are by Native American authors as are most of the characters in the books.Elatsoe by Darcy Little Badger is about the magical world that exists along side our normal world. Elatsoe can raise the ghosts of dead animals. This is a Hugo nominee this year in YA SFF. If I voted, it would be my #1 choice.The Ruthless Lady's Guide to Wizardry by C.M. Waggoner is set in the same magical world as her book Unnatural Magic. You don't have to have read the first book to understand this one. It is not a sequel. If scams and unlikely pairings appeal to you, then this may be one to add to your reading list.You'd Be Home Now by Kathleen Glassgow is the story of a family being torn apart by drug addiction and more. Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley is another book with drugs at its core. This time prejudice, drugs, and rape are not just tearing a family apart, they are destroying a community.And I have to get in some MG books too.The Moorchild by Eloise Jarvis McGraw was published in 1996 but reads like it was written much earlier. Moql is a halfling who sets out on a quest to return a human child to its family. To do this she must visit the fae who rejected her.I like a lot of books by Mercedes Lackey. I usually rate them as good or very good and mark a few for rereading. This year I read two that were some of the best books I've read this year. They are both repurposing of fairy tales. Briarheart is her reworking of Sleeping Beauty. The story is not about the princess or her handsome prince but is about the princess' sister who must protect her.Phoenix and Ashes is book 3 of Lackey's Elemental Masters series. The books are only related in setting and the theme of elemental magic; they can be read in any order. This one loosely uses Cinderella but sets it in London during WW1. Women's sufferage, shell shock, and workers' rights are all themes that she uses in this story. I've probably read 20-30 of her books and this is my favorite.Ms. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson is a book that if I was still teaching I would read it book every year before starting the school year. It goes straight to the heart of teaching.
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