Coffee and Contemplation: My Favorite Books of 2020

I enjoyed many of the books I read during this last year. I read more books than I have in an entire year and I’m proud of myself for that. There were two in particular that stood out to me. It wasn’t so much the stories themselves but the writing and the way the stories captured my imagination. This isn’t a book review. Not really. I hope what I say will encourage you all to read these books, though one might be hard to find. These were both new approaches to old ideas. And there was something supernatural and magical about them.

The first book is “The Wolfman” by Nicholas Pekearo. Many have said this is the best werewolf novel ever written. I’m inclined to agree. It was tragic that Pekearo died before seeing it published. The story is about a man who is a werewolf and uses this condition to hunt and kill bad people like murderers, serial killers, etc… The main character reminded me of my father in many ways. Both his good and bad qualities. Copies of this book are online. Physical copies are more expensive. I don’t think it’s being printed for the moment. If you prefer e-readers, it’s still more expensive than others. Just fair warning but it’s worth every penny.

The second book is “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern. The synopsis makes one think this will be a romance novel, but the romance is subtle. I didn’t notice the two characters were starting a courtship until half-way through. This could be because of the non-linear narrative. There’s no mushy stuff. There’s too much magic going on in the story. It has a little of everything and is well written. My enthusiasm for this novel overshadowed many of the others I read in 2020. This book is a little easier to acquire than the first one I mentioned. 

What were your favorite reads of 2020? I often stick with supernatural or magical realism type stories but please share any books that stuck out in your mind during 2020.

Coffee and Contemplation: National Book Lover’s Day

Today is an exciting day for bibliophiles. National Book Lover’s Day is an unofficial holiday for those of us who love reading and collecting books. I didn’t realize for many years most of the books I owned were nonfiction. This wasn’t a conscious choice. Those were the only books I wanted to read at the time. I started reading more fiction and even gave myself a purpose to read more fiction. I gave myself a goal for the kind of fiction I wanted to read. I wanted to read the kind of fiction I wanted to write.

It began as a list of horror fiction with a supernatural focus. As I read and researched, I realized I wanted the supernatural more than the horror. There are many stories and novels that are supernatural but are not horrific. Likewise, there are many stories and novels that are horrific but have not supernatural elements. I began looking for both supernatural horror and magical realism in stories and novels. This has made for an interesting collection of books I’ve acquired. There are many stories that are not scary in the least but still involve supernatural creatures or beings. Some stories are even humorous in their absurdity.

I plan to share this list of books I’ve read on my journey one day. For now, tell me what you all are reading right now. What kind of books are you most interested in reading and collecting? I also want to leave you with a couple quotes that you may find interesting. One of them has some profanity, but I’m against censorship so consider yourself warned.

“It wasn’t until I started reading and found books, they wouldn’t let us read in school, that I discovered you could be insane and happy and have a good life without being like everybody else.”

John Waters

“We need to make books cool again. If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them.”

John Waters

Supernatural Novels


My exploration into supernatural fiction will be a long and tedious endeavor. I hope to validate this genre, and hopefully have it taken more seriously than it has been treated in the past. I think it has more literary merit than people are willing to suggest. I will begin with my list of novels that I intend to read and research. This is a long list and reading them alone will take a couple years at least. Unless someone will pay me to do nothing but read novels. That would be fun, but I also have films and television to research.

As I have not read many of these novels, I’m not sure how supernatural the stories are. I am confident I have compiled a brilliant list, but I will know more after I have read them all. I am only listing the novels to save time. If you would like a synopsis, you can look them up yourself or wait until I finish reading them and post a review. My reviews will focus on my argument and will not be a general review of the work. You probably think me strange for actively reading and researching things for fun.

Here is my list of novels to read. The first on my list I have started reading and will acquire the others as I go.

  • Beloved (1984) Toni Morrison
  • IT (1989) Stephen King
  • Ring (1991) Koji Suzuki, Glynn Walley
  • Good Omens (1990) Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett
  • The Damnation Game (1985) Clive Barker
  • Carrion Comfort (1989) Dan Simmons
  • Heart-Shaped Box (2007) Joe Hill
  • Hammers on Bone (2016) Cassandra Khaw
  • Head Full of Ghosts (2015) Paul Tremblay
  • Affinity (2002) Sarah Waters
  • Crota (1998) Owl Goingback
  • The Devil in Silver (2013) Victor LaValle
  • The Fifth Child (1989) Doris Lessing
  • Fledgling (2005) Octavia Butler
  • Grotesque (2003) Natsuo Kirino
  • Beautiful Creatures (2009) Kami Garcia
  • Goosebumps (1992) R.L. Stine – Case Study
  • The Strain (2009) Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan – Case Study
  • Twilight (2005) Stephanie Meyer – Case Study
  • Harry Potter (1997) J.K. Rowling – Case Study

This list is subject to change as I read through the novels. The last four on the list will be case studies in which I measure the impact these works have made on other media, such as; films, comics, and television. That’s a lot of reading and I’m nerdy enough to enjoy it. I researched the best supernatural novels within the last 30 to 35 years and this is my list. I think it’s a great list.

While I will not turn away suggestions, I will likely not change this list based on other’s suggestions. Any changes will be made after reading a novel and feeling it does not work well with my argument or if I think it’s terrible, but this list is supposed to be the best of the best and I can’t wait to read them all. Some I have already read. One exception to this list is the “Twilight” series. I’m only including it because of its popularity and, to be honest, I want to find out if the writing is as bad as people say. Regardless, this will be a fun adventure for me and I hope some of you join me.