What Kids are Reading For Fun This Summer

by Brittney Reed-Saltz, with input from Mindy Barrett and Liz McLuckie 

Book recommendations. It’s why you read this blog, right? You want to hear which titles we, the librarians who are trained to find books you’ll love, think are worth your time.

And that’s what this blog seeks to do, but today I’m turning the model on its head a little bit. Today’s recommendations aren’t coming from me… They’re coming from the kids who visit our libraries.

As an adult, it can be difficult to figure out what the kids in your life will want to read. Recommending books that you liked at their age can be a good start, but sometimes it just doesn’t work. After all, everyone has their own interests, and sometimes the books that we view through the rosy light of nostalgia just don’t resonate with younger generations in the same way. Times change, and sometimes they change very quickly.

So, what’s an adult to do?

I always pay attention to what my younger patrons are checking out and reading, and I love when they tell me about particular titles that they think are awesome. Not just because it means that they’re enjoying books, which is sort of the whole goal, but because it helps me build a mental list of books that I might recommend to other kids.

Do you know a kid who’s struggling to find their next great read? Or are you at your wits’ end trying to help a reluctant reader? Try out one of these titles, selected from books that kids have been checking out at all of our branches this summer. kids read 1

The Geronimo Stilton series by Geronimo and Thea Stilton
Fast-paced illustrated stories featuring the adventurous newspaper mouse Geronimo Stilton and his sister, Thea (both the pseudonyms of author Elisabetta Dami… look for them under Stilton).

The Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer
Middle-grade fantasy focusing on a set of twins who fall into a book of fairy tales and find themselves face-to-face with the characters they have read about.

Dog Man graphic novel series by Dav Pilkey
kids read 2From the creator of the long beloved zany chapter book series Captain UnderpantsDog Man follows the adventures of a new kind of crime fighter: one with the body of a man and the head of a police dog.

The Baby-Sitters Club graphic novel series by Raina Telgemeier
The plots you might remember from Ann M. Martin’s classic series get an update with art by Raina Telgemeier. Kids also love Telgemeier’s other graphic novels: Smile, Sisters, Ghosts, and Drama.

All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson
A graphic novel about an 11-year-old girl trying to adjust to public school after being homeschooled, and to find her place in the Renaissance Faire where her parents work.kids read 3

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
Kinney’s stories of a kid trying to survive school and documenting his misadventures are perennial favorites. For a readalike with a female protagonist, try Rachel Renee Russell’s Dork Diaries series.

Wonder by R. J. Palaccio
Wonder has been in the spotlight a lot over the past few years as the result of being included in school reading lists and being adapted into a movie. It continues to be popular with kids who enjoy realistic fiction.

Stick Dog series by Tom Watson
Burgers, hot dogs, pizza, ice cream, and more… This light-hearted series follows an insatiable dog on his quest for food. These books promise to make kids laugh, and make kids read 4them hungry.

Peter Powers series by Kent Clark 
Although Peter comes from a family of supeheroes, he has the worst superpower ever: making ice cubes with his fingertips. Can he somehow use his power to save the day? Find out in a chapter book series perfect for fans of The Incredibles. 

My Weird School series by Dan Gutman 
A.J. goes to a very weird school, where teachers don’t know math, kiss pigs, wear dresses made out of potholders, and more. Each book introduces a new teacher, each one weirder than the last. Gutman’s series is a good readalike for Louis Sachar’s older Wayside School books.

Goosebumps series by R. L. Stinekids read 5
The Goosebumps books are an example of books from our childhoods (if you’re somewhere in your early 30s, at least) that are still captivating new audiences. The books stand alone, so don’t worry about reading order. Your kids can jump in anywhere and be assured of a good scare with a unique premise, whether it’s ventriloquist dummies, garden gnomes, or a haunted mask providing the chills.

Minecraft books
The library has tons of books about Minecraft, from how-to guides to middle grade novels set within the world of the game. What if your kid isn’t into Minecraft? Try searching the library for books that fit their interests, whatever they might be! Even in the rare occasion that we don’t have something about a particular topic they love, we can always help you put in a request for the library to purchase a particular book.

 

 

Girl Power Graphic Novels for the Young and Young at Heart

by Brittney Reed-Saltz

When I need a quick read that will pick me up and put me in a great mood, I frequently turn to all-ages graphic novels. There’s no drawback to reading them: I can usually polish one off during my lunch break, I add titles to my list of potential recommendations for younger readers at my branch, and I get to enjoy great stories I might otherwise have missed.

My favorite stories often feature girls and young women finding–and using–their strength. It’s refreshing to read about girls who speak their minds, fight for what they believe in, or find the quiet power inside of themselves to endure or to reach out to others when things are tough.

Want to read a great girl-powered story, or find one to recommend to the younger readers in your life? Try one of my picks:

lumberjanes nimona

Lumberjanes by Grace Ellis and Noelle Stevenson and Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
If I left either of these off of my list, I would probably get complaints, and well-deserved ones at that. Lumberjanes follows the supernatural-tinged adventures of campers at Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types and would be a great suggestion for fans of the show Gravity Falls. On the other hand, Nimona blends sci-fi and fantasy with a bushel of tongue-in-cheek humor to tell the story of a shapeshifter employed as a villain’s sidekick. It tends more toward YA territory.

jonesy

Jonesy by Sam Humphries and Caitlin Rose Boyle
Jonesy is a “cool dork” with an unusual superpower: She can make anyone fall in love with anything… except herself. If you think that sounds like a recipe for chaos, you have no idea. Jonesy is a zine-making, fangirling powerhouse, and like most protagonists who are great fun to read, she has plenty of flaws. But at the end of the day, her love for her family and friends wins out, and she finds ways to make amends for her mistakes. Read this if you want a funny series with bold, colorful graphics and shades of Scott Pilgrim.

tea dragon society

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill
This is a high fantasy story about a young, part-goblin girl named Greta who learns the art of blacksmithing from her mother. When Greta comes across a timid little dragon in danger, she discovers the world of tea dragons. With catlike temperaments, these little dragons grow tea leaves and flowers from their antlers. Soon Greta is learning the almost lost art of tea dragon keeping from a dragon named Hesekiel, and striving to befriend a timid young woman named Minnette. This is the epitome of a comforting read for me: a gentle and emotional story, lavish illustrations, and inclusion of different races, physical abilities, and sexual orientations. It’s appropriate for young readers, though it might hold adults’ attention more easily.

phoebe and her unicorn

Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson
A young girl named Phoebe makes a new best friend when she throws a rock across a pond, only to hit a unicorn in the face. That unicorn is none other than Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, and the adventures that she and Phoebe have as they deal with goblins, parents, and elementary school are just as delightful as Marigold’s name. These comics are written as strips united by common characters and a loose plot, and are sort of like a more fantastical, female Calvin and Hobbes.

help us great warrior

Help Us! Great Warrior by Madeleine Flores 
Originally a webcomic, Help Us! Great Warrior is an action-packed fantasy title about a warrior who loves looking good while kicking butt, and who is harboring a secret that could endanger her position as a hero. It’s big on humor and surreal settings that remind me a bit of Adventure Time and should appeal to fans of Finn and Jake.

jane the fox and me

Jane, The Fox, and Me by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault, translated by Christelle Morelli and Susan Ourieu
Sometimes, power is quiet. It’s not being happy and confident all the time. It’s also having the strength to endure a challenging or hurtful situation and to come out on the other side. This is the type of power on display in Jane, the Fox, and Me, which follows a young girl named Hélène as she copes with bullying through the companionship of fiction, a fox, and finally a friend who helps her see that there’s nothing wrong with her, regardless of what the mean girls say. This emotional graphic novel will resonate with anyone who has dealt with social ostracism. It’s quieter than all the other suggestions on this list, but it shows that strength comes in many forms.

I’ve Got Creeps in Small Places: Small Town Horror

By Brittney Reed-Saltz

The truth is that there is never a time of year when I don’t want to read something scary. I’ve been a horror fan since my age was in the single digits, and there’s nothing I love more than being terrified by a book, or for that matter, by a movie, podcast, Wikipedia article, or YouTube video that I definitely should not have watched late at night but oops, here we are again.

But Summer might be my favorite time of year for scary books. I have some theories about why this is, but one of the strongest is nostalgia. As a child, I spent my summer vacations tucked away with horror novels. R. L. Stine, Christopher Pike, and Stephen King were my constant companions through muggy days, and I couldn’t get enough. I would devour their tales of terror with white knuckles and baited breath and a smile on my face, as I projected the nightmarish scenes on my rural hometown.

These idyllic summers laid the groundwork for my absolute favorite type of horror: the kind that happens in small towns. Your neighbors undergoing uncanny changes is even scarier when you know all of your neighbors and can see just how different they have become, and how weird they’re acting. If a murderer is loose in your town of less than 1,000 people, it’s not impossible that you’ll be the next victim. And if you’ve ever ridden your bike past a cornfield on a still day and heard the rustling of something among the stalks, even though there’s not a whisper of a breeze, and your blood runs cold despite the 100-degree heat, then you know one of the strongest and most distinctive thrills of fear available to human experience.

Of course Stephen King is the master of small-town Summer horror. IT is the magnum opus of the genre; the novella The Body, included in Different Seasons and serving as the inspiration for the movie Stand By Me, is also a classic of this sort. If by some slim chance you like horror and haven’t read these, start here.

Then, move on to some of my other favorites when it comes to rural creepiness:

Universal Harvester by John Darnielleuniversal harvester
What is is about found footage that’s so downright scary? I think it’s the undeniability that what you’re looking at is real, even if you don’t want it to be. In Universal Harvester, Jeremy is more or less content with his job at the local movie rental store. He gets to watch movies, and it’s a distraction from missing his mother, who died in a car accident six years ago. His routine is disrupted when a customer returns a tape and complains that there was something wrong with it. When he watches the tape, he discovers disturbing footage that leads him to investigate despite his reluctance to get involved. This character-driven novella mixes horror and mystery in an unsettling story about loss and change. Set in the 1990s, it’s also perfect for the current ’90s nostalgia trend.

harrow countyHarrow County graphic novel series by Cullen Bunn
Harrow County has consistently delivered Southern Gothic witchcraft goodness since 2015. Now that the series is set to wrap up in June–and has been optioned for a SyFy Channel adaptation–it’s the perfect time to get on-board if you haven’t yet. This lavishly-illustrated graphic novel series follows a young witch named Emmy as she discovers her dark powers, avoids various dangers from townsfolk and outsiders alike, and struggles to work with and protect the various haints who inhabit the attics and hollers of her hometown.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jacksonwe have always lived in the castle
An oldie but a goodie when it comes to small-town horror. This book has it all: a crumbling family mansion, poisoned relatives, unhealthily devoted sisters, and suspicious villagers. Oh, and Merricat Blackwood, one of the best unreliable narrators in literature. Just how did the arsenic find its way into the sugar bowl that night? This atmospheric little tale is a must if you’re only familiar with Shirley Jackson because you had to read “The Lottery” in seventh grade English.

things to do when you're goth in the countryThings to Do When You’re Goth in the Country & Other Stories by Chavisa Woods
I knew I had to read this book from the second I saw it, and the stories it contains did not disappoint. Woods brings a uniquely off-center perspective to this collection, blending mundane horrors with the occasional supernatural turn. The effect is sardonic and surreal, whether characters are using psychedelic drugs at a Mensa party, befriending a homeless woman who lives in a mausoleum, or coping with the Gaza strip appearing in miniature on top of their head like a mohawk. Great for fans of weird fiction and dark magical realism.

Beloved by Toni Morrisonbeloved
Toni Morrison is not a name that most people associate with horror, but Beloved is one of the scariest books that I have ever read. Morrison examines the lasting psychological effects of slavery in a chilling historical ghost story that isn’t afraid to confront ugly truths or to experiment with form. It’s an intense experience, with moments of heartwrenching tragedy and injustice as well as disturbing supernatural horror, but it’s also a poetic triumph that will dizzy you with language. I was hooked from the opening paragraph’s matter-of-fact description of the haunting.

twilightTwilight by William Gay
William Gay was a Middle Tennessee author who is beloved to those who have read him but, in my opinion, woefully unknown to too many people. His novel Twilight is a delightfully twisted piece of Southern Gothic horror that plays mercilessly with our fears of what happens to us after we die. Not to our souls, mind you, but to our bodies. Teenage protagonist Kenneth Tyler discovers macabre secrets about how local undertaker Fenton Breece has been treating the town’s departed. Breece retaliates against Tyler, hiring a murderer to take care of him, and the resulting cat-and-mouse will keep your heart pumping. Fans of Cormac McCarthy will find a lot to love here.

Off Season by Jack Ketchumoff season
I’ve saved this one for last, but whether or not it’s the best depends largely on what you’re looking for in a horror novel. You’ll know whether Off Season is the book for you based on the frame alone: Cannibals in a remote area of Maine launch an attack on a cabin full of vacationers, with violent results that are described in all their bloody detail. This is a controversial book, but it’s wonderful for hardened horror fans who want a full-throttle read that illustrates why Stephen King called the late Jack Ketchum “the scariest man in America.” I definitely recommend reading it at night in a house by the woods for maximum impact, so if you’re planning a trip to Gatlinburg this summer, slip Off Season into your suitcase. Who needs sleep, anyway?

Summer and the Folly of Overplanning

By Brittney Reed-Saltz

I’m the kind of reader who likes to feel as though I’m accomplishing something with my reading. I like goals. I like crossing items off of to-do lists. I like adding entries to my personal reading log. I like completing challenges. And planning? Oh boy, do I love planning.

There is no season that makes me want to plan my reading quite like Summer. As soon as the temperatures rise and we start signing people up for the Summer Reading Program–pssst, have you signed up yet??–I start setting goals.

Sometimes these goals of mine are very general. Maybe I decide to explore a particular genre in greater depth, or to read more of a certain author. Often, I’ll use the longer days as motivation to tackle a really long book that I’ve been putting off for forever because I prefer my books to clock in around 300 pages. Or I’ll decide to revisit an author whose work I love and reread my favorites.

My problem is that once I start setting goals, it’s hard for me to stop. One goal feels good? Well, imagine the thrill when I achieve three of them! Or five! Or more! And if a small goal is good, then a huge goal must be great! Before I know it, I’m not just planning to reread a few of my favorite author’s choice titles. Oh no, I’m signing on to reread their entire oeuvre before the Summer ends.

I’m sure you can see the problem, Astute Reader. Before I know it, summer is over, I’ve barely scratched the surface of the ambitious TBR list I concocted for myself, and although I’ve read plenty of books, I’m left with a lingering malaise of guilt over not meeting my goals.

But recently I had a breakthrough. I realized that I don’t have to try to read everything I might possibly want to between May and August. Those books will still be there long after I’ve dug out my scarves and boots and started planning for Halloween. Moreover, they’ll be just as good, regardless of when I get around to them. After all, I’m an adult now. I’ve been out of school for five years. When Fall rolls around, it doesn’t mean that I have to give up my recreational reading time. It means I still get to read whatever I want, just while enjoying more bearable temperatures and pumpkin-spice-flavored everything.

Somewhere along the way, I forgot that Summer reading is supposed to be fun. So this year, my primary goal is not to set too many. I’m giving myself permission to be fickle and flighty, to choose books based on whatever whim overtakes me in the moment, and to cast books aside without a second thought if I’m not enjoying them. Of course there are books that I’m excited to read soon, but if I don’t get to them because something else was more immediately appealing, it’s no big deal. They can wait their turn.

What about you? Are you setting lofty summer reading goals? Do you find it as hard to relax and just read as I do? Which books are on your summer TBR? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

 

 

Up Lit: Positivity in an Uncertain World

by Penny Hilton

With all of the political tumult and economic uncertainty, reading trends have shifted from psychological thrillers (called Grip Lit) to wholesome books like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. This new genre has been coined Up(lifting) Lit. Up Lit books focus on humanity’s capacity for kindness and empathy. The stories are centered on relatable characters and offer a measure of empathetic escapism to readers. Since this genre is still in the process of being defined, I decided to ask my coworkers at RCLS what books made them feel hopeful and uplifted, and I have compiled a list of staff favorites as well as a few honorable mentions.

eleanor oliphantEleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
As the defining book for the Up Lit genre, this book delves into the world of Eleanor Oliphant, who is completely fine, until she helps an elderly man who has fallen with the help of the IT guy from her work and finds herself pulled from her isolationist lifestyle.

 

up lit 2The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon
This book has been cited along with Eleanor Oliphant as a defining text in the Up Lit genre and it is easy to see why.  After their neighbor disappears, two young girls tackle the case of finding out where she has gone in this whimsical coming-of-age story set in 1976 England.

 

up lit 3The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
A space opera my coworker David O’Flaherty describes as “Science fiction – they’re about finding a place in the universe, friendship, redemption.”

 

up lit 4The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.
“It’s positive without being saccharine and will definitely give readers a cathartic cry. A big plus is that the characters’ love for literature is palpable throughout, so it’s a real book-lovers’ book.” – Brittney Reed-Saltz

 

up lit 5Something like Happy by Eva Woods
“Annie is stuck in her boring and routine life. She suffered a trauma that left her feeling helpless and refuses to help herself. Along came Polly, with a trauma or two of her own, that makes Annie realize that hers just might not be so bad. Polly teaches Annie what the meaning of life could be, if she lets herself be daring enough to try.”  -Marlene Kupsch

up lit 6The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Witty and intriguing, the book is set in post WWII London where a writer finds unlikely inspiration on a tiny island that developed a way to avoid curfew during occupation. The book is written as a series of letters and examines human connection and a celebration for the written word (Goodreads).

up lit 7Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
“…though it talked of the tragedy of war, I was really amazed at the resilience of the human spirit and ability to survive and even thrive under difficult circumstances.” -Carol Ghattas

 

up lit 8The Last Message Received and Dear My Blank: Secret Letters Never Sent by Emily Trunko
I am including these together as a set because they are both very raw books that read better together than apart. These books offer a candid look at humanity and its emotions. Last Message is a compilation of last messages, some are hopeful and others are tragic, but they serve as a catalyst to remember what is important and to hold on to those that we love. Dear My Blank is similar, but filled with emotional notes addressed to friends, lovers, family, themselves, and to no one in particular.

up lit 9The Princess Saves Herself In This One by Amanda Lovelace
[CW: tackles topics of abuse, violence, depression, and eating disorders] Recommended by Brian Organa, this book of poetry presents a narrative about handling immense trauma in her life and coming out of it empowered as a queen, not a damsel in distress or a princess locked in a tower.  It is an anthem call to those who have been abused and made to feel less than they are.

up lit 10You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein
A renowned comedy writer and producer who has worked on shows such as Transparent, SNL, and Inside Amy Schumer writes about her childhood as a tom-boy and growing into what she has coined as a “tom-man” with all of the comedy and social commentary in between.

 

up lit 11Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
“Coming of age story about a young woman seeking to define herself in war-torn Iran. Marjane Satrapi brilliantly brings to life her family’s struggle for freedom and survival. You will laugh and you will cry.” -Caleb McCloud

 

up lit 12Honor Girl by Maggie Trash
“In this graphic memoir, Maggie goes to summer camp and falls in love for the first time with an older girl. It’s sweet and nostalgic and heartbreaking and hopeful all at the same time.” -April Smyth

 

up lit 13Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
In this fun and relatable coming-of-age story, a girl in deep fandom with the fictional Simon Snow (an alternate Harry Potter) tackles college and being away from her twin sister for the first time. This book promotes the legitimacy of fandoms and fan fiction while examining the importance of family and moving on.

up lit 14The Luster of Lost Things by Sophie Chen Keller
Walter Lavender is unable to speak, but he is an excellent finder. He lives in an enchanted dessert shop with his mother until the source of the shop’s magic is stolen and Walter sets off with his dog to recover it, finding not just the shop’s magic but a part of himself as well.

 

Sources:
https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2017/aug/02/up-lit-the-new-book-trend-with-kindness-at-its-core
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/mar/16/up-lit-eleanor-oliphant-gone-girl-fiction-kindness
https://www.buzzfeed.com/lincolnthompson/31-of-the-most-heartwarming-books-youll-ever-read?utm_term=.diKb253rE#.fupKEMG7W
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/books/up-lit-the-new-genre-on-the-bestseller-lists-36760476.html
https://www.dudleycourtpress.com/why-were-looking-for-up-lit/

2017 Nebula Award Winners Announced!

By Brittney Reed-Saltz nebulas logo

Each year the Nebula Awards honor distinguished works of speculative fiction. The honors are voted on and bestowed by active members of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. In other words, if something wins a Nebula, it does so because people who know and care about speculative fiction think it’s worth your time. So for fans, the list of winners and nominees is a great source for high-quality SFF that you know people are talking about.

Want to be part of the discussion? RCLS has you covered with several Nebula winners and nominees in the system, including every title nominated for Best Novel and for the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation!

Check out what we’ve got below. You can view a full list and learn more about the Nebulas here.

Best Novel
Winner: The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin
Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss
Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty
Jade City by Fonda Lee
Autonomous by Annalee Newitz

Best Novella 
Winner: All Systems Red by Martha Wells
River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey
The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang

Best Short Story
You can read these online! Just follow the link and look for “Read Online” beneath the cover image for each story.

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
Winner: Get Out 
The Good Place

Logan
The Shape of Water

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Wonder Woman

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy
Winner: The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller
Weave a Circle Round by Kari Maaren

Genre Spotlight: Weird Westerns

by Penny Hilton

Think about how hard it would be to address a supernatural or alien event in our modern lives. Now imagine you don’t have a car to flee in, just a horse to ride and a long-barreled shotgun that is notorious for sending bullets a foot left-of-center. This is the essence of the Weird West.

Thanks to television shows like Westworld and Preacher, the Weird West genre has gained notoriety in pop culture. Although I’ve never been a fan of westerns, I distinctly remember loving the movie Cowboys vs. Aliens because of how they pitted the rugged, battle-hardened cowboys against an unimaginable threat on a background of dusty saloons and general stores. So, I checked out all the Weird Westerns we have at RCLS to learn what this newly popularized genre was all about.

Weird Westerns are stories set in 19th-century America that feature elements from a variety of other genres including sci-fi/fantasy, steampunk, mystery, and horror (bestfantasybooks.com). There can be a range of options, like an alternate universe where hippos replace horses or a dusty southwest city where monsters, cyborgs, and cannibals are kept at bay thanks only to magic wards. Like other time-centered fantasy works, there is a healthy bit of world building in each book that helps the story develop and provide alternate history as needed.

Stylistically Weird Westerns are varied. Some throw you right into the heart of the weirdness, like the graphic novel The Sixth Gun by Cullen Bunn that features a foreboding conversation between a gunslinger and grisly tree of souls within the first ten pages. Others begin with an unremarkable western character that encounters a supernatural element such as an alien with a gold-seeking gun or a man who can genetically modify plants by breathing in their pollen (Dead Man’s Hand: an Anthology of the Weird West, John Joseph Adams).

While I’ve only mentioned the briefest of what this genre has to offer, below I have listed some of the Weird Westerns we have at the library. Stop by your local branch to check them out!

TV:
Preacher
Westworld
Firefly

preacher season 2        westworld      firefly

Graphic Novels:
Preacher by Garth Ennis; volume 1 available through Hoopla and Overdrive
The Sixth Gun by Cullen Bunn

preacher book 1       sixth gun

Young Adult:
Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen
Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto

wake of vultures       revenge and the wild.jpg

Fiction:
River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey
Dead Man’s Hand edited by John Joseph Adams
The Gunslinger (Dark Tower Series) by Stephen King
The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman
Six-Gun Tarot by R. S. Belcher

river of teeth.jpg     dead mans.jpg     gunslinger.jpg

half made world     six gun tarot

Sources:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WeirdWest http://bestfantasybooks.com/weird-west-fantasy.html https://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-joseph-adams/totally-bizarre-takes-on-_b_5432732.html
https://rclsreads.com/
http://www.syfy.com/syfywire/west-gone-wild-9-comics-weirdest-westerns