Fabulists. Two of the best books of the year came from Arkansans who weren’t afraid to make animals talk or delve into fantasy. Nor were Kevin Brockmeier (“The View form the Seventh Layer”) or Nate Powell (“Swallow Me Whole”) wary of taking traditional narrative constructs and making them their own. Brockmeier, in his short story collection, imbues Choose Your Own Adventure and sci-fi stories with a deep and gentle compassion. Powell, in his graphic novel about teen-aged psychic unrest, frames his story with lush pen and ink that almost seems as unmoored from the page as his protagonists.