2022 Reading Round-Up

The start of a new year means it’s time to look back at the past year of reading.  I read 96 books this year, a drop from the days before I had a toddler, but not bad, considering!  And if you factor in picture books, I’m sure the number is at least double…!  Here’s a look at the details.

1) Best of…
I’ve been splitting my “Best of” books for the past several years, so that I can highlight the ones that were best in very specific ways.

1A) Best Premise: The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North – Hope is the main character of this one, and no one remembers her.  Within a minute of seeing her, everyone forgets.  Basically like the Silence in Doctor Who, for my geek readers!  Fascinating to see how this plays out and how she lives her life.  The book turned into something of a heist/thriller, but I was mostly fascinated by the idea.

1B) Best World Building: A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers – I loved this peaceful, philosophical book set in a future utopia where everyone looks out for each other and for nature. Robots achieved sentience a couple centuries before the book opens and, instead of conquering humanity, basically said “good luck, guys, we’re leaving” and disappeared into the wilds. This is the story of the first robot who comes back, and the tea monk looking for purpose who meets it.  Honorable mention also goes to Finder by Suzanne Palmer, for a very weird and interesting sci fi story set mostly on a web of asteroids and space stations.

1C) Best Romance: I loved Grace and Stephen in Paladin’s Grace by T. Kingfisher.  I also loved…pretty much every romantic couple in Kingfisher’s books that I read this year.  I give the edge to Grace and Stephen though because I love that Grace is a perfumer who can’t quite remember what he looks like after they first meet, but vividly remembers how he smells (like gingerbread!)  Kingfisher’s thing in romances seems to be powerful men who are very, very conscious about things like consent and not intimidating the women they’re attracted to, and I am so there for that.

1D) Best Characters: I’m giving this one to Kingfisher too, for her cast of misfits in The Clockwork Boys and its sequel, Wonder Engine.  Slate the cranky forger, Caliban the angsty paladin, Brenner the assassin, and the Learned Edmund are all just wonderful.  Another good romance as well, which winds up with “well, I suppose, if only for the handkerchiefs” and it’s perfect.

1E) Best Series: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend – I very much enjoyed this fantasy series and it was the upbeat book I needed in the midst of some grim ones.  Though be warned, Book 3 heavily features a plague!  I really liked this magical world though, and I’m curious to see where the promised Book 4 takes us.

1F) Best Nonfiction: The Skeptic’s Guide to the Future by Dr. Steven Novella – Fascinating read, mostly about how we can extrapolate the future based on current technology and theories, with heavy sci fi references.  I found it quite hopeful and encouraging.  Also – we already live in the future.

1G) Hardest to Put Down: The Guest List by Lisa Foley – A very twisty murder mystery, it was remarkably engaging considering I didn’t like most of the characters!  Full of secrets and surprises though, and the murderer is probably the least of it.

2) Worst Book: On a Pale Horse by Piers Anthony – A pick for my book club, it did generate some good discussion, so I enjoyed that aspect.  But the book is deeply dated with a lot of sexism and questionable morality, tackling subjects I’ve seen done much better other places.  If you have any desired to read Piers Anthony, stick to Xanth.  This is not that.

3) Most Disappointing: View from the Imperium by Jody Lynn Nye – I heard the author on a podcast describe this as “Jeeves and Wooster in space” which sounded great – and I can see what she means, but this just wasn’t very funny.  Plus the pacing was quite odd, though that may be down to it being first in a series.  I don’t plan to continue though.

4) Most Surprising (in a Good Way): Meet Me in Another Life by Catriona Silvey – I can’t say much about this one because it would give away the surprise.  I’ve heard it described as becoming a completely different book halfway through, and that’s pretty true.  I’m not totally sure I liked that, but it definitely was interesting.

5) Can’t Believe I Waited Until 2022 To Read It: Around the Hearth by L. M. Montgomery – It’s not exactly that I waited for this one, but that these short stories were written a century ago and, with a false start thirty years ago, were finally published in an anthology this year. They’re not Montgomery’s best but the worst Montgomery is still worth reading to me!

6) Most Hilarious Read: Swordheart by T. Kingfisher – Of a type with Kingfisher’s other White Rat fantasy novels (including all the ones listed earlier), but this one was just the funniest.  There’s romance, there’s angst, there’s a hero who may be excessively worried about consent and not being pressure-y (SO there for that) but also it’s just really very funny in spots.

7) Most Satisfying Read: Jesus and John Wayne by Kristin Kobes du Mez – Rarely have I read a book that seems to so well explain the inexplicable about the world we live in.  It traces the last seventy or so years of history of the right-wing evangelical movement, and by the time she got to explaining why that population supported the 45th president (I’m not naming him – who knows what that will do to the SEO of my site?), I didn’t need the explanation anymore.  Fascinating read.

8) Best New Author: T. Kingfisher – This may be redundant, but still feels worth saying.  Technically I read one Kingfisher book in 2021, but I read eight in 2022, and would have read more if I didn’t feel I was going to run out.  And as you see, she made this list in three places before this!

9) Most Looking Forward to in 2023: Lost in the Moment and Found by Seanan McGuire – So I admit, this would probably be Kingfisher again if I could find any info on her upcoming releases (I strangely can’t), BUT I really am very much looking forward to this next installment in the Wayward Children series. It comes out early in the year and I already have it on hold from my library!

I think that rounds things up!  So what have you been reading?  What were some of your best and worst of 2022?

2 thoughts on “2022 Reading Round-Up

  1. I added one of the Kingfisher books to my TBR last year on the strength of your review/comment, so I hope it lives up to your hype (it, will, I’m sure).
    Your Jody Lynn Nye comment is interesting, as I think I did the same to another of her books last year. I didn’t finish it, anyway.
    I did my books of the year just before new year. There’s one called Nocturne that made an appearance on the shortlist… you may have heard of it (ROFL)

  2. As usual, you’ve read a large number of interesting books this year. I’m sure you kept the library busy with check outs! 🙂 I like your specific categories – more detailed than just listing one or more “best books” of 2022.

    I have just two books I think of as “best” for the past year, though I read many that I enjoyed. For fiction, my pick is “Beautiful Little Fools” by Jillian Cantor, a retelling of “The Great Gatsby” from the women’s points of view, with a murder mystery thrown in as well (who really killed Jay Gatsby?). For nonfiction, my pick is a re-read, “When Time Stopped,” by Arianna Neumann, which tells the incredible story of how her father survived as a Jew in Nazi Germany. His life during that time was a mystery to her. She set out to solve it – and did, uncovering a very dramatic story – after his death.

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