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. Continue reading “2022 Reading Round-Up”