Books I loved in 2022

I read 61 books in 2022 for my own pleasure, plus another 17 in my capacity as a nonfiction book reviewer for Publishers Weekly. Halfway through the year, I moved to a new house with a bright, sunny living room; I rediscovered reading in natural light, sitting upright on the couch, sometimes with music playing softly. I am astonished at how much of a difference this makes in my enjoyment. (In my old oddly shaped place, the couch was in the basement; I read in bed.) I also now live just a few blocks from a library branch that stays open most weekdays. I go in, leave my finished books on one side of the horseshoe-shaped counter, pick up my holds from a shelf at the center curve, and check out on the other side. A book automat. It’s not that I don’t love browsing–I just also love the ease and economy of this routine. As easy as ebooks were in the days when I read from my phone while clinging to a subway pole.

Of the books I read in 2022, these 20 were the ones I loved best.

Complicated women behaving kind of badly

Vladimir by Julia May Jones
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk
Beautiful World, Where Are You? by Sally Rooney

Masterclasses in worldbuilding

Magic school: A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
Thief code: The Lies of Locke Lamora (and sequels!) by Scott Lynch
Space spookiness: The Employees by Olga Ravn
Space spookiness to the nth power: Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Ordinary people with ordinary problems, but…

Put them on the moon! The Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
Put them… next to the moon! A House Between the Earth and the Moon by Rebecca Schermer
Put them on the ocean floor: Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield
Put them in pink jail: The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan
Just kidding, nothing in this town is ordinary: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

Historical fiction with a soupçon of spookiness

Briefly, a Delicious Life by Nell Stevens
The Cherry Robbers by Sarai Walker

Nonfiction

Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid: The Fraught and Fascinating Biology of Climate Change by Thor Hanson
The Immense World by Ed Yong – which I technically did not finish, but it is such a pleasure to dip into this book for a few pages at a time, just long enough to learn some Science Facts I can terrorize my loved ones with (did you know pigeons can see ultraviolet light? did you know butterflies can’t see their own beautiful wing patterns?)

Short story collections

The Souvenir Museum by Elizabeth McCracken
Even Greater Mistakes by Charlie Jane Anders
Shit Cassandra Saw by Gwen E. Kirby

Here are a few short poems and stories that I linked in earlier roundups but which lingered in my mind long after I read them:

“Midtown” by Tyler Barton
“every exquisite thing” by heidi andrea restrepo rhodes
“A shortlist of cheeses and wines I would take home for free when I worked in the Specialty Department at Whole Foods” by K. Degala-Paraíso
“There Is Absolutely Nothing Lonelier” by Matthew Rohrer
“Alice Beck’s Girlfriend” by Rae Theodore
Minuet” by Rumaan Alam
Man in my bed like cracker crumbs” by Sandra Cisneros
Marilyn Monroe Lets the Livestock In” by Emma Brankin
On Being Asked, ‘What Is Your Dream Job?'” by Ally Ang
Sex Without Love” by Sharon Olds

And I read a small hill of memoirs in 2022, and I liked quite a few, but the only one I truly loved was:

The White Mosque by Sofia Samatar

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