Saturday, December 31, 2022

2022: The Year in Books

This year I broke my yearly reading review into two posts: you can see the first half of the year here.

One big change I've made in the past 6 months is that I no longer rate every book with stars. I started to fixate on the rating as I read, and for many books I was having extended internal debates over the rating. So I decided to remove that unnecessary stress from my life, and to just make note of my absolute favorites. Here's what I read during the second half of the year (for a total of 95 books for  2022!)

Favorite Fiction

  • The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
    • Super cozy story that spanned generations
  • Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
    • Memorable characters and a reminder to do what makes you happy
  • The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O'Farrell
    • Gorgeous writing and pacing, historical fiction about a lesser-known but fascinating person
  • The Bullet that Missed by Richard Osman
    • Hilarious mystery and characters that are starting to feel like old friends
  • Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
    • Engaging story in a setting that's not often written about
  • Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller
    • Amazing construction, beautiful writing by a new to me but soon to be favorite author

Favorite Nonfiction

  • In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss by Amy Bloom
    • Heartbreaking but moving memoir of losing a loved one
  • The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman
    • Creative illustrations and glimpse into the mind of the artist
  • I'll Show Myself Out: Essays on Midlife and Motherhood by Jessi Klein
    • Funny vignettes of a middle-aged mom that I could totally relate to
  • Stolen Focus: Why You Can't Pay Attention - and How to Think Deeply Again by Johann Hari
    • Great reporting on the impact of technology on our ability to focus
  • Happy-Go-Lucky by David Sedaris (audio)
    • David Sedaris never fails to be hilarious and irreverent
  • I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
    • Shocking memoir of a child actor

Other Fiction Read

  • Five Tuesdays in Winter by Lily King
  • The Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton (audio)
  • Nightblind by Ragnar Jonasson
  • The Maid by Nita Prose
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (audio)
  • Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting by Clare Pooley
  • Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny (audio)
  • The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections by Eva Jurczyk
  • The Bat by Jo Nesbo
  • Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (audio)
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl
  • A Career in Books by Kate Gavino (graphic novel)
  • The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell (audio)
  • Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran
  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  • The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid
  • Thornyhold by Mary Stewart
  • Thank You For Listening by Julia Whelan (audio)
  • The Twist of a Knife by Anthony Horowitz
  • Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner
  • We Spread by Ian Reid
  • The One by John Marrs
  • The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser

Other Nonfiction Read

  • Diary of a Tokyo Teen by Christine Mari Inzer (graphic novel)
  • To Shake the Sleeping Self by Jedidiah Jenkins (audio)
  • Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig
  • Leave Only Footprints: My Acadia-to-Zion Journey Through Every National Park by Conor Knighton (audio)
  • Painting Happiness: Creativity with Watercolors by Terry Runyan
  • Menopause: A Comic Treatment by M.K. Czerwiec (graphic novel)
  • Good Talk by Mira Jacob (graphic novel)
  • Anya's Ghost by Vera Brogsol (graphic novel)
  • Heating and Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs by Beth Ann Fennelly
  • How to Be an Artist by Jerry Saltz
  • The Book of Delights by Ross Gay (audio)
  • When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed (graphic novel)
  • All of This by Rebecca Woolf (audio)
  • The American Dream? by Shing Yin Khor (graphic novel)
  • Passport by Sophia Glock (graphic novel)
  • Everything, Beautiful by Ella Frances Sanders
  • Quiet Girl in a Noisy World by Debbie Tung (graphic novel)
  • Book Love by Debbie Tung (graphic novel)
  • Keep it Moving: Lessons for the Rest of Your Life by Twyla Tharp
  • Normal Family: On Truth, Love, and How I Met My 35 Siblings by Chrysta Bilton
  • Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle (graphic novel)
I'm pretty happy with how this last year of reading went. I didn't finish books I wasn't into, and I decreased my habit of picking up random books from the New shelf at the library, and then reading them without knowing anything about them, leading to disappointment. Now I read almost entirely on recommendation, or authors I have read before. 

I didn't set out to read a certain number of books, but I still ended up reading only 6 less than last year (101) when I really worked toward my 100 goals. That being said, I'm a little burnt out! In the past few days I've slowed way down on reading novels, and have picked up some art/design and gardening books to browse through. I also dipped into my huge stack of magazines that have been piling up for months now. 

I have grand plans for reading in 2023, which I will share soon. I've never made a list of specific books to read before; I'm having fun putting one together and dreaming, but like a lot of things, we'll see if actually happens!


  1. This is such a great list! And I love that you did away with a rating system if it was causing you angst. Your point about not picking up random books off the library shelf made me pause -- I do that A LOT, and I think those books tend to be the ones I DNF the most frequently. It's so hard to ignore all those beautiful shiny titles though!

    1. I was particularly susceptible since my daughter had piano next to the library, and I spent an hour alone in there every week!!

  2. Oooh I have Happy Go Lucky on my shelf - I got it for Christmas! A few of those books are on my TBR shelf, and a few I am going to add. I love love LOVED Heating and Cooling. I wish I could write like that!
    I know what you mean about being tempted by the New shelf at the library. I have SO many on my "for later" list and yet I sometimes cannot resist browsing the New.

    1. Heating and Cooling was so unique, especially the one-line memoirs that made me laugh so hard. You'll love Happy Go Lucky, it's classic Sedaris!

  3. Happy New Year Sarah. I hope you enjoy the books you read this year. I am gently dipping my toes back into reading. I haven't really read for a while. Hoping 2023 I can get back to a good book myself x

    1. Happy New Year to you too! I hope you can find the perfect book to awaken your reading self!

  4. Wow that his a lot of books read. My total, if I knew what it was, would be far less. I love that you read graphic novels, I have just discovered the world of the graphic novel for my dyslexic daughter, she loves them. I am always on the look out for recommendations as I know little about this genre of books. If you have any you can recommend I would love to know about them.

    1. There are so many good ones! How old is your daughter - and are there any specific genres that she likes?

  5. Happy New Year! That is A LOT of books. I'm so impressed and I think I should adopt your approach of only star rating books I really, really like (or maybe also ones I really, really dislike)? I have such a hard time with star ratings, especially without 1/2 stars. I swear one of my goals in life is to live long enough to see Goodreads add in 1/2 stars. To me there is a HUGE difference between 3 stars and 3.5 stars. Or 3.5 stars and 4 stars etc.

    I have Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher on my bedside table and after that am interested in reading The Shell Seekers!!!

    1. Half stars would be amazing, so much of my internal dialogue is like "well this is good, but it's not 4 stars, but it's not really 3 stars either", and then I would just waffle back and forth driving myself nuts. I've started Winter Solstice and it's not capturing me like The Shell Seekers did, but it still has a very calm vibe.

  6. You had an amazing reading year! I stopped rating books too. Like you, I was thinking too much about it while reading.

    1. Thanks! I am feeling like I won't be able to keep this reading pace for too much longer though!

  7. Claire Fuller is the best! I've read everything by her. Great list you have-I will be adding some of yours to this year's list. Happy New Year!

    1. I got the recommendation from you, thank you so much! I can tell she's going to be a new favorite and I can't wait to read more by her.

  8. Great job. Reading was definitely not my top priority last year, but I am also reading a series (of big books), so it's been slow going. I have now book list to show for 2022.


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