Tuesday, December 13, 2022

2022: The Year in Books (Part 1)

As we inch closer to the end of the year, it's a nice time to look back, and Goodreads makes it a little easier to look back on what I've read this year. As I type this, I've read 88 books this year, but I fully expect that number to be 90 or more before the calendar turns over. 

The largest portion of those have been audiobooks (67, I think). The rest have been a combination of printed-on-paper and ebooks. I don't love ebooks, because I'm generally reading them on my phone... but the fact that they're on my phone means that there are opportunities to read those books that wouldn't be available to me otherwise. And a couple of those books I only had available in ebook format. 

Twenty of these were re-reads, either to prepare myself for a just-released later novel in a series or to revisit something I thought was very good. As a culture, we probably don't re-read enough, and it's easy to see why. There's so much new stuff out there. But 

Two-thirds (60) have been fantasy or science fiction. Some handful I would put in the "literary fiction" category, and the rest is broadly non-fiction. I'm thinking I'll do separate blog posts on the "best' fantasy and non-fiction books I read, but since it's a small number, I'll mention the "literary fiction" here. 

A couple books I read this year were "classics"--the sort of thing you might be expected to read for a college course. The loftiest of those was Anna Karenina. From my review:

IS it the greatest ever? I don't know. It's very good. For a book written 100 years before I was born, it's remarkably modern in many ways. I was impressed by its subtlety and nuance, by its detail and deftness of description. The characters are so human from their charms and admirable qualities to their failings and foibles.

5 stars. I also re-read To Kill a Mockingbird, which I did because I read Casey Cep's excellent Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee. It was, in part, the story of a series of murders that happened near Harper Lee's hometown (and which Harper Lee at one point intended to turn into an In Cold Blood -like true crime story) and about Harper Lee's life and career. So I had to re-read TKaM, and as a bonus had the pleasure of seeing a stage version adapted by Aaron Sorkin. And I also read In Cold Blood for the first time, which I very much enjoyed. True crime was never really my thing, but maybe it should be, because it was compelling. 

Two other re-reads that I would consider literary were Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose and Mark Helprin's A Soldier of the Great War. Both are worth not only a read but a re-read! 

And the final novel I'll mention is Jonathan Franzen's Crossroads. I hadn't read any Franzen before this, but his story of a 1970s youth minister and his family was captivating, with fantastically telling details and fascinating characters deftly revealed to us over the course of several hundred pages. 


  1. I need to stop reading Holidailies entries. I've been congratulating myself on reading 50 books this year!

  2. Wow! So many classics. You’ve nudged me to consider Anna Karenina again.

  3. Crossroads captivating? I'm guessing this is a generational thing; no one who lived through the era described in the novel needs such a close look.

    1. Must be... it was basically a foreign land to me. Much like Anna Karenina, which I read right before it. And of course they were both glimpses of unhappy families and dysfunction.