Year in Books 2022

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My Year in Books, 2022. Stats first this year, then scroll down for the list.

71 books—that’s more books than usual, by a fair amount—usually I would say it falls in the region of 55 to 65 books. This years tally does include some short books (three novellas and one story that might even technically be a short story) and plays (12 of them). I also did less re-reading in 2022 than has been my habit in the past. I don’t track my re-reading, but that’s the sense that I have, anyway. 2022 was the year I pretty much Officially Switched to Reading Digitally. Having worked for twenty years or so at getting comfortable reading long-form fiction on my phone, tablet or monitor, I now am uncomfortable reading on the printed page. I can still pretty comfortably read a playscript, but for anything longer than that, the form becomes a significant factor. I have re-purchased some of my Comfort Books in digital format, but I lack the digital equivalent of the used-book store’s fifty-cent shelves or the library fund-raiser (and storage clearer) to really stock up—and I don’t think I really have found the equivalent digital action for browsing through my own bookshelves for whatever I am in the mood for. And, of course, a lot of the books I have been re-reading over the last fifteen or twenty years are the sort of books that the library won’t and probably shouldn’t acquire—mid- to late-twentieth century novels of no particular merit, that publishers probably aren’t eager to digitize. I did find Thomas B. Costain’s The Tontine in a cheap digital version and re-read that.

The Genre Breakdown: 21 SF, 10 YASF, 12 Plays (plus 3 theatrical books plus 2 memoirs that included theater stuff, so maybe call it 17 theater-related books), 9 Mysteries, 4 Historical novels plus 2 more that I kinda want to call alt-Historical, 3 Romances, 1 Horror, 1 graphic novel (which is also a Romance, if ‘graphic novel’ isn’t really a genre) 1 YA book that has no speculative elements at all, and two books that I am calling literary novels, as if the other books were not works of literature, but at any rate they lack other genre markings.

Demographics: This year, as most years, despite deciding not to read books by White Men, I did in fact read a lot of books by White Men, eighteen of them in fact (to the extent that I am accurately assessing the race and gender of the writers) (vaddevah “accurately” means in the context of screwy categories like those). Basically, a quarter of the new-to-me writers were White Men, half were White Women, and the remaining quarter were Asian-American, Anglo-African, or of South Asian descent, with one (1) African-American playwright. And one writer who identifies their gender as non-binary.

Leaving out the collection of short stories by twelve different authors, because it seems like it would be less descriptive of my actual reading to include all twelve, the remaining 70 books were by 66 authors, of whom 44 were new to me this year (at least in the sense that I hadn’t read a book by them before) and 22 were writers that I had read before. Of the 66 writers, 54 were White (59 books), 19 were Male, and 17 were White Males. Once again, I am doing a terrible job of seeking out books by non-White writers, and particularly by African-American writers. Oh, there’s another asterisk, I suppose—the book about the making of In the Heights included enough stuff by Lin-Manuel Miranda (including the entire libretto) and by Quiara Alegría Hudes (including some short essays written for the book) that I could technically include them as writers of color, but I don’t think they were authors of the book within the meaning of the act.

The List:

  • The Hazel Wood, by Melissa Albert (SF)
  • The Last Smile in Sunder City , by Luke Arnold (SF)
  • Life After Life , by Kate Atkinson (SF)
  • Realm Breaker, by Victoria Aveyard (SF)
  • The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy, by Megan Bannen (SF)
  • The Ogress and the Orphans , by Kelly Barnhill (YASF)
  • Last Enemy, by H. Beam Piper (SF)
  • The Old Country, by Alan Bennett (Play)
  • The Infinity Courts , by Akemi Dawn Bowman (YASF)
  • All About Me!, by Mel Brooks(Memoir)
  • Horse, by Geraldine Brooks (Historical)
  • A Prayer for the Crown-Shy, by Becky Chambers (SF)
  • The Beatryce Prophecy , by Kate DiCamillo (Historical/Fantasy)
  • I Was Better Last Night, by Harvey Fierstein (Memoir)
  • The Woman in the Library, by Sulari Gentill (Mystery)
  • Foul Lady Fortune, by Chloe Gong (SF)
  • The Witch's Heart, by Genevieve Gornichec (SF)
  • The Midnight Hour, by Elly Griffiths (Mystery)
  • In the Serpent's Wake, by Rachel Hartman (YASF)
  • A Glove Shop in Vienna and other stories, by Eva Ibbotsen (Historical)
  • The Last Chairlift, by John Irving (Literary?)
  • Bloomsbury Girls , by Natalie Jenner (Historical)
  • Doctor Voynich and Her Children, by Leanna Keyes (Play)
  • Illuminations, by T. Kingfisher (YASF)
  • The Welkin, by Lucy Kirkwood (Play)
  • Tiny Kushner, by Tony Kushner (Play)
  • Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created Sunday in the Park with George, by James Lapine (Theater)
  • A Lesson in Vengeance, by Victoria Lee (Horror)
  • The Grace Year , by Kim Liggett (YASF)
  • Everybody's Talking about Jamie, by Tom Macrae (Play)
  • A Marvellous Light, by Freya Marske (SF)
  • In the Heights : finding home, by Jeremy McCarter, LMM, AQH (Play)
  • Brilliant Adventures, by Alistair McDowall (Play)
  • X, by Alistair McDowall (Play)
  • I Kissed Shara Wheeler: a Novel , by Casey McQuiston (YA)
  • One Last Stop, by Casey McQuiston (SF)
  • The Last Days of New Paris , by China Miéville (SF)
  • The Thief Knot, by Kate Milford (YASF)
  • The Golden Enclaves , by Naomi Novik (SF)
  • Barbecue, by Robert O'Hara (Play)
  • Noor, by Nnedi Okorafor (YASF)
  • Heartstopper, Volume 1, by Alice Oseman (Graphic)
  • The Necessary Beggar, by Susan Palwick (SF)
  • Under Lock & Skeleton Key , by Gigi Pandian (Mystery)
  • Overboard, by Sara Paretsky (Mystery)
  • How to Rule an Empire and Get Away with It, by K. J. Parker (Alt-Historical?)
  • She Who Became the Sun, by Shelley Parker-Chan (SF)
  • Geekerella, by Ashley Poston (Romance)
  • Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts , by Kate Racculia (Mystery)
  • The Ivory Key , by Akshaya Raman (YASF)
  • Sisters of the Vast Black, by Lina Rather (SF)
  • A Curious Beginning, by Deanna Raybourn (Historical/Mystery)
  • Letters from an Actor, by William Redfield (Theater)
  • Shy, by Mary Rodgers (Theater)
  • The Kaiju Preservation Society , by John Scalzi (SF)
  • Same Time Next Year, by Bernard Slade (Play)
  • Good, by C.P.Taylor (Play)
  • Miss Moriarty, I Presume?, by Sherry Thomas (Mystery)
  • Murder on Cold Street, by Sherry Thomas (Historical/Mystery)
  • Hold Fast Through the Fire, by K.B. Wagers (SF)
  • There Before the Chaos, by K.B. Wagers (SF)
  • The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows, by Olivia Waite (Historical/Romance)
  • The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics, by Olivia Waite (Historical/Romance)
  • Pantomime, by Derek Walcott (Play)
  • Home, by Martha Wells (SF)
  • A Conspiracy of Kings , by Megan Whalen Turner (YASF)
  • The Dictionary of Lost Words, by Pip Williams (Historical)
  • Orlando, by Virginia Woolf (SF)
  • Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, by Gabrielle Zevin (Literary?)
  • Iron Widow, by Xiran Jay Zhao (YASF)
  • Marple, short stories by twelve different authors (Mystery)

My favorites include the Brooks and Novik books, unsurprisingly; the Waite romances; the Fierstein and Rodgers memoirs and the Sunday book; and Doctor Voynich and Her Children. There were probably some others I enjoyed more than I remember enjoying them.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,

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