My Favorite Books of 2022

One of the best books I’ve ever read.

In 2022, I read 84 books, which I’m proud to say is likely the most I’ve ever read in a year. I only hedge because I haven’t always kept track, but I’m fairly sure I’d know if I read more than 84 books in a single year. The last time I read to a similar amount was way back in my pre-Twitter days (coincidence?!) of 2010. I read 60 books. This year’s big difference compared to then was that I fully embraced audiobooks, listening to 13 of those. Anyhow, enough with the numbers, how about a list? I would recommend any of those books I read this year, but if forced (by myself) to pick my favorites:

  • Nonfiction: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb
    • A snippet from my review:
      • “One of my favorite takeaways from the book is the insight Gottlieb gives (in relation to her patients and if I remember correctly, most pointedly John): People are so worried about breaking down, and other people witnessing it, not realizing that they are breaking open. That is, so many of us navigate through life without showing and feeling our true emotions and so, when we come to a point of “breaking down,” we’re worried about it, but it’s actually a liberating process to finally break open and birth our real selves.”
  • Fiction: The Heavenly Table by Donald Ray Pollock
    • A snippet from my review:
      • “I feel inadequate up against this novel, which could end up being my favorite fiction novel of the year, because of my inability to do it justice. Pollock’s novel is like if that nasty, gunky, foul-smelling water in the P-trap under the sink was presented to you after you’d crawled five days through the desert with a sandpaper tongue in that the book is brimming with violence, sex, language, and awful characters (within the story), but boy, does Pollock have a way of making it taste good going down. Grime has never “tasted” so good as when Pollock is serving it up. I’ll sit at his table any day.”
  • Graphic Novel: Fun Home, A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
    • A snippet from my review:
      • “A book about suicide, funeral homes, the difficulty of coming out and accepting who you are, and the complicated relationships we have with our parents and even the way we come to understand, think and talk about those relationships, shouldn’t be this humorous as well, but for someone use to cavorting around caskets and dead bodies, this is a feat Bechdel is more than capable of, bringing us in intimately, pulling us back out to ask the Big Questions, and all the while, not pretending to have the answers, just an approximation.”
  • Audiobook: The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War by David Halberstam and read by Edward Herrmann
    • A snippet from my review:
      • “As we get into those minute-by-minute recounts of the bloody battles, I was both sad and moved. Sad because of how dumb war is; there is no elegant way to put it. And how vain this particular war felt, although more on that in a moment. But moved because of the individual heroic bravery of the men who were there fighting it, nonetheless.”
  • Perhaps a not as well-known gem from my list: Coal Black Horse by Robert Olmstead
    • A snippet from my review:
      • “Robert Olmstead’s 2007 novel, Coal Black Horse, is a beautiful, haunting meditation on the ravages of war, and the way it, too, unfurls under the night stars. And just as those who sit at the bonfire will walk away smelling of smoke, inexorably, those affected by war carry home its machinations, even if they don’t come home at all.”

What were some of your favorite books from last year?

Bonus book recommendation!

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