Coming up with a “Top Ten” or “Top Anything” list of favourite books from the past year is a little project I’ve been doing since, oh … 2006? Some years it’s easy, and other years it’s frickin’ difficult, mostly because I’ve read so many good books in a given year that I can’t narrow it down.
This was one of those years. I could probably generate a Top 25 (or so!) list, but narrowing it down any further than that simply becomes arbitrary. For this year-end favourites list, I picked 8 novels and two non-fiction audiobooks that I really enjoyed, ones where something about the story or the experience of reading (or listening to) it lingered with me long after I’d finished the book. But it was a fairly arbitrary choice and for every book on here, there are at least two more that I really enjoyed that I left off the list. It’s been a good reading year, folks, and these are good problems to have.
If you want to read my reviews of the books above, they are (in no particular order, because if picking a “Top Ten” was pretty arbitrary, ranking them would be even more arbitrary!):
Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, by Gabrielle Zevin
Devil House, by John Darnielle
Dark Tides (and also Dawnlands, next in the series), by Philippa Gregory
The Sentence, by Louise Erdrich
All the Seas of the World, by Guy Gavriel Kay
The Wolf Den, (and its sequel, The House With the Golden Door), by Elodie Harper
Small Game, by Blair Braverman
The Marriage Portrait, by Maggie O’Farrell
Unmask Alice, by Rick Emerson
Where the Light Fell, by Philip Yancey
I always like to track — more for my own interest than anyone else’s — a few stats about the kinds of books and kinds of writers I have read during the year. Sometimes these are more estimates than hard numbers, since I don’t always have full information about who a writer is and where they come from, but I like the big-picture element of tracking some of my own reading trends over time. So, in that spirit, a few 2022 stats:
- Total books read: 125
- Fiction vs non-fiction: 107/18
- New books vs re-reads: 112/13
- Women writers vs men: 100/24 (one book had multiple authors. Didn’t read any writers that were, to my knowledge, non-binary this year).
- Newfoundland writers: 11 (from here originally, or primarily based here)
- Writers from the rest of Canada: 20
- Writers from the UK: 44
- Writers from the US: 42
- Unknown or from other countries: 8
- Writers who are BIPOC or otherwise would identify as racialized or “not white”: 16
That last stat is really interesting to me because a few years ago I started making a concerted effort to read more book by Black, Asian, Indigenous and Latine authors, and in the year that I started consciously trying to do that, my stats were about 70% primarily white-identifying authors, to about 30% other writers. What I’m learning is that if I don’t make a concerted effort to diversify my reading, it’s very easy to default to reading mostly white authors (and thus missing a lot of great books along the way!)
So that’s my reading “journey,” if you want to call it that, for 2022! Onwa
4 Replies to “Ten of My Favourite Books for 2022”
Wow! You sure read a lot! Good for you too. I’ve recently come across a copy of Louise Erdich’s The Sentence. Now I have a reason to read it….it’s part of your top ten…..well, I know…..not exactly top ten in that order…..but still recommended by you in another blog entry. You made me want to read it just by how you described it. One book I did read recently is Christine Faour’s Behind the Dress. I would honestly love to know what you think of it? Why? Well it’s a story of a woman from Corner Brook from a well known family (Faour’s Jewellery store) who get’s married at age 28 in the 80s to a “Christian” man from Quebec who actually belongs to a religious cult. After21 yrs she finally leaves him and this cult and she describes her life during and after. It’s an amazing read!!! It opened up my eyes to the question: Aren’t all religions basically a cult? I think back to my Catholic years growing up and today I see so much that was “holier than thou” and by “thou” I mean anyone who was Anglican, Baptist, 7th Day Adventist, Jewish, Muslim…etc” I mean we were taught it’s the ‘Catholic way or the highway’ Oh my God, that was our thinking!!??? Pretty bad, eh? Anyways, it’s a book that caught my interest and we will also be interviewing Christine Faour on VOBB radio. In the meantime I will check out my copy of The Sentence and thankyou for your own 10 suggestions for good reading!!! Keep up the great writing and I look forward to Book 3 of the Cupids Trilogy!!! Awesome work!!!!
Thanks! Hope you enjoy The Sentence, and I may have a look for Faour’s book if I get a chance. I know what you mean about religions — us SDA’s were taught that RC’s had the “mark of the beast” so you know … there’s a lot of that all round. I think any religion CAN be cult-like, but I also think at the heart of all religions is the search for truth and the goal of loving others more fully, and those are the things I try to focus on in my life! (Simple answer to a complicated question, I know!)
That is an amazing list! Congrats
Thank you; it’s been a great year for books.