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Our Best Reads of 2022!



Now that we're knee-deep in 2023, it's time to look back at our best reads from 2022!


This is a list of the books we most enjoyed reading last year, which means titles aren't restricted to those released in 2022. We hope that you will share some of these wonderful reading experiences with us, whether new or old, and join us for another exciting year of reading.

Happy new year!

 

20th Century Boys by Naoki Urasawa

Genre: Mystery, thriller, manga


Recommended by Jack and Rocío. Jack says:


This book was bonkers in the very best of ways! The mystery involves a group of 30-somethings who notice that the emergence of a new cult and chemical attacks around the globe coincide all too neatly with the stories they made up together as children. Urasawa writes such exciting stories that twist and turn and overlap, with a palpable sense of mystery and intrigue.


 

Alternate Routes by Tim Powers

Genre: Science fiction, urban fantasy


Recommended by Sam:


A classic Hollywood noir shot through with myth, magic, history and legend. Endlessly inventive!



 

Bachelor Brother's Bed & Breakfast by Bill Richardson

Genre: Humor


Recommended by Patt P.:


Hector and Virgil, twin brothers, operate a B&B on an island. "Charming" is a word I avoid - but this will charm the living bejeebers out of you.


 

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Genre: Romance


Recommended by Kirsten:


I read romance for the emotional journey that the characters undergo, and this one is just perfect.


 

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Genre: Historical fiction


Recommended by Pat M.:


Award winning book (2013) translated in over 30 languages this is the story of Agnes who murdered her former master and was sent to an isolated farm in Iceland to await her execution. The stark landscape and the doom of her life depending on what others have told about her is riveting and hauntingly descriptive. 5 stars from me.


 

Circe by Madeline Miller

Genre: Historical fiction, Greek mythology, fantasy


Recommended by Kirsten:


I love a good retelling and this one does not disappoint.



 

Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat

Genre: Historical fiction


Recommended by Pat M.:


A spellbinding story of a girl living in a small seaside town, growing up without a mother that died at her childbirth. Her father feels she might be better off being raised by a shopkeeper that had lost a child. On Claire's 7th birthday he makes the gut-wrenching decision and she disappears. A tightly woven novel of what it means to be a parent, child, neighbor, lover, and friend.


 

Conclave by Robert Harris

Genre: Ecclesiastical thriller


Recommended by Sam:

The Pope is dead. Was he murdered?! No, it's not that kind of book. What this novel captures in such fascinating detail is the process of a papal conclave, the human drama that surrounds this secretive gathering and the ambitions of the men that will decide the future of the church. Plus the main character's name is Jacopo Lomeli, which is just a cool name. Building to an unexpected and moving ending, it is a book I heartily endorse. 5 out of 5!


 

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

Genre: Historical fiction


Recommended by Debbie M.:


One of many novels chronicling the McNulty family over generations in Ireland and the U.S. All are among the best books I've read in recent years.


 

The Dig by John Preston

Genre: Historical fiction


Recommended by Rocío:


This historical novel had me researching mound burials! It was also made into a very good film which I also recommend.



 

The Dutch House by Ann Patchet

Genre: Historical fiction


Recommended by Kira:


A heartbreaking story about a family wrenched apart by their connection to, or disdain for, a beautiful house. It made me think about how the spaces we occupy define our identities and even relationships to one another. The audiobook is read by Tom Hanks, making it especially enjoyable!


 

Either/Or by Elif Batuman

Genre: Contemporary fiction, coming-of-age story


Recommended by Debbie M.:


Sophomore year adventures of the heroine of 'The Idiot' (recommended below!)




 

French Braid by Anne Tyler

Genre: Historical fiction


Recommended by Kirsten:


I am a long-time fan of Tyler's and I love a good family saga.


 

The Girl from the Other Side: Siúl, a Rún by Nagabe

Genre: Dark fantasy, slice of life, mystery, manga


Recommended by Jack:


A dark fairytale with astonishing artwork. This story takes the time to slowly draw you into its world, creating familiarity and comfort in mundanity, allowing the drama to soar in contrast when the plot really starts to unfold. This deluxe edition is such a beautiful book, I really recommend it!


 

Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon

Genre: Historical fiction, romance, fantasy


Recommended by Rocío:


I mean, once you start how can you stop? This is book nine of ten planned volumes, and after nine volumes, the Outlander world is so crystal clear to me that I feel I am part of it...temporarily, at least!


 

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

Genre: High fantasy, fantasy of manners


Recommended by Jack:


Books that champion compassion and kindness can seem be hard to come by, and yet are so important! The protagonist, Maia, will be a character I will always remember - he is thrust into a cruel and deceitful world, and responds to it with heart and integrity. He's not perfect - nobody is - but he shows us that we always have a choice in how we act towards those around us.


 

The Greengage Summer by Rumer Godden

Genre: Historic fiction, coming-of-age story


Recommended by Patt P.:


This is one of my favourite books, by one of my favourite authors. A British family (sans père) are vacationing in France, after World War 2. The story is told by one of the children. Would you believe I've read it 5 times?


 

Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton

Genre: Science fiction, humor, fantasy


Recommended by Jenna:


ST, a pet crow, is very upset when he notices his owner & all the humans around him have turned into zombies. Now it's up to him & his dog friend Dennis to try to save humanity. Described as "The Secret Life of Pets meets the zombie apocalypse," this book is hilariously funny. In addition to the humor, it's often surprisingly profound & poignant. Favorite read of 2022!


 

Jade City by Fonda Lee

Genre: Urban fantasy


Recommended by Jenna:


The Godfather, but with magic kung fu. Jade City is the story of the Kaul family and their struggle for dominance over their rivals. The characters are memorable & very well written, the setting feels incredibly real, & the action scenes are excellent.


 

The Idiot by Elif Batuman

Genre: Contemporary fiction, coming-of-age story


Recommended by Debbie M.:


A sheltered Turkish-American girl arrives for her first year at Harvard. She studies linguistics, literature, philosophy and art and becomes obsessed with a boy she meets in Russian class.


 

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

Genre: Horror, fantasy


Recommended by Rocío:


An edge of your seat horror novel which paints merfolk in a merciless light.



 

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

Genre: Science fiction


Recommended by Debbie B.:


Like a Godzilla movie, but present-day and with much better dialog. And snark.


 

Knight Owl by Christopher Denise

Genre: Picture book, fantasy


Recommended by Debbie B.:


An adorable story about playing to your strengths and being your own person.


 

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Genre: Historical fiction, humor


Recommended by Kirsten:


I found this really difficult to put down, with engaging characters and a terrific storyline.


 

The Mask of Mirrors by M. A. Carrick

Genre: Dark fantasy


Recommended by Jenna:


Ren, a con-artist, plots to infiltrate the ranks of a noble house by posing as a long-lost cousin. She ends up with more than she bargained for as she becomes entangled in deadly plots that threaten the entire city. This is a rich, detailed fantasy full of intrigue. There’s also magic based on tarot and numerology!


 

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

Genre: Science fiction, space opera, mystery, LGBTQ


Recommended by Jack:


Martine takes the time to fully flesh out her world, filled with a wonderful attention to detail that make the world, the characters, and consequences for actions feel immediately and intimately believable. This is such a rollercoaster of a book!


 

Messy Roots by Laura Gao

Genre: Autobiography, graphic novel, young adult


Recommended by Rocío:


Well paced graphic novel about a first-generation American and the ties that bind.



 

Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher

Genre: Fantasy, horror


Recommended by Debbie B.:


An engrossing story about learning what lengths you'll go to in order to protect your family. But funny, somehow.


 

The Overnight by Ramsey Campbell

Genre: Horror


Recommended by Sam:


As a chain bookstore prepares for an overnight book stocking session, things may not be as they seem... Sorry, that is all I'll tell you!! :)


 

The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller

Genre: Contemporary fiction, romance


Recommended by Kira:


This is an interesting, engaging novel about fraught family dynamics in the 1960s, a tragedy related to sexual assault, and how it affects the family in modern times at their summer home - the Paper Palace.


 

The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure

Genre: Historical fiction


Recommended by Denny:


I had initially read this book a few years ago and reread it in 2022 as one of the books for my book group. During the Nazi occupation of Paris, an architect is recruited to design temporary hiding places for Jews being transported to safety. The story of the architect is pure fiction but it still causes the reader to ask "What would I do in the same situation? Would I risk my life to save others?"


 

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Genre: Post-apocalyptic fiction


Recommended by Kira:


I wanted to find out why this book won the Pulitzer, and in fact, I couldn't put it down. I like post-apocalyptic books to see how authors project how survivors would make do. The main character and his son just barely eke out food, shelter and safety, which McCarthy expresses in an appropriately sparse, matter-of-fact writing style.


 

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

Genre: Memoir, travel


Recommended by Denny:


I read this book soon after returning from a trip to England that included walking along a portion of the stunningly beautiful south west coast path. This account of the couple that opted to walk the entire 650 mile path after a terminal diagnosis and the loss of their farm and livelihood shed a totally different light on my experience on the path.


 

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

Genre: Science fiction


Recommended by Pat M.:


Mandel's 6th novel and one of speculative fiction, this novel explores what is reality. Combining time travel, love and a plague it takes readers on a journey from Vancouver Island in 1912 to a dark colony on the moon. I would recommend reading The Glass Hotel first and enjoy this study of survival and what makes the world real.


 

Season of Love by Helena Greer

Genre: Romance, LGBTQ, holiday fiction


Recommended by Debbie B.:


A holiday romance that subverts all the usual tropes and includes holidays other than Christmas. I can't wait for the next book in the series!


 

Shy: The Alarmingly Outspoken Memoirs of Mary Rodgers by Mary Rodgers and Jesse Green

Genre: Memoir


Recommended by Kirsten:


This is compulsively readable if you know even a tiny bit about American theater. Hilarious, plain-spoken, brash, tragic - this book has a little of everything.


 

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

Genre: Young adult, fantasy


Recommended by Jenna:


Set in an African-inspired world, a princess & a refugee must contend with trickster gods, strange magic, & a tournament of champions. Both protagonists are complex characters willing to act ruthlessly in pursuit of their goals, keeping the tension high. This book also features an excellent portrayal of mental illness.


 

A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows

Genre: Fantasy, romance, LGBTQ


Recommended by Debbie B.:


Excellent world building and lots of intrigue. Also there's romance between two people who mostly know how to communicate!


 

This Is Happiness by Niall Williams

Genre: Historical Fiction


Recommended by Debbie M.:


A charming novel about the coming of electricity to a small town of the western coast of Ireland.



 

Uncomfortable Conversations With A Black Boy by Emmanuel Acho

Genre: Juvenile non-fiction, race, social justice


Recommended by Rocío:


Great answers to difficult questions.


 

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Fantasy


Recommended by Jenna:


Two sisters struggle to adapt after finding themselves in situations they are totally unprepared for. Add a magic system based on color & a resurrected god who doubts his own divinity & things get wild! Warbreaker is a great entry point for anyone thinking of getting into Sanderson’s sprawling Cosmere universe.


 

We Don't Know Ourselves by Fintan O'Toole

Genre: Autobiography


Recommended by Debbie M.:


"A Personal History of Modern Ireland" from 1958 to the present, from a third-world country to the "Celtic Tiger" and beyond.



 

Wendy, Darling by A. C. Wise

Genre: Historical Fantasy


Recommended by Rocío:


A new look at the Neverland universe, because we all felt that Peter Pan wasn't really on the up & up, didn't we?!



 

Wild Horses of the Summer Sun by Tory Bilski

Genre: Autobiography, travel


Recommended by Pat M.:


Every year the author goes to Northern Iceland to a unique farm only she was allowed with a few friends. Love Iceland, was supposed to travel there in 2019, then COVID. Loved riding horses since I was four years old. This book painted the scenery and history of Iceland I have longed for and gave me the spiritual rides I still enjoy.


 

Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden

Genre: Thriller, mystery


Recommended by Kira:


This book is more than a thriller; it's also a profile of contemporary life on an Indian reservation and the many challenges reservation tribes face. I like how the characters are not just "Indian" or "white" but also complicated individuals with integrity, flaws and a sense of humor. Darrell Dennis, the reader of the audiobook, conveys the perfect tone for this story!


 

World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler

Genre: Post-apocalyptic fiction


Recommended by Patt P.:


Could be described as "speculative" or a post-apocalyptic novel set in Union Grove, NY. Thought provoking. A story of hope, determination and the will to survive, in a "world made by hand"


 

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou by Hitoshi Ashinano

Genre: Slice of life, science fiction, post-apocalypse, manga


Recommended by Jack:


One of the most special, heartfelt things I've ever had the luxury of reading! All things pass, but even in that there is endless wonder, beauty, and delightful cosiness.


 

You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar

Genre: Biography, humor


Recommended by Rocío:


Humor taking the edge off of preposterous situations, while opening my eyes even more to the barrage of indignities placed upon a good part of our population.


 


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