Part of our New Years goal and wrap up is taking a look back at all the books I've read in the year and categorizing them. While I'm reading, I keep titles in a Google Keep list with the dates I complete them. Then, at the end of the year, I put it all into my journal.
This wasn't a banner year for reading # of books, compared to past years. I read 77 books, which is low by at least 23 titles. And, when I went through them all, I wasn't as excited about them. I did have some longer books that were out of character for me and I had decided I didn't care if I read fewer books because of the choices I made, but sometimes those were also somewhat less enjoyable.
Here are my numbers (categories have some overlap so they won't add up to 77):
Total books: 77
Months with most books read: January and December, each with 9
Months with least books read: March and May, each with 4
Graphic Novel: 1
Realistic Fiction: 6
Historical Fiction: 7
Books Bryce Bought Me: 10
Nonfiction (essays and informational): 11
Young Adult: 13
Books by Diverse Authors/Themes of Diversity/Diverse Characters: 30
I had a couple stinkers in there. I almost abandoned Where the Bird Sings Best by Alejandro Jodorowsky (at one point I thought I was going to make a tally for how many times the word "pubis" was used) but then hit that point where if I abandoned it all the time I'd spent reading it would have been wasted. I kept hoping for it to get better. It didn't. Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney annoyed the heck out of me. I found it derivative and lazy, and felt that the author peppered the text with little sayings that were supposed to be "very deep thoughts" but it was like being interrupted by a million bumper stickers while reading.
In terms of best books, there were actually quite a few, and it's really hard to put them in order. I wanted to keep going, but these were the ones that grabbed me first.
1) The Book of Delights by Ross Gay which I've already reviewed. It was, to be cheesy, simply delightful. (Essays)
2) Without Children: The Long History of Not Being a Mother by Peggy O'Donnell Heffington. A post is forthcoming dedicated to this amazing book that will be out in April 2023. I got an advance copy from my favorite small indie bookstore, and WOW. So much good stuff there. Next post is all about it!
3) The Aosawa Murders by Riku Onda. A really cool concept breaking down a horrific murder mystery through interviews. Well written and thinky.
4) The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera. This is a Newbury Award Winner for YA fiction and is a really inventive speculative fiction book that also weaves in Mexican folklore. It's also a really satisfying compact hardcover format (just feels good in your hands). It feels a little Don't Look Up plus The Giver and has just really great storytelling in it.
5) They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera. Gorgeous. Interesting concept. I wept openly when I finished it even though DYING IS IN THE TITLE. It's not a spoiler! But it was just gorgeously emotional.
6) The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey. Oh wow, so inventive and a mix of twisty + sci-fi. To describe it is to ruin some of the wonder. There is a pregnancy pretty prominently featured but it didn't bother me in this context. A thinker.
7) Everything Is OK by Debbie Tung. A beautiful graphic novel memoir (or memoir told in comics?) that is part inspirational, part a delving into the experience of living with severe depression and anxiety.
8) Little Weirds by Jenny Slate. Yup, they were little weird essays, but man, I related. They were funny and heartwarming and strange. I adore Jenny Slate and I adored her more after reading this book.
9) The Hacienda by Isabel Canas. Straight up one of the creepiest books I read this year, and full of Mexican history. It felt a little like a combo of The Thornbirds, Jane Eyre, and The Haunting of Hill House. So good.
10) The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix. I avoided this one forever because it was "popular" and I saw it everywhere. Oh man, was it fun. It was unexpected and quirky, sometimes creepy, and altogether a delight.
For this next year, I want to read books I want to read, and I'm going to abandon ones that don't feel right to me so I can read the ones that are enjoyable. I'm going to aim to read one Bryce Pick a month, minimum. He got me some really good ones for Christmas and I have a bit of a back catalog going of unreads from him. Other than that, I want to continue diversifying my reading lists.
What were your favorites of 2022?
Want to read some #Microblog Mondays, perhaps ones that qualify as Micro? Go here and enjoy!