I’ve written holiday book roundups for a lot of years – 2021, 2020, 2019. 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012. Old posts include lots of children’s books, if you are looking for that!
Today I want to share the books I’ve loved most in 2022. It is my firm view that books make the best gift (pity my godchildren), so if you’re in the market for that, these would all be good ideas!
Bewilderment, Richard Powers – A gorgeous book about family and amazement and the things that matter the most. Warning: this is very sad. Powers’ last novel, The Overstory, was my favorite the year I read it. The books are very different but share a deep sense of awe about the natural world.
Notes on an Execution, Danya Kukafka – I couldn’t stop thinking about this book after I finished it. I’m a true crime follower and I found this investigation of the person behind brutality profoundly compelling.
Sea of Tranquility, Emily St. John Mandel -This novel, which reminded me of my 2021 favorite (Cloud Cuckoo Land), is futiristic and has elements of sci fi (a genre people are often surprised to learn I like). I found it spare and powerful and beautiful.
Lessons in Chemistry, Bonnie Garmus – Let me start by saying the cover of this book did not, for me, represent what is a strong story about feminism, intelligence, and pushing forward in the face of a world that’s not really ready for you. Also, best fictional dog I met this year: Six Thirty.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, Gabrielle Zevin – This book might have been the biggest surprise of the year for me. It’s about video game developers – a world I don’t know anything about and would not have told you is a real interest. And it is also the most beautiful character story about the way we love people in so many different ways, about passion and the ways the past echos into the present.
Lost & Found, Kathryn Schultz – This is my favorite book of the year. Schultz writes gorgeously about the loss of her father, the near-simultaneous finding of her wife, and about the critical, indelible ways the two interact (my favorite section of the book is the third – “&”) to create a richer experience of both. This memoir is about nothing less than life itself.
In Love, Amy Bloom – Amy Bloom writes with unflinching intimacy about her husband’s decision to end his own life in the face of a terminal diagnosis. Cliche alert, but also a truth: this is a book about death that sheds new light on life.
Bomb Shelter, Mary Laura Philpott – This book made me laugh and it made me nod in understanding. Philpott excavates the terror and the sublime and the mundane that coexist in every day of adulthood, parenthood, personhood. I loved this book.
Left on Tenth, Delia Ephron – A very different story than Philpott’s, but also one that gives us an up close view of life’s roller coaster, and, like Schultz’s memoir, Ephron’s talks about the ways that the hardest and best things in life can often – by coincidence or by necessity? – coexist.
What are your favorite books you’ve read this year?