It’s New Year’s Eve and my 2022 Goodreads Challenge is sitting at 63/60 books.
I won… reading? I guess? Never mind.
My reading year has been quite mixed, with my ratings landing across the one-to-five-star range. However, when looking back at the 63 books, I can see that there were several very strong five-star ratings – the kind that makes you wish there was a sixth star…
To avoid confusion, this is not a list of books published in 2022 – it is a list of my favourite books that I happened to read in 2022 as part of my Goodreads challenge. Some were published in 2022, some (much) earlier, but they all went into my eyeballs/earholes within 2022. And I loved them!
I gave each of these five stars on Goodreads and I really couldn’t put them in order of preference, because they are from various genres and I loved them all for different reasons. Therefore, I have just listed them in the order that I read them throughout the year.
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The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse (Charlie Mackesy)
This book is beyond beautiful. The illustrations alone are stunning in their simplicity, but the gentle wisdom and kindness of the words will stay with me forever.
I think everyone should read this book, but especially so if you:
- are feeling sad or frustrated
- need a pick-me-up
- want to feel cosy
- struggle with low self-worth/self-love
- feel a bit lost
I’m so glad I chose this book to kick off my 2022 reading challenge.
I’m sure this book will be one that I dip into regularly to soothe my often messy mind. My brain feels calmer and my heart softer for reading it.
Too Much and Never Enough: How my family created the world’s most dangerous man (Mary L. Trump)
I went into this book knowing it would be anger-inducing. It was. What I didn’t know, was that it would be so devastatingly sad.
I think the author did a great job laying out the timeline of events, from both how the public perceived them, and how things were unfolding from within the family. As far as I can tell, she has worked really hard to remain as objective as possible (as difficult as that was), but hearing her personal perception and opinions was also interesting. Her analysis of the history of the family (right back to her great-grandparents) and the current-day consequences on individuals, the US, and even the world, is insightful and thought-provoking.
The audiobook version is read by the author, which adds to the feeling of authenticity and conviction behind the words.
I would note content warnings for abuse, coercive control, death, addiction/alcoholism, homophobia, racism, sexism, misogyny, use of slurs, and other related topics.
The Flatshare (Beth O’Leary)
I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying… Okay I’m definitely crying. I loved this book.
I loved the alternating POVs and I found both protagonists incredibly likeable and relatable. There are several subplots that weave seamlessly throughout the book.
The author also balances some hilarious rom-com with more serious topics. She handles these with another careful balance of authenticity and sensitivity. It’s not an easy task to do this, but I think she does a great job at broaching subjects like coercive control, abuse, consent, and racism in a way that makes the reader think. She steers clear of invalidating or making light of these topics, and also covers them thoroughly, without creating sensationalised “trauma-p*rn”.
Radio Silence (Alice Oseman)
When I reviewed this book immediately after reading it, I was so emotional that I could only use emojis.
As a queer, autistic millennial with lived experience of mental illness, this book spoke to me on a *spiritual* level. Welcome to Night Vale references? Tumblr code phrases? Identity crises? Coming out? Vans (shoes)?
I AM HOME.
I was utterly transported to my teenage years… I just wish I’d had friends like the characters in this book at the time.
Not Quite Narwhal (Jessie Sima)
Although just a short children’s book, Not Quite a Narwhal is so outrageously wholesome that I couldn’t leave it off this list. The story is great for teaching children about how to be comfortable being themselves… and at least in my case, adults too!
Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold (Stephen Fry)
Stephen Fry’s razor-sharp wit coupled with the endlessly entertaining stories of Greek mythology, made this a really enjoyable read. I love how Fry structured the book so that it felt comprehensive without being overwhelming.
I listened to this audio version (narrated by Fry himself) and I also read along with a hardback copy. I did this because I wanted to be able to connect the spelling and pronunciation of the names mentioned in the book. At one point, I tried just listening to the audiobook without the physical version, and I found that I wasn’t taking in the names in a way that I could visualise or remember.
Unfortunately, my library only had an older hardback version of this book, so there were a few differences between that and the audio version, but this wasn’t too much of a problem. I may well buy myself a copy of this book to return to another time, as I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Speak of the Devil: How The Satanic Temple is Changing the Way We Talk about Religion (Joseph P. Laycock)
This book was a fascinating read. There is so much to digest, but in a very accessible format. Compelling insights not only into The Satanic Temple itself, but also religion and religious freedom as wider topics.
All the tangents and intersections and side-notes could have made this book 5000 pages long, but the author does a great job of being concise without losing too much detail.
Provocative and challenging without slipping into condescension. This gave me a lot to think about. I think it’s a must-read for people of all faiths and none.
Heartstopper: Volume One (Alice Oseman)
I just happened to see a copy of this graphic novel in my local library today. Knowing that I loved Radio Silence so much, I picked it up. I sat down to read a few pages and accidentally ended up reading it all in one sitting.
I absolutely *love* Nick and Charlie as characters, and I was genuinely annoyed that I didn’t have Volume 2 immediately to hand to start reading straight away! Beautiful LGBTQ+ representation with a simple yet captivating story.
Another smash hit from Alice Oseman.
Galatea (Madeline Miller)
Flippin’ heck, this is powerful. A creative reimagining of an ancient story. I was immediately swept up by the mythology and magical atmosphere of the story and how this juxtaposed against the brutality of events as they unfolded.
Every word feels deliberate and poised. The tension rumbles from the outset, accelerating to a kind of frenzy that leaves the reader breathless.
An enchanting, chilling, beautiful, repulsive, captivating, heart-breaking, and thought-provoking read.
Welcome to St. Hell: My Trans Teen Misadventure (Lewis Hancox)
I used to watch Lewis’s videos where he did parody skits of him and his mum, and I’ve always thought he was hilarious. This graphic memoir is equally hilarious, yet simultaneously raw and authentic about his experiences as a trans teen and later, a trans man.
Present-Lewis tries to pass on wisdom and encouragement to Past-Lewis (then known as Lois) and reflects on the experiences (good, bad, and anywhere in-between) that made him who he is today.
I would 100% recommend this book to pretty much anyone, but particularly to teens who are questioning their gender identity, and also to adults who have a trans/questioning teen in their life. Lewis is brutally honest about his own feelings throughout his journey, but also illustrates many of the interactions, worries, arguments, misunderstandings, surprises, confusions (etc) of those around him, including his parents, friends, fellow students, acquaintances, doctors, bosses, and others.
A very uplifting read and I loved the art style too. Five stars.
That’s all folks!
So as you can see, my Goodreads Challenge included some absolute gems this year! If you would like to check out all the books I read this year, you can find them on my Goodreads page by clicking here. You can also check out my To Read shelf for some of the books I’d like to read in 2023 and beyond.
You can also sign up to Goodreads to track your reading activity and interact with other bookworms. Join me in setting a reading goal for 2023 if you like!
Over to you!
Have you read any of the books on this list?
Do you agree or disagree with any of my comments?
What was your favourite read of this year?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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