2022 in books: 18431 pages and counting!
My highlights from this year’s reads.
Since my brother convinced me to download GoodReads, the app does most of my bookish wrap-up of the year for me.
And while we still have a week in the year in which I might or might not finish the multiple books I’m reading, the app has already recapped the past year of reading.
My reading “goal”
I downloaded the app in 2020 and set a very random goal for my reading challenge: 63 books. I honestly don’t remember how I came up with it but I did manage to read 63 books, finishing the last one on December 31st.
For 2021, I aimed for 78 and read 52. Even though I fell slightly short, I didn’t really mind. It’s never been a hard-core goal. I read for the pleasure of reading, but I like setting the goal as a frame of reference.
This year, I decided to aim for 63 again, of which I’ve managed to read 49. Not too bad.
I was far more impressed by the fact that it counts the number of pages read: 18431. It sounds like a lot does it not?
GoodReads also tells you which of your books was the most and least shelved on the app. Understanding “shelved” as people adding it to “Want to read”, “Currently reading”, or “Read”.
The most shelved out of this year’s books: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (shelved by 3495371 people). It’s the first of her books I’ve read, and I’ve added some of her other novels to my TBR as a consequence. It took me a minute to get into it but I did get hooked, and in the end, I got pretty attached to the characters.
The least shelved was “I hope you find me” by Alan Feuer (shelved by 1138 people). Short and different, this little book is a collection of Craigslist messages turned poems by journalist Alan Feuer. He takes these Craiglist messages, and by adding line and stanza breaks turns them into poems that are mostly funny, often strange, and sometimes heartbreaking.
My average rating is 3.9 stars, so I guess I’ve gotten a little more demanding than in the past. Overall, it’s a pretty good recap, albeit an incomplete one.
It says nothing of the diversity of genres and topics which I’m actually quite proud of. I’ve always liked reading widely, I think it’s good for my writing among other things.
It says nothing of my attempt to read in different languages, (starting an Italian novel I’ve yet to finish and managing to finish two in Spanish.)
It says nothing of the books that I felt found me at the best time to read them, and it doesn’t highlight my favorites. So I’ll take this opportunity to do just that.
I find it very hard to rank them as they are all quite different, but here are some of my favorites from this year:
- The Anatomy of Anxiety by Ellen Vora: A doctor that talks to you like your best friend would, I liked how Vora was able to explain medical things in everyday terms. She invites us to see that while anxiety can lead to negative effects on our body, our body and environment can also lead to anxiety. It’s a two-way street.
- The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St Clair: this book tells the fun and often strange stories behind 75 different shades and hues. A great invitation to see everyday colors through different eyes.
- Nabokov’s Favorite word is Mauve by Ben Blatt: Not sure how I came across this one, but I’m glad I did. Blatt leveraged data analysis on thousands of books to answer questions such as: if our favorite authors follow conventional writing advice about using adverbs and exclamation points; if men and women write differently; which words were most commonly used by famous authors and other similar queries. I highly recommend it for readers and writers. (You can find a bit more info in this post)
- Conversations on Love by Natasha Lunn: In this collection of interviews with authors and relationship experts, Lunn looks at love and relationships in the broadest sense. I really liked how she articulated different ideas about love, definitely a book that leaves you with something to think about.
- Anxious People by Fredrik Backman: a fun read with a great message. It is a comedy about a bank robbery that goes wrong and ends up connecting eight anxious strangers.
- The People We Keep by Allison Larkin: One of the books I feel found me at the perfect time to read them. With beautiful lyrical writing, The People We Keep is about a young songwriter trying to find a home in the world.
- With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo: I loved Acevedo’s writing in this young adult fiction, and how she made it so easy to care for her characters. The story follows a teenage mom who loves to cook and how she chases her dreams in the face of multiple challenges.
Memoir & Autobiography
- The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony: Apparently, it was the highest rated on Good Reads of all the books I read this year. This memoir is Anthony’s account of how he rescued and rehabilitated a group of wild South African elephants who were deemed dangerous. I found it to be an exciting read and learned a lot about the huge mammals.
- (Currently reading Oliver Sacks “On the Move” and Agatha Christie’s biography by Lucy Worsley, which both seem quite promising.)
- The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow: A quest, different worlds, lyrical prose. There was a lot to love in this novel.
- The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd: This one reminded me a bit of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. I found it a quick and fun read, and also learned about Paper Towns, which I knew nothing about.
- The Invisible Life of Addie Larue: Left the best for last (?) This one is probably my favorite from the whole year. I fell in love with V.E. Schwab’s lyrical style as soon as I started reading, and shortly after with the story itself.
Missing from this list are the books responding to my latest obsession: untranslatable words. But those I’ve written about in a different post ;)
Always looking for book recommendations
My TBR is way too long, but I’m always happy to add a few more. So let me know, what were your favorite reads from this year?