Another year has come to an end so I’m taking a look back at what, how and where I read and shopped in 2022, shouting out my favourites and sharing my Storygraph stats. I managed to get through loads of books this year either from winding down before bed or keeping me company on my travels! This was also a year of two lovely book clubs which brought me variety and interesting conversations over a bottle of wine, which obviously I’ve really enjoyed.
A new challenge I set myself this year (inspired by Leena Norms), was picking books from my shelf that related to each other in some way and reading them consecutively. This year’s themes included queer books, books with magical realism, a lot about the Trojan war and Greek mythology retellings in general, and of course, the annual spooky books in honour of the szn. I’ve really rated reading on theme as it makes tbr decision-making easier and means I can get really deep into one particular vibe.
Some of this year’s book-ish highlights have been visiting the gorgeous Leakey’s up in Inverness, reading by the Jardin de Tuileries fountain in the sun and the State Library Victoria in Melbourne which is just stunning. I had a great time hunting through charity shops for xmas presents this year and started a new tradition with my mum and sister of going to second-hand shops together and searching for a book in each shop to gift the other two people (instead of buying brand new books). It was a really cute day, we each got 6 books out of it and I only ended up spending around £15 per person.
As for the books I read and loved, here are some of the highlights I’d like to shout out with very brief compliments (I’ll leave you to look up the blurbs yourself).
1. Ace by Angela Chen is a really interesting exploration of desire and sexuality that is enlightening and makes you reconsider your assumptions. For me, it had to be read in tandem with a notebook so I could journal about the thoughts it brought up as I re-evaluated my experiences thinking about how elements of the book applied.
2. Ariadne by Jennifer Saint was a really lovely time. I read it in the park when the sun first came out for spring which added to the enjoyment. It’s a very easy and quick read – good if you enjoy Greek myth re-tellings but I would say not quite as good as Madeline Miller’s books which are my faves. (Finally, f you Theseus).
3. Lady Sings the Blues by Billie Holiday was equally entertaining as it was heartbreaking, the way it’s written feels so conversational, it’s as if Billie is actually there telling you the story in person. It’s a period of history we all know a lot about in theory but hearing a real account of how it felt was fascinating.
4. The Women of Troy by Pat Barker unpacks the stories and perspectives of different female characters in the stories surrounding the battle of troy. I loved hearing each of their unique voices and thought it was very well written. Pat Barker is great and this was the highlight of my Troy books.
5. Build Your House Around My Body by Violet Kupersmith was a really unique book, unlike anything else I’ve read. I found it strange, mysterious and intriguing, so it was hard to put down. Initially, I had borrowed this one from the library but after finishing it went out to buy my own copy, so that’s a good sign.
6. Autumn by Ali Smith was such a gentle book which I went into with no expectations. Naturally, I read it in autumn, my favourite season. I really enjoyed the relationships between the characters and the way their story was told. It made them all very likeable and I look forward to continuing the series.
7. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami was a weird time but I really enjoyed it. It was such a trip you never really knew what was real or where it was going to go, even when it looked like things were lining up – very compelling. Down for some more Murakami so I’ll take recommendations.
8. Misery by Stephen King was (rightly) terrifying because it’s so plausible. It’s not the spooky szn if I don’t dip in to some more King and despite having heard so many references about this one, I was still disturbingly surprised by some of the things that happened.
9. 10 Minutes and 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak was a total gem and I’m so glad we picked it for book club. I had heard lots of good things about Shafak before and now I totally get it. It was a really unique book and despite handling so many sad things, the overall vibe was very hopeful.
10. Pandora’s Jar by Natalie Haynes I realise is pretty similar to The Women of Troy, except it’s non-fiction – what can I say? I know what I like. Haynes unpacks how the different versions of the same greek stories has changed the way we think of these famous women from the myths.
And finally, here are the stats from my Storygraph in 2022.
I kept up a pretty steady pace all year long, with a slight dip in May while I was on holiday.
I remain consistently into reflective, emotional and dark books
None of these pie charts particularly surprise me although I’d like to try and read some more non-fiction options next year to balance that chart out a bit more. The big book fear continues, which is why those are audiobooks.
Overall I think it’s been a pretty strong year with some great picks and quite a few new all-time favourites added to my library.
So yeah… that’s a wrap – thank you to all the lovely people who make books happen and to all my pals who recommend lovely things to read. Here’s to more great books in 2023!
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