I know I might well fit another one or two reads into 2022, but I didn’t want to wait any longer to do my round-up of the year. And I know 17 is a strange number, but I couldn’t bear to drop any of the titles I’d chosen to make a nice round 16 or (god forbid) 15. My blog, my rules.
I went into 2022 cautiously optimistic - I had an absolute shocker mental health-wise in 2021, but right at the end I finally got the right medication and was embarking on the right therapy. And you know what? It’s been alright, actually.
This year, I got promoted and made some bang-up webpages at work, went to Primadonna Festival (first time camping in my life - I’m not exactly a convert, but in this case it was worth it), read out a short story at Emotional Madness (there’s another show in January), and was on the A Hug from the Moon podcast.
But I also underwent my first ever dental surgeries (a root canal, followed by an extraction because the tooth was too far gone), took my arm out of action for a few weeks by faceplanting while running for a bus, and this week, I finally got covid. I’m lucky - it’s just been like a heavy cold in my case. Still, 1/10, would not recommend.
I’ve mostly been listening to Silversun Pickups, playing Wingspan, and streaming shows about characters much younger than myself (Derry Girls, We Are Lady Parts, Heartstopper, High School, Wednesday).
In 2023, I’m going to be more intentional with my writing. I also expect I’ll continue to add more books to my TBR than I manage to complete.
I went absolutely wild for short fiction this year, spanning the range from a tad quirky/unsettling to full-blown horror.
I read quite a few collections, but the work of Daisy Johnson (Fen), Shirley Jackson (The Lottery and other stories, Gemma Seltzer (Ways of Living), and C. J. Tudor (A Sliver of Darkness) particularly had me going ‘yes, this is the writing I aspire to. I want to be this author’.
Meanwhile, Close to Midnight, edited by Mark Morris, is one of those rare beasts: an anthology with no duds. Though there are, of course, stories in it that especially stuck in my mind and made me think ‘I want to write something like that’.
I love a well-written, good-quality memoir. Not only am I fascinated by other people’s experiences but (nerd alert) I enjoy thinking about how the writer has approached and constructed it, what lenses they’re viewing their past experiences through, and what wider messages they convey by telling their story.
A Normal Family, by Chrysta Bilton, Cold Fish Soup, by Adam Farrer, and Without Warning & Only Sometimes, by Kit de Waal stood out to me for being especially interesting, sophisticated, well-written, and entertaining.
Books from new and new-to-me authors
You know when you’re reading a book, and the whole time you’re like ‘wow, I love this, this is amazing and will definitely be on my best-of-the-year list’?
These are five of them, four by debut authors (The Seawomen, by Chloe Timms, Peach Blossom Spring, by Melissa Fu, The Flames, by Sophie Haydock, and The Porcelain Doll, by Kristen Loesch) and one by an author whose other books I hadn’t read (Dashboard Elvis is Dead, by David F. Ross).
New and new-to-me books from favourite authors
More ‘wow’ books, this time from authors I was already familiar with. A new Kate Atkinson book is always a treat, and I found Shrines of Gaiety to be no exception.
I enjoyed Villager, by Tom Cox so much that I read it twice in as many months so I could fully do it justice on the blog tour!
Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman had been on my TBR since the TV series came out in 2019, and I was kicking myself for not getting around to it for so long.
The Book of Form & Emptiness, by Ruth Ozeki, was the first book I finished in 2022 and an honourable mention in last year’s list as I started reading it a year ago today and knew I wouldn’t finish it in 2021.
I feel like I should add here: a few of my favourite authors have brought out new books this year but I haven’t got round to buying/reading them yet! So they may well be on my 2023 list.