22 Superlatives // 2022

When I reflect back on my 2022 reading, it doesn’t feel like a standout year. I felt like a lot of the books published this year were ok – but the ones I enjoyed, I really liked! I had a lot of success in my backlist reading, and many of them will be on my Top 10 list for 2022!

This was a lot of fun to create and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! (Any book I read this year was eligible regardless of publication date.) I’d love if you left me a comment telling me where we agree…and where we disagree!

If you’d like to catch up on the other “Best of…” posts, here are the links: 2021, 2020, and 2019.!

My Favorite Fiction Book of the Year

I have to say that picking my favorite fiction book of the year has been very difficult for me because the ones at the top, I really, really loved. As hard as it was to name a “favorite”, I think I’m going to go with The Measure because it’s the one book I’ve thought the most about since reading it. I think Nikki Erlick brought up a ton of perspectives I wouldn’t have even thought of and, as I was listening to this on audio, I had to pause it so many times and just sit with my thoughts and determine how I felt about Erlick’s points. The Measure was thought-provoking, relevant, and memorable.

Honorable Mentions: Demon Copperhead, The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois, and Greenwood

My Favorite Nonfiction Book of the Year

I really appreciated McGhee’s well laid thesis in The Sum of Us: How Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together about how zero sum policies hurt US ALL – whether you’re Black or white, rich or poor, immigrant or born citizens. This book is smart and timely and has information that we can all benefit from reading, digesting, and implementing.

Honorable Mentions: Tiny Beautiful Things, These Precious Days, The Distance Between Us, Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism, and Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Private Investigation

Book I’d Like To Reread ASAP

Hell of a Book is a slow burn that left me completely speechless. It’s sharp and I would love to reread it knowing what I now know to see how it changes the overall story for me..

Honorable Mentions: Trust and Nightcrawling

Book I Couldn’t Put Down

Greenwood was a book I saw a couple years ago with rave reviews, but I was intimidated by the synopsis. I shouldn’t have been because it was absolutely brilliant and will now live on my All-Time Favorites Shelf!

Honorable Mentions: The Measure, The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois, and Demon Copperhead

Most Underrated

The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois was published last year, but I am disappointed that it isn’t a book I see around more often. It is a total masterpiece, and even though it’s long, I would have read it if it were another 800 pages. I loved every second I spent in this story and reflect back on it all the time.

Honorable Mentions: The View Was Exhausting and Yerba Buena

Most Overrated

I know there are many that sing the praises of I’m Glad My Mom Died, but I am not one of them. There wasn’t much I liked from this book and I should have realized it from the title alone. I have compassion for McCurdy’s awful childhood and horrific mother, but I also didn’t like her narrative voice, the way she told her story, or her arc as the story progressed. I know we’re not supposed to “judge” a memoir or a person’s experiences, but this one got under my skin in a really bad way.

Honorable Mentions: The Violin Conspiracy, Carrie Soto Is Back, Our Missing Hearts, The Marriage Portrait, and Unlikely Animals

Best Memoir

Finding Me is a late addition to these superlatives as I just finished the book yesterday! The audio book is narrated by Davis herself and it’s absolutely incredible. I was engaged in her story from the beginning, and I will add this to my list of celebrity memoirs worth reading!

Honorable Mentions: Bomb Shelter, Solito, Tell Me Everything, Men We Reaped, Speak, and Corrections In Ink

Most Unique Storyline

Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies is a story about cancer taking over a woman’s body – and that story being told from the cancer’s perspective. Having lost my own mama to cancer, this book gave me a lot of persective on what it may have been like for her.

Honorable Mentions: Hell of a Book, Naamah, and Notes On an Execution

Best Coming-of-Age

Few books can compare to Demon Copperhead for me, and Demon is a character I will never forget. Growing up in the Appalachian mountains during the opiod crisis, Demon has a lot of loss in his life. He must grow up fast, and because he is lacking some real adult influences in his life, he makes a fair amount of mistakes. This was an epic journey that ended on a hopeful note, and it was one of my absolute favorite books of the year!

Honorable Mentions: This Tender Land and Brown Girls

Most Distressing

When Zamora is left under the protection of coyotes to get him to the United States from El Salvador, the trip was only supposed to take two weeks. It ended up taking nine…and Zamora was only nine years old! Solito is Zamora’s account of that journey and it brought me to tears at times, definitely pulled at my mama heartstrings, and gave me so much to think about. 

Honorable Mentions: The Displacements, Against a Loveless World, and The Family Game

Best Debut

Nightcrawling was written by nineteen-year-old Leila Mottley which is shocking in and of itself. But her talent is mind-blowing and totally made this a book that stood out to me, even though I read it clear back in July. Based loosely on real-life events within the Oakland Police Department, Mottley mesmerized me with her writing and I am hopeful for what she writes next!

Honorable Mentions: Migrations, The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois, Black Cake, Who Is Maud Dixon?, Brown Girls, My Monticello, Olga Dies Dreaming, Lessons in Chemistry, Memphis, The View Was Exhausting, Yerba Buena, Nightcrawling, and The Measure

Best Audio

There’s a strong chance I would have enjoyed Carrie Soto Is Back more had I listened to it! Towards the end, I was eager to finish the book so I finished it on audio and it was so much better than print! The news-like introductions to the chapters, complete with music that felt like you were tuned into ESPN made it a much more immersive experience.

Honorable Mentions: These Precious Days, Demon Copperhead, Speak, and Finding Me

Best Cover

There were so many great covers this year (and the recent past), but the cover for Migrations was so captivating, that I immediately bought it off the shelf! It perfectly encapsulated the setting and themes of the story, and I love it so much!

Honorable Mentions: Black Cake, Bomb Shelter, Lessons in Chemistry, and Signal Fires

Book That Broke My Heart

I read sadder books than Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, but the ups and downs of friendships portrayed by Zevin in the three main characters’ lives has really stuck with me. There are layers to relationships, and if you’re lucky enough to weather the various storms, it creates a love and loyalty hard to find anywhere else. I loved the platonic frienship aspect of this book!

Honorable Mentions: Demon Copperhead, Nightcrawling, Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies, Against the Loveless World, and Solito

Most ’22 Book of 2022

Our Missing Hearts wasn’t a real hit with me, but it definitely felt like a 2022 kind of book. Full of political undertones and metaphors, it felt like Ng was warning us of what’s to come if we remain on the trajectory we’re currently on.

Honorable Mentions: Mad Honey, The Displacements, and Such a Pretty Girl

Started Slow But Picked Up

I honestly thougth about DNFing Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, but somewhere along the way, I became completely immersed and couldn’t put it down. I just had to know how it all came together!

Honorable Mentions: These Precious Days

Most Eye-opening

Demon Copperhead opened my eyes to the devastation that the opoid crisis has ravaged on the Appalachian mountains area. Families are torn apart and children are left to fend for themselves in a corrupt and lonely foster system. The sheer amount of people affected by this drug was heartbreaking, and gave those of us who are removed from this lifestyle a grim look at the reality of what’s going happening around our country.

Honorable Mentions: Nightcrawling, Against the Loveless World, Migrations, The Family Game, and The Displacements

Favorite Couple

I just adored Charlie & Nora, the couple at the center of Emily Henry’s latest book, Book Lovers. Their banter was perfect and believable and I just wanted good things for them from the start.

Honorable Mentions: Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow (platonic friendship)

The Book That Gives Me the Most FOMO – Added to 2023 TBR

All My Rage was a book I heard a lot about…and all very good things! I have been hesitant to pick it up because it’s YA (isn’t a genre that’s really working for me right now), but I think I’m going to give this one a try on audio soon!

Honorable Mentions: Sea of Tranquilty, Hester, Babel, and Dinosaurs

Best Character

There is no doubt that Elizabeth Zott from Lessons in Chemistry is a character that will stick with me forever. She is a fierce feminist protagonist who is larger than life. She takes on the degrading ways that men thought about women in the 1960s and flips it all on its head!

Honorable Mentions: Demon Copperhead, Migrations, and Greenwood

Longest Book:

I know the length of The Loves Songs of W.E.B. DuBois (816 pages!) possibly keeps some people from picking this one up. I know it intimidated me. But Honorée Fanonne Jeffers wrote a literal masterpiece, and I promise you won’t even feel the length if you decide to pick it up! I would have happily read 800 more pages!

Honorable Mentions: Demon Copperhead (560) and Greenwood (520)

Shortest Book

I Cried to Dream Again (208 pages) was the shortest book I read this year, but it sure packed a punch! Kruzan was abused, used, and conditioned to be trafficked from eleven years old. At sixteen, she killed her trafficker/father figure and was sentenced to life in prison. This was her powerful and heartbreaking story.

Honorable Mentions: Brown Girls and My Monticello (224), The Great Gatsby and Speak, and Hurricane Girl (240)

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