2022 Top Reads

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Way overdue!

Thank goodness for my reading tracker so I can bring my activity up to date, starting with 2022. I figure the top reads from the past are the books where I can still remember some of the details and/or the writing still evokes an emotion.

I read (or started) 62 books in 2022, with a total of 19,574 pages. Here are my top-rated reads (5 out of 5), in alphabetical order by the author’s first name.

Claire Pooley, Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting – Claire Pooley has devised a clever way to introduce characters who would otherwise never meet nor engage in conversation. Iona Iverson is an “established” career woman who takes her dog to work and monopolizes her train seat. This is the initial setting, but the book expounds into conversations and, gasp!, even relationships! I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.

Edith Blais, The Weight of Sand: My 450 Days Held Hostage in the Sahara – This accounting of the author’s experience of being kidnapped by Arab Jihads and being held over a year is both absolutely frightening and capitivating (pun maybe intended). She prefaces each chapter with poetry she managed to write during this time period, which is amazing that she was able to keep through the journey. I must admit that I was comforted by the fact that this was a personal story written by someone who survived the ordeal. If it had been written as fiction, without knowing the outcome, I probably would not have continued reading past the point of (making a stupid decision to take a “shortcut” through dangerous territory and the) capture.

Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer, To Night Owl from Dogfish – this middle grade fiction was so sweet and endearing. A somewhat retelling of The Parent Trap, what’s not to love?

Lauren McBrayer, Like a House on Fire – I must admit that a year and a half later, I barely remember this story but funny enough, I remember the last scene without a beat. I just reread the synopsis about a woman going back to work and rediscovering herself. Seems like a perfect book for 2022 after a couple of years of pandemic isolation.

Rachel Simon, The Story of Beautiful Girl – this was a re-read that I chose for my current book club. It was a little dated at this point, but I was still moved by the story of a young girl whose parents met in an institution and was raised by another woman. Kind of a clumsy way for me to give an overview. The person who initially recommended the book to me gave me a similar synopsis and I resisted reading it for years. You know how some books can’t really be described because it would ruin the reading of them? This is one of those. My book club liked it, but poked some holes in the story. I preferred to just go with the flow and appreciate the storytelling.

Stephen King, Billy Summers – I love Stephen King’s non-horror, non-time-travel writing. This is one of those reads about a regular person who, well, um, kills people for a living. But he has his standards! He’ll only take the job if the person deserves to be killed. This writing reminded me very much of Donald Westlake’s style and I was instantly drawn into the story.

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