Best of 2022: Books

Just like that, another year has gone by...Although each year brings many changes, one thing that remains the same is my love of books. This year I only beat last year's number by about 3%! The slight increase could be due to the fact that audiobooks continue to play a more important part of my life. I listen to books while cleaning, cooking, driving, running, hiking...you get the picture. Of all the books I read in 2022, about three quarters of them were audiobooks. 

Here are my recaps from prior years: 2021202020192018201720162015201420132012, and 2011

This year I gave the coveted five star rating to nine books. I am trying to be a little more generous with my stars, as some years there are less than a handful of five star reads. Without further ado, here are my favorite reads from 2022, in the order that I read them. 

Remember: The Science of Memory and The Art of Forgetting by Lisa Genova: This is not the first of Genova's books that I have had in my top picks. She is a neuroscientist who has written about many neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's, Huntington's and ALS. In Remember, she talks about the brain in general and how many of the things we worry about, like that the fact that we cannot remember where we put our keys, is not necessarily a sign of aging but perhaps just of our brains prioritizing. 

The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn: Based on a true story, this is another WWII novel by Quinn, but this time its from a different perspective. Kiev native Mila is a bookish mother until Germany invades the Ukraine and then she becomes Lady Death, a feared Nazi sniper. She tallies up so many deaths that she gets invited to the US by Eleanor Roosevelt. However, things go south while she is in the US and she has to battle both inner and outer demons to survive. 

Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe: I was a bit hesitant to begin this book, as I had to put down one of his other books, Say Nothing, due to it being an overload of information. However, he went from zero to five stars with this story of corruption and greed in the opioid industry. The Sackler family is one of the richest in the world and the producers and marketers of the highly addictive opioid OxyContin. When asked about the addictive properties of the drug and clear signs that it was being abused they were in strict denial of either point. 

Pony by R.J. Palacio: By the author of Wonder, this was another YA novel with an underlying message. When horsemen steal his father away, 12 year old Silas and his imaginary friend set out on a rescue mission. On the journey, he faces many fears, but with his friend and his pony, he not only survives but learns a lot along the way. 

Blindness by Jose Saramago: This book really made me feel very emotional. I put it on my to read list during the pandemic, as it was supposedly "pandemic related." Then a friend of mine gave me the physical book this year and I was going to read the first chapter to see how it sat. After that I could not put it down. It was like a car accident; it both disgusted and fascinated me. In the story, a man is struck blind out of the blue. Soon after, another man becomes blind, and then another. Not knowing what is causing this, they are isolated in case it is contagious. Soon more are "infected" and things start to become messy, literally. They are in confinement with only one meal a day and nobody to clean up their waste. There are no rules and nobody to enforce them; it becomes like Lord of the Flies. It is disturbing and thought provoking and there are many parallels to the pandemic that we have just experienced. I recommend it but just know that you are going to feel lots of things when you read it. 

I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jeanette McCurdy: When I first read the title of this book, I knew it was going to be interesting. I was not familiar with the author, but this story still sucked me in. She becomes a child star fairly early, but is subjected to her mothers ideas of beauty, including calorie restriction and at home makeovers. Not surprisingly, this leads to eating disorders, abusive relationships, shame and addiction. 

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin: A story of a 17 year old girl and an 83 year old woman who meet in the terminal ward of the hospital and become fast friends. Since their combined years add up to a hundred, they decide to do an art project honoring the stories they have had over these years. Although one has had a short life and the other has had a long life, they learn that who you share it with is what matters. 

Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid: This is the third book by TJR that I have had on my end of year Best Of list. I have now read seven of her books and have given five stars to two, four stars to two and three stars to three of them. Almost everything I have read of hers has been entertaining and interesting, especially the more recent ones! This story details a tennis star who at 37 years old decides to try and reclaim her title after a six year hiatus. She is definitely the old kid on the block, and she struggles both mentally and physically to try to live up to where she was in the past. 

These Silent Woods by Kimi Cunningham: Cooper and his daughter Finch live in an isolated cabin in the woods. It's just the two of them and this is how Cooper likes it. However, when a girl turns up missing in the woods nearby, they cannot maintain their isolation any longer. Cooper has to face up to his past, including coming clean about it to Finch. 

Have you read any of the above and if so, did you like them? What were some of your favorite books this year? 


  1. I've only read Remember on your list, but also thought it was excellent. I have Carrie Soto Is Back on my holds list!

    This year I really enjoyed: My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout, Keep Moving by Maggie Smith, and Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig. I also really liked The Man Who Died Twice (the second instalment of the Thursday Murder Club books). Tranquility by Tuesday was great and Laura Vanderkam's best book to date in my opinion.

    The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles was a solid read for me (though not as good as A Gentleman in Moscow). I just finished One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle yesterday and it was light, albeit with some non-realism that I didn't love. My husband and I are planning to spend some time on the Amalfi Coast later this winter and I wanted to read something set in that area, so I'm glad I read it (and would give it 3.5-4 stars).

    I re-read the entirety of the Anne of Green Gables series this year and loved the first three books so much.

    Some of the books you list here I really want to check out now, though I HATED reading Lord of the Flies, so I might not try Blindness...!

    1. I loved the first two Thursday Murder Club books and have The Bullet That Missed on hold at the library! I really enjoyed the characters and the plots are fun and quirky. I also completely agree about Amor Towles; I enjoyed both but preferred Moscow. I did not really love One Italian Summer; I gave it three stars, which usually means I did not hate it or love it, but I definitely was meh over the mom coming back after dying. I love AofGG and have read the series twice as well! If there is only one you read from my list, make it Lenni and Margo!

  2. I hated Blindness! Ha! I either gave it 1 or 2 stars! I read it to fulfill a goal to read a work in translation! But it is so interesting to me how books can illicit such different reactions from people!

    I haven't read I'm Glad My Mom Died but intend to in 2023. And I somehow didn't know about that Genova book. All of her other books have been 5-star reads for me so I will definitely check it out. I also loved Empire of Pain but not enough to put it in my best reads. But it was one of the best non-fiction reads of 2022!

    I have given 22 books 5-star ratings this year! I've become way more generous as I've gotten older but I figure - why not!

  3. I read Blindness a few years ago and thought it was quite striking. Your review is so spot on. The book really treads the line between fascinating and horrifying quite well, and your comparison to Lord of the Flies feels very accurate. Have you read any other Saramago? I also liked The Gospel According to Jesus Christ quite a lot.

    1. I have not read any other Saramago books. I was actually surprised that I liked this one as I expected it to be like 100 Years of Solitude, which I just could not get into! I will have to check out The Gospel...

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