2022 – A year in books

So, another eventful year comes to an end, and it’s time for my review of the books I read this year! Thanks to Goodreads, I can properly keep track of them, so here’s a little infographic detailing the 50 books I read this year and stars I gave them:

Yeah I read two whole technical books this year, and added them here to fulfill my challenge. But didn’t rate them because really, which self-respecting bibliophile would rate books about automotive jargon?!!? 😀 😛 You can view more details on the challenge here, or by clicking on the infographic. Surprisingly, I read many non-fiction books this year – 11, not counting the work-related technical ones! I am not a non-fiction reader, and even though I am making a conscious effort to stomach them more, it hadn’t really happened – until this year!

In fact, 2 of my best books of this year were also semi-fictionalized! Which brings me to listing those! Now, until 5 days before 2022 ended, the books I liked best this year (in no particular order) were:

  • The Complete Maus (Art Spiegelman) is a semi-fictionalized biographical graphic novel about the author’s grandfather’s experiences during the Holocaust (see review).
  • When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife (Meena Kandasamy) is a semi-autobiographical account of the author’s life with an abusive husband (TW: sexual violence, domestic abuse). The thing I liked the most about this one is that the author is hardcore raw without being voyeuristic. Must-read book, this one is!
  • Loki: A Bad God’s Guide to Being Good (Louie Stowell) is a fictional (obviously!) novel about Odin being fed up of Loki’s antics and sending him to earth as a mere mortal school student to serve out his punishment until he can be good! I initially picked up this book to pre-read before my 8-year-old could read it, and ended up loving it more than she did – go figure! 😀

Then at the end of the year, I read this very new book called “Brotherless Night” by V. V. Ganeshnanthan. And by very new, I mean that it’s releasing on January 3rd; and I got its Advanced Reader Copy through NetGalley.com. You can read my brief review about it here. Thus, while it’s not technically a 2022 novel, I read it this year, and simply LOVED it! So yes, that too, features in my list of best books of this year. Just like 2 other of my favorite books this year, this book is also very serious. Tread lightly, dear friends; for civil wars and genocide and human suffering can drain you! But if you can handle being drained, these books are much worth your while by being absolutely insightful and enriching.

Of course there were several other books that I simply loved, and you can read about them on my Goodreads page linked above.

What were your favorite books this year? Do let me know in comments!

Last year, as part of my end-of-the-year book update, I had made a list of books I wanted to read in 2022. Here’s my update on them!

  • Sapiens : a graphic history. volume two, the pillars of civilization (Yuva Noah Harari): Done! ✅ Didn’t love as much as Part 1, but was worth reading nevertheless!
  • The Glass Palace (Amitav Ghosh):  Done! ✅ Didn’t love as much as his other books but some parts were very interesting!
  • Caste: the origins of our discontents (Isabel Wilkerson): Done! ✅ This book must be made mandatory reading in school and colleges! And it prompted me to add a few more books to my next years To-Read list.
  • 1984 (George Orwell) : Done! ✅ Can’t believe I hadn’t read this all my life! Was amazing, but left some questions unanswered!
  • Violeta (Isabel Allende) : Done! ✅ Didn’t read this book for a year after getting it as an advanced copy, but read it in 2 days flat once I started. A beautiful book, this one!
  • Norwegian Wood (Haruki Murakami) : Abandoning this book for now.
  • The Overstory (Richard Powers) : Couldn’t finish this one. Generational sagas have never really been my cup of tea. Abandoning this.
  • Manufacturing Consent (Herman and Chomskey): I just couldn’t get through this book, as many times as I tried. And no, it’s not because the book is bad, but the subject just doesn’t reel me in enough. I think I am going to abandon it for now, and may (or may not) try to revisit it some other time. Am not even going to include it in the to-reads for next year! Sighh…
  • 1Q84 (Haruki Murakami): Wasn’t able to read this one in 2022, but will do so in 2023 for sure.
  • Anxious people (Fredrik Backman): Unfortunately, I haven’t even started the re-read of this! Hopefully this year I will!

And here’s my new list of books to be read in 2023:

  • Go Set a watchman (Harper Lee): I’ve been meaning to read this one for way too long! I am a huge fan of Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird” – have read it thrice and made everyone around me read it. So I was excited when this book was published – but was put off by all the discussions about Atticus Finch turning out to be a racist. Now that Isabel Wilkerson, whose Caste book I read and loved, also mentioned this in the book, I think I have to go check it out for myself.
  • Gone with the Wind (Margaret Mitchell): Same story with this one! I love this book – and Scarlett and Rhett are 2 of my favorite literary characters, but of late, I have been hearing a lot of comments that the book glorified racism. As always, I want to see (read) that for myself. One of my friends and I may also do a bookathon of this.
  • Scarlett (Alexandra Ripley): I haven’t read this one, but want to see how another author approaches this whole issue, too.
  • Bahut Door Kitna Door Hota Hai (Manav Kaul): Yikes this book has been on my Goodreads for so long!! Will hopefully read it this year!
  • The Malazan series: This book comes with the highest praise from my cousin, and while I don’t see eye to eye with him on many an ideological level, I do agree with some of his literary views more than most people, so have added this one.
  • The Tomb of Sand (Geetanjali Shree): This is going to be a challenging one! I bought the original Hindi version of the book whose English translation went on to win the International Booker Prize of 2022.
  • Gravel Heart (Abdulrazak Gurnah)/ The Books of Jacob (Olga Tokarczuk): Remember I had decided to read at least 1 book by every Nobel prize in literature winner ever? (yes, this is a question for myself!) These 2 books will be my feeble attempt to get back to that lofty ambition.
  • Parva ( S L Bhyrappa): I have borrowed this book from a friend 6 months ago, and I am yet to touch it. Hence it will be on the top of my reading order in 2023!

The one thing I missed mentioning in my post last year was at the crack of lockdown, my friend Divya started a book club – actually, a books and movies club. We ended up mainly discussing movies, but discussed 3 books: Pygmalion (George Bernard Shaw), A Damsel in Distress (P.G. Wodehouse), and Little Fires Everywhere (Celeste Ng). I thoroughly enjoyed discussing these. At times, I felt that these club discussions were the only times I felt truly engaged! This year we have decided to do 4 books, 1 for each quarter:

  • Sense and Sensibility (Jane Austen)
  • The Psychology of Money (Morgan Housel)
  • The School for Good Mothers (Jessamine Chan)
  • The Palace of Illusions (Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni)

In addition to these books, I’ll of course read many more books that catch my eye. I am hoping to set myself a challenge of reading 50 books again in 2023, and also think that I may finally have to learn to like audiobooks, given how I am going to have to commute to office next year!!

All in all, I am very excited for a year full of wonderful wonderful, hard-hitting, tears-and-laughter-inducing, insightful, stress-relieving, eye-opening, but also real-world-escaping reading! Hope you have a great year of reading too! Cheers to 2023! Happy new year!

2 thoughts on “2022 – A year in books

  1. I like that you pushed your boundaries into non-fiction quite significantly this year 🙂
    I mostly re-read this year to indulge myself in some fond memories.
    Maus stood out for me as well and came on my radar due to the same reason as yours (just peeked at your review) – the ban. Although I must confess that I had to go back to news articles to figure out why it was banned since I didn’t find anything that needed to be censored in it!!
    Another one of my favorites this year was Persepolis (re-read) and “American Born Chinese” which explores identities and assimilation in a humorous way. All in all, I realized that graphic media can be quite powerful to tackle difficult subjects and make it more palatable than what a (auto)/biography would have done for me.

    Looking forward to our discussions in 2023! 🙂

    Like

    1. Thank you so much for reading, Divya! Yeah, the non-fiction thing did happen this year, however I must re-iterate – fiction is and will always be my ultimate love!
      You are right about Maus, I actually had to Google why it was controversial and then had to look really hard in the book to see what the objectionable image was (spoiler alert: the image of a naked mouse depicting the mother who killed herself in the bathtub. A naked mouse!) Also speaking of censorship, can anything be censored? We should definitely include this as a topic in one of our discussions!
      I LOVE Persepolis too, but haven’t read American Born Chinese. Will definitely add this to my pile of to-reads.

      Like

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