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2022 reading list

maura @ 10:30 am

Hello readers, and wow I was a bigger reader this year, too. Blame the new job: while my commute was about the same length for the old job, it’s now a subway commute which means at least an hour of reading each weekday, which definitely makes a difference. In 2022 I read 42 books, only one shy of 2017 (when I had a 6 month sabbatical) and thus the second-highest total since 2012 (when I started blagging about my reading list).

If there’s a theme for me for fiction in 2022 it was multiverses. I listened to an interview with Emily St. John Mandel where she talked about her new novel Sea of Tranquility and the urge since the pandemic to “run the counterfactuals,” and that stuck with me as I read all year. I loved her new book: the ways it referred to other things she’s written, the happy ending, and of course the author in a city in a pandemic is so real. I reread My Real Children by Jo Walton, which I’d loved when I first read it in 2015 and was a great revisit as well. But my favorite book this year, hands down, was The Space Between Worlds by Miciah Johnson, about a multiverse in which a scientist has discovered how to travel between the 400 Earths. The catch is you can only go to another version of Earth where you’re already dead, BIPOC folx are thus the ones who are most able to traverse. And it’s twisty and complicated and hopeful and lovely and I took forever to read the last few pages and cried a bit when it was over. So good.

Other fiction I loved this year includes Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, a book about two friends who meet as middle schoolers and later become game designers together which I read super fast. All the reviews are right: it’s just a terrific book about friendship, which is so rare. And as a game person I found the game stuff to be realistic and engaging, too. My last fiction book of the year was The Ministry of the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson, the first book of his I’ve read. Set in the very near future and beginning with a terrifying heat wave in India that kills 20 million people, the book follows the activity of the titular body set up by the UN in order to try and hold nations accountable for dealing with climate change. Robinson is apparently a huge climate nerd and some of these chapters literally sound like strategies that could be tried here and now (or soon), and while it’s not utopian the book ends with CO2ppm beginning to decrease, a hopeful way for me to end 2022.

I read much less nonfiction this year, which I also think is due to the new job. I prefer reading nonfiction on paper and since it’s easier to read ebooks on my phone I tend to gravitate toward fiction on the commute. But I did read some great nonfiction this year. Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong was amazing, these essays gave me lots to think about on US imperialism and violence against Asian-American folx. Plus I’d never even heard about Theresa Cha, an artist raped and killed in the Puck Building in 1982 (we lived a few blocks from there when we first moved to NYC). My CUNY friend and colleague Jessie Daniels published the terrific Nice White Ladies this year, an approachable book about the specific role that white women play in upholding racism and how we might resist it. Jessie weaves autobiography into the book in an especially engaging way, and I’ve been consistently recommending this since I read it. My last nonfiction read of the year was a lovely short YA biography of Octavia Butler called Star Child, by Ibi Zoboi, a Haitian-American writer. I’ve read all of Butler’s books and knew some of her life story already, though other info was a complete surprise — she started submitting stories to magazines at age 13! What a legend, gone too soon.

Here’s the full list, as always in reverse-chronological order, because that’s how I keep my reading journal. Key: asterisk = ebook, tilde = books we own. And here’s to more reading in 2023!

*Star Child, by Ibi Zoboi (December 2022)
*The Ministry of the Future, by Kim Stanley Robinson (December 2022)
*Sea Monsters, by Chloe Aridjis (December, 2022)
*The House of Rust, by Khadija Abdalla Bajaber (December, 2022)
*Our Missing Hearts, by Celeste Ng (December, 2022)
*This Time Tomorrow, by Emma Straub (November, 2022)
*The Wall, by Marlen Haushofer (November, 2022)
*The Old Drift, by Namwali Serpell (November, 2022)
*A Children’s Bible, by Lydia Millet (October and November, 2022)
*The Measure, by Nikki Erlick (October 2022)
~*Pattern Recognition, by William Gibson (October 2022) (we own it in print, but I read it as an ebook because subway commute)
*Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, by Gabrielle Zevin (October 2022)
*Bitter, by Akwaeke Emezi (September 2022)
*Begin the World Over, by Kung Li Sun (September 2022)
~Build Your House Around My Body, by Violet Kupersmith (August and September 2022)
*The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers (August and September 2022)
~Unmanageable: Leadership Lessons from an Impossible Year, by Johnathan Nightingale and Melissa Nightingale (August 2022)
*Hurricane Girl, by Marcy Dermansky (August 2022)
*Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol, by Holly Whitaker (July and August 2022)
*The Lola Quartet, by Emily St. John Mandel (July and August 2022)
*Tell Me an Ending, by Jo Harkin (July 2022)
*The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred, by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein (June and July 2022)
*The Impossible Us, by Sarah Lotz (June 2022)
*My Real Children, by Jo Walton (June 2022)
*The World Gives Way, by Marissa Levien (May and June 2022)
~Minor Feelings, by Cathy Park Hong (May and June 2022)
*Blackfish City, by Sam J. Miller (May 2022)
*The Kaiju Preservation Society, by John Scalzi (May 2022)
~We Do This Til We Free Us, by Mariame Kaba (April and May 2022)
*The Future of Another Timeline, by Analee Newitz (April and May 2022)
*The Seep, by Chana Porter (April 2022)
~Nice White Ladies: The Truth about White Supremacy, Our Role in It, and How We Can Help, by Jessie Daniels (April 2022)
Decolonizing Academia: Poverty, Oppression, and Pain, by Clelia O. Rodriguez (April 2022)
~Sea of Tranquility, by Emily St. John Mandel (April 2022)
*Appleseed, by Matt Bell (March and April 2022)
~Becoming Hispanic-Serving Institutions: Opportunities for Colleges and Universities (February, March, and April 2022)
*Sorrowland, by Rivers Solomon (February and March 2022)
*The Space Between Worlds, by Micaiah Johnson (February 2022)
*I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness, by Claire Vaye Watkins (January 2022)
*Noor, by Nnedi Okorafor (January 2022)
*The Sentence, by Louise Erdrich (December 2021 and January 2022)
*The Menopause Manifesto: Own Your Health with Facts and Feminism, by Jen Gunter (December 2021 and January 2022)

Blast from the past: 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012

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