Best Books of 2022

Ten of the best of my reading in fiction and five of non-fiction.

Fiction

  1. The Trees (2022) Percival Everett. A detective novel that is harrowing and hilarious. Inspired by the real-life 1955 lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till in Money, Mississippi. Literary fiction.
  2. Maps of our Spectacular Bodies (2022) Maggie Mortimer. A woman’s life told in part through the voice of the cancer which kills her. Lyrical literary fiction.
  3. Demon Copperhead (2022) Barbara Kingsolver. Coming-of-age during the opioid crisis: David Copperfield relocated to the 1990s Appalachians. Literary Fiction.
  4. Babysitter (2022) Joyce Carol Oates. Craving an identity of her own, the wife of an affluent businessman embarks on an affair with an enigmatic stranger. A hustler has ambitions to make something of himself. A serial killer known only as Babysitter preys upon young boys. These three lives intersect in 1970s Detroit, a city festering with patriarchy and racism. Power is all in this suspenseful thriller. Literary Fiction.
  5. The Slowworm’s Song (2022) Andrew Miller. An ex-soldier and recovering alcoholic is summonsed to an enquiry in Belfast about the Troubles. Literary Fiction.
  6. The Lucky Ones (2017) Julianne Pachico. Vibrant interconnected short stories, set in Colombia. Literary fiction.
  7. Outline (2014) Rachel Cusk. A woman writer goes to Athens to teach a writing course and becomes the audience to a chain of narratives, as the people she meets tell her one after another the stories of their lives. Literary Fiction.
  8. Checkout 19 (2022) Claire-Louise Bennett. The artist as a young woman. Bildungsroman Literary Fiction.
  9. Shadowplay (2019) Joseph O’Connor. Fictionalisation of Bram Stoker’s struggles to create Dracula while working as theatre manager for Henry Irving. Witty, bitchy. Historical fiction.
  10. Cotillion (1953) – Georgette Heyer. Kitty must marry one of her guardian’s nephews to inherit his fortune. Hilarious. Regency Romance.

Non-fiction

  1. Where I end and you begin: a memoir (2022) Leah McLaren. A mother-daughter relationship with few rules and no boundaries. Memoir.
  2. Blurb your enthusiasm: an A-Z of literary persuasion (2022) Louise Willder. Book blurbs, how to write them, and how we read them. Literary theory.
  3. Faith, Hope & Carnage (2022) Nick Cave & Sean O’Hagan. The musician talks faith, art, music, freedom, grief and love. Memoir.
  4. Getting Lost (2022) Annie Ernaux (transl. Alison L. Strayer). The author’s journal of her 18-month affair with a younger, married Russian diplomat. Powerful writing, loaded with raw emotion. Memoir.
  5. The Insect Crisis: the fall of the tiny empires that run the world (2022) Oliver Milman. What is causing the collapse of the insect world?  Why does this alarming decline pose such a threat to us? And what can be done to stem the loss of the miniature empires that hold aloft life as we know it? Natural Science.
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