It turns out 2022 was another good reading year for me. According to Goodreads, I read 76 books or 19, 980 pages. However, I noticed a few that I had marked as DNF (did not finish), like War & Peace, showed up as “read” so that pages read stat is off. Then again, I probably forgot to add some books so maybe it all balances in the end. One of my goals in 2023 is to keep better track of my reading.
- My War & Peace buddy read with Colleen was a bust. For me, not for Colleen who actually finished the novel. I did not. It was an easy one for me to let go and I no longer even think about reading it someday. If I do, it will be on audio at double speed. The spark for my initial desire to read W&P was Jenny Colvin’s year of reading Russian. Jenny passed away unexpectedly in May. It was a shocking loss. Jenny was such a force for good in the book and library communities, and in the lives of many. I miss her. Episodes of Reading Envy are still available for your listening pleasure.
- Sue’s Big Book Summer Reading Challenge was a success. I read more Big Books (400+ pages) over the summer than I thought I would.
- The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
- Atomic Anna by Rachel Barenbaum
- East of Eden by John Steinbeck
- Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
- The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabelle Wilkerson
- Liberty’s Exiles by Maya Jasanoff
- Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove series was another bust. For 2022 blogger Liz Dexter set out to reread books by one of her favorite authors, Larry McMurtry. I had such a great experience reading his novel Lonesome Dove some decades ago and thought it would be fun to read the series of four books. I did read the first, Dead Man’s Walk, but couldn’t get into the second, Comanche Moon. It was a challenge to read these classic westerns at the same time that I was reading novels by Native American women. It’s not that I didn’t know about the historical and ongoing racist and cultural violence against Indigenous Americans before, but reading contemporary historical fiction by a white male author at the same time was jarring. I am a mood reader so don’t let my recent reading situation put you off to Lonesome Dove or Larry McMurtry. Comanche Moon waits on my shelve for another day.
- The Willa Cather Short Story Project is an ongoing success (for me, anyway. Most readers left the challenge after we finished the paper collection and started reading stories available online, which is understandable. Lots of folks don’t like to read digitally). The 12 stories read in 2022 are:
- January “Tommy, the Unsentimental”
- February “The Count of Crow’s Nest”
- March “Wee Winkie’s Wanderings”
- April “The Strategy of the Were-Wolf Dog”
- May “A Resurrection”
- June “The Prodigies”
- July “Nanette: An Aside”
- August “The Way of the World”
- September “The West Bound Train”
- October “Eric Hermannson’s Soul”
- November “The Dance at Chevalier’s”
- December “The Sentimentality of William Tavener”
The Willa Cather Short Story Project will continue in 2023. More on that in the next post.
I wrote about five library visits in 2022. Looking back through the blog, this is more than I remembered. They were all in different states, which was a fun realization. They are:
- Lenox Library in Lenox, Massachusetts
- Linda Sokol Francis Brookfield Library in Brookfield, Illinois
- Cross’ Mills Public Library in Charlestown, Rhode Island
- Moore Free Library in Newfane, Vermont
- Kent Memorial Library in Kent, Connecticut
You can check out all of the libraries that I’ve posted about here.
Some Favorite Reads
Your eyes might be glazing over when it comes to best book lists of the year, but here are some of my favorites read in 2022.
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (Thought I had read all of Jane Austen’s novels, then Paul and Trevor’s conversation about Austen’s novels on The Mookse and the Gripes podcast made me realize I had not.)
Miss Grief and Other Stories by Constance Fenimore Woolson (A 19th century American writer whose stories feel alive. Strong characters and vivid sense of place. This collection was edited by Anne Boyd Rioux.)
All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, A Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles (Shifted my understanding of American slavery, history, and how history can be written especially when archival materials are lacking or do not exist.)
The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson (Strong characters, multi-generational and perspective story. It was a Book Cougars readalong pick for the theme of a Indigenous American Women Writers. We had the pleasure of talking with Diane on episode 165.)
My Autobiography of Carson McCullers by Jenn Shapland (A creative memoir and literary biography that explores queerness, disability, more. You do not have to be a McCullers fan to enjoy this book. It is one of my all-time favorite nonfiction books.)
The other day, my Book Cougars cohost Emily and I, along with BookTuber Russell of Ink and Paper Blog, recorded our annual Top 10 Reads of the Year episode. We had a blast, and there are way more than 30 books mentioned. That episode, number 172, will be out on 1/3/2023 (I’ll add the link when it is available).
I hope you had some fantastic reads in 2022. If there’s one you think I should absolutely read, please let me know in the comments. And other bloggers, feel free to leave a link.