My Favorite Books of 2022

2022 was a great reading year for me. I focused in on the type of books I love and got better at freeing myself from weird guilt about not reading as widely as I "should" be. I realize that I love memoirs. I've known that for a while, but if I want a book to rip through in a day, it's not going to be a thriller but rather a well-written memoir. I also love other nonfiction books that explore topics I'm interested in, like urban planning and the opioid crisis. 

While I still love fiction and read plenty in 2022, I'm having a harder time finding fiction books that exactly match my ideal. My (loose) goal for this new year is to discover novels that captivate me and fill me up in a way that only a long, wonderful book can.


1. This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub

I have discovered that I love specific types of time travel books, and this one fit right in. It doesn't make the time travel too weird or science fiction-y, but I loved the story of a forty-year-old woman returning to her 16th birthday, and seeing how the choices she made that day changed her life in the future. My only critique is that I wish it had been longer and gone more in-depth about the way each decision when she was 16 had huge ramifications for when she was 40.

2. The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra

In addition to time travel stories, I also enjoy interconnected short stories. This book takes on Soviet-era censorship, gulags, family, and the conflict in Chechnya. There are repeating characters and alternate storylines, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

3. The Night Shift by Alex Finlay

While I wouldn't call this one an all-time favorite, I was really surprised by how it kept me guessing. It's a mystery (I don't think it would be considered a thriller) and wasn't too creepy but just twisty enough.


1. Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains by Lucas Bessirek

Covering farming and the water crisis in Kansas, this slim, spare book really stuck with me. The author, whose family has lived in Kansas for generations, returns to try and understand modern farming and its relationship to water. Having spent most of my life in a state that is constantly plagued by drought, I was fascinated (and enraged) by the actions of large corporate farms and what the future holds for precious aquifers.

2. Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe

I don't usually love celebrity memoirs, but this one is in a class of its own. It is so descriptive and I was hooked from the beginning. There is a lot in here that I did not love- such as Lowe claiming objectification he felt from fans but failing to recognize the objectification he perpetuated on women- but I can't deny that this book is excellent.

3. Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe

This book was definitely my favorite nonfiction of the year. It covers the opioid crisis from the angle of the makers of Oxycontin, the Sackler family. I've read other books about this topic (most notably Dreamland by Sam Quinones) but never really understood the backstory of Purdue Pharma or the Sacklers. This book was informative and eye-opening, and essential reading for understanding this crisis.

4. How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood by Peter Moskowitz

I love urban planning and urban design books, and I loved the way this one broke down the cities of New York, New Orleans, Detroit, and San Francisco in terms of how money and gentrification are affecting neighborhoods across the country. 

5. Token Black Girl by Danielle Prescod

This book was a wonderful memoir of the experience of being a Black woman in a mostly white industry. It was really thought-provoking, and my only wish is that she would have waited to write it. I would have loved to hear what she would have said ten years out from her experiences and to see the ways she has grown and changed. 

Some Rereads:

1. Nobody Will Tell You This But Me by Bess Kalb

This was one of my favorites from 2021, but I never got around to finishing that blog post and then I reread it in 2022. It really is amazing and I'm sure I'll read it again before too long.

5. Slow Motion by Dani Shapiro

I've read a lot of Dani Shapiro and I returned to this one to see how it compared with her more recent books. It was certainly interesting, but I wish there was an updated author's note at the end or something that would have explained how everything unfolded in the years after.

7. Growing Up by Russell Baker

I read this a few years ago and remember enjoying it, but listening to it on audio brought a whole different perspective. I don't think I realized how funny this book is, but it amused me endlessly. It is really wonderful.

Biggest Disappointments:

1. The Man from the Train by Bill James

This book could have been AMAZING. Here is the premise: the author is doing research and finds a string of similar murders in the early 1900s.. He and his research assistant delve into newspaper accounts and are convinced they have found a serial killer. They even have a theory of who the murderer is! And yet, it is not written in an interesting way at all. AT ALL. I finished it because I was interested (and also getting my tires changed for a few hours) but it was a slog.

2. The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

I wrote about these authors back in my 2020 favorites, and I was so excited about a new book coming out. But this novel fell flat for me- it didn't feel very believable and I didn't really like any of the characters. I was disappointed, but will definitely still read any other books they put out.


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