My 2022 in Reading: Jo Needs a Nap

I read 192 books this year in a split of: 54 ARCs (up from last year), 33 audiobooks (down from last year), 72 manga volumes (down from last year), 20 physical copies (up from last year), 8 light novels (up from last year), and 5 eBooks (down from last year). I want to share my favorites, so please enjoy my favorite 20 2022 books, favorite 10 books from before 2021, and my favorite 5 manga. I would have done a favorite 20 of backlist books, but, unfortunately, I did not prioritize this year, and I think that contributed to my exhaustion.

Overall, it’s not as many things as last year, and it did bring me dangerously close to burning out on reading. 2023 will be a year for resetting some of my priorities with regards to reading, which will focus on my backlog and reading a whole lot of light novels.

Note: Harper Collins book links have been replaced with the linktree for the Harper Collins Union until that publisher goes back to the bargaining table

Lists of Faves

Books are in alphabetical order. Any book marked with an * means that it was featured in the 2022 Bookish Hype Train Post.

Books That Came Out in 2022

  1. Bone Weaver by Aden Polydoros (YA, fantasy)*
    • This text will be updated with an actual blurb and review when Harper Collins returns to the bargaining table
  2. The Bruising of Qilwa by Naseem Jamnia (adult, fantasy)*
    • The most compact fantasy novella I’ve ever read
    • Truly a triumph of worldbuildng
  3. Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves by Megan Long (YA, science fiction)
    • Iditarod on a frozen planet, a book for the wolf girls
    • No romance arc
  4. The Fervor by Alma Katsu (Adult, horror)*
    • Historical horror taking place during Japanese internment
    • A critique and condemnation of racism and xenophobia while also featuring demons from Japanese folklore, a mysterious illness, and government conspiracy
  5. The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas (Adult, horror)
    • A Book of the Month selection
    • In 1800’s Mexico, a young woman seeks autonomy in marriage and gets a horribly haunted house instead
    • There’s a priest who’s also a witch, examinations of privilege, politics, and evil men who experience consequences
  6. House of Yesterday by Deeba Zargarpur (YA, contemporary)
    • About a 15-year-old whose family has a home flipping business and one of them is haunted by a ghost from her family’s past while her parents are on the verge of a divorce
    • As heart-wrenching as it is spooky
  7. I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy (Adult, memoir)
    • An affecting memoir all about the parental abuse experienced by the former child actor
    • Funny and pulls no punches with the frankness with which the trauma is discussed
  8. I’m the Girl by Courtney Summers (young adult, thriller)
    • A girl wants to work a resort
    • Elements of a murder mystery, but mostly about finding agency in a world that violently wants to deny it
    • Crushing ending, proceed with caution
  9. Jackal by Erin E. Adams (Adult, horror)
    • A community-focused Hereditary meets The Ritual
    • A young woman goes home for a wedding and her goddaughter goes missing in a way eerily similar to the disappearances of Black girls throughout the decades
  10. Knives in Your Eyes by Roo Fiction (Adult, dark fantasy erotica)
    • Gorgeous and gory, about a boy who’s a spider, a they/he hunter, and a professor who’s also a god
    • Fundamentally rewired my brain, but please heed the content warnings
  11. Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh (Adult, historical fiction)
    • The real horror is trying to exist in a fictional medieval village
    • Seriously, heed the content warnings, everyone is vile and every new sentence provided either the new worst thing I ever read or a beautiful turn of phrase (complementary)
  12. Leech by Hiron Ennes (Adult, horror)
    • Gothic haunted house horror disguising a science fiction
    • A visceral and tense affair narrated by a 500-year-old parasite piloting a human meat mecha
  13. The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester by Maya MacGregor (YA, mystery)*
    • Autistic, nonbinary Sam Sylvester is fascinated by kids who died before 19 and moves into the former home of just one kid
    • A lot about rebuilding trust after trauma and finding “your people”
  14. The Memory Librarian And Other Stories of Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe (adult, science fiction, 2022)
    • This text will be updated with an actual blurb and review when Harper Collins returns to the bargaining table
  15. Nona the Ninth (The Locked Tomb #3) by Tamsyn Muir (Adult, science fantasy)*
    • Nona teaches in a school, was born six months prior, and just wants to have a birthday party in a dystopian city under zombie attack
    • My favorite of the three books so far
    • The dog does not die
  16. Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield (Adult, literary horror)
    • A woman’s wife disappears for six months and comes back as not quite the same
    • Shifts from haunting melancholy to straight up nightmare fuel
  17. Three Kings by Freydís Moon (Adult, romance)
    • A selkie gets caught in the net of a fisherman and spends a few days in the home with a trans witch, fucky things ensue
    • Cottagecore, hot, and tender
  18. Unmask Alice: LSD, Satanic Panic, and the Imposter Behind the World’s Most Notorious Diaries by Rick Emerson (non-fiction, adult)
    • The true story behind the Go Ask Alice “memoir” people remember from either grade school or the 70s when it came out
    • A wild ride from start to finish
  19. Weird Fishes by Rae Mariz (Adult, fantasy)
    • A work that marvels at the ocean’s magnificence as two of its inhabitants figure out why the time current has slowed
    • Timely in its exploration of the effects of climate change
  20. Woman, Eating by Claire Kohda (Adult, horror)
    • This text will be updated with an actual blurb and review when Harper Collins returns to the bargaining table

Books That Came Out Before 2021

Here are the books pre-2022 that I really enjoyed in a separate list:

  1. Day of the Oprichnik by Vladimir Sorokin (trans. Jamey Grambell) (adult, speculative fiction, 2012)
    • A dystopian satire of Putin’s Russia told from the point of view of a fictionalized terroristic officer
    • As brilliant as it is unsettling (please heed the trigger warnings)
  2. Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America by Beth Macy (adult, nonfiction, 2018)
    • Chronicles the opioid epidemic from the perspective of a ravaged Appalachian community
    • Empathetic despite the despair
  3. Earthlings by Sayaka Murata (trans. Ginny Tapley Takemori) (2020)
    • A young girl believes she’s an alien and develops an inappropriate relationship with her cousin amid other traumas
    • Brutal in its prose and harsh in its indictment of the ways parents and society fail children at every turn
  4. Flowers for the Sea by Zin E. Rocklyn (2021)
    • A pregnant refugee is on the run from a flooded land across a monster-infested sea
    • Features unsettling language that is intimate, precise, and claustrophobic
  5. The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez (adult, horror, 1991)
    • A lesbian vampire makes her way across two centuries with the power of chosen family
    • Unflinching in its convictions and deeply respects life in all its brutal glory
  6. The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He (young adult, science fiction)
    • Buddy read with Jen Karner
    • The less you know about this one going in the better, but a heart-wrenching science fiction
  7. The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind (adult, nonfiction, 2013)
    • Enron is a company that started off in energy but then got into trading and creative accounting
    • Consequences are deeply personal but also far-reaching, with ripple effects that last even today
  8. The Unwomanly Face of War: AN Oral History of Women in World War II by Svetlana Alexievich (nonfiction, history, 2017)
    • Women recount their experiences on the front and in the villages throughout the former Soviet Union
    • Heed the content warnings, absolutely harrowing and unfiltered
  9. Titus Groan (Gormenghast #1) by Mervyn Peake (adult, fantasy, 1946)
    • A classic I am reading as part of my quest to write a horny goth novel
    • Dense descriptions, unhinged characters, I get why this has stuck around all this time
  10. Warriors of God (The Hussite Trilogy #2) by Andrzej Sapkowski (adult, historical fantasy, 2022)
    • Sapkowski continues to hate Reynevan in ways I have not experienced in fiction yet
    • Epic scale battles with a laser focus on keeping the massive cast discrete despite multiply repeated names

Top 5 Manga

This is a new list, as I’ve rekindled my love of manga and want to share my top 5 faves that I’ve read this year (in various degrees of progress).

  1. Chainsaw Man Vol. 4 – 11 by Tatsuki Fujimoto (dark fantasy shonen, 2021-2022)
    • Denji is a devil-human hybrid working for public safety to take down the Gun Devil
    • Twists on twists on small details that pay off later
    • Definitely will be rereading this one at some point
  2. Fire Punch Vol. 1 & 2 by Tatsuki Fujimoto (horror, seinen, 2018)
    • This is the manga that came before Chainsaw Man
    • It feels made in a lab with me in mind, complete with cannibalism, an ice witch, and powers that make people horrible
    • Please heed the content warnings
  3. Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku (Full series) by Yuji Kaku (2018-2021, shonen, historical dark fantasy)
    • Convicts and samurai are sent to an island where the only people to return are made into plant corpses
    • My new favorite thing
    • Perfect if you like Claymore, which I very much do
  4. Land of the Lustrous Vol. 1 – 11 by Haruko Ichikawa (seinen, fantasy, 2017-2021)
    • Meticulously researched world full of gem people
    • Ship of Theseus of a character arc, beautiful art, and so much angst
  5. Tokyo Ghoul Vol. 1-7 by Sui Ishida (horror, seinen, 2015-2016)
    • All my brain zaps reactivated because this series pushes so many of my favorite buttons: horror, cannibalism, gray lines between morality
    • Kaneki Ken did nothing wrong, I’m so excited to see what strange choices he makes in the rest of it
  6. Tokyo Ghoul Vol. 8-14 by Sui Ishida (horror, seinen, 2016-2017)
    • My favorite thing about this manga is not just the art and the violence, though those are exquisite, it’s the characterizations and the way Ishida makes points about the difference between niceness and being a good person
    • As eager as I am to start Re:, my heart needs to recover a lot from this

Authors I’ve Interviewed This Year

Here’s a recap of all the Blog Interviews I did, listed alphabetical by author name.

  1. Ally Wilkes debuted in the UK with All The White Spaces (January)
  2. Lara Elena Donnelly presented Base Notes (February)
  3. R.J. Theodore rereleased Flotsam (Peridot Shift #1) (February)
  4. M. Shaw to celebrate Tenebrous Press’s first novella, One Hand to Hold, One Hand to Carve (April)
  5. Mar Romasco-Moore to welcome their second YA, I Am the Ghost In Your House (April)
  6. Maya MacGregor had their YA debut with The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester (May)
  7. Ren Hutchings celebrated several release days across formats with Under Fortunate Stars (May)
  8. Francesca Tacchi welcome xir debut novella, Let the Mountains Be My Grave (May)
  9. Maya Deane debuted with her trans retelling of the Iliad, Wrath Goddess Sing (June)
  10. Andrew Joseph White debuted with a trans YA horror, Hell Followed With Us (June)
  11. Izzy Wasserstein debuted a collection of short stories, All the Hometowns You Can’t Stay Away From, with Neon Hemlock (July)
  12. Tim McGregor released his new novella, Lure, with Tenebrous Press (July)
  13. Sarah Gailey returned to the blog to talk about Just Like Home (July)
  14. Naseem Jamnia debuted a queernorm fantasy novella, The Bruising of Qilwa, with Tachyon Publishing (August)
  15. Jordan Kurella debuted a CW-style retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice with I Never Liked You Anyway (August)
  16. Victor Manibo debuted The Sleepless with Erewhon Books, a sci-fi noir mystery (August)
  17. Freydís Moon released a dark fantasy erotic novel, With a Vengeance (September)
  18. Aden Polydoros released his sophomore YA, Bone Weaver (September)
  19. Valkyrie Loughcrewe debuted Crom Cruach with Tenebrous Press (September)
  20. Neil Cochrane released a queer fairy tale, The Story of the Hundred Promises (October)
  21. Carlie St. George graced us with a collection of horror shorts, You Fed Us To the Roses (October)
  22. Bendi Barrett debuted a fucky goth magic novella, Empire of the Feast, with Neon Hemlock (October)
  23. R.B. Lemberg invited us back to their Birdverse with their latest collection, Geometries of Belonging: Poems and Stories from the Birdverse (November)
  24. Rae Mariz spoke with me about her oceanic marvel, Weird Fishes, with Stelliform Press (November)
  25. R.J. Theodore returned to the blog to close out the Peridot Shift trilogy with Cast-Off (December)

What are some of your favorite reads? Tell me about your year in reading.

Happy Reading, Happy New Year, and until next year,


One thought on “My 2022 in Reading: Jo Needs a Nap

  1. Pingback: A pleasant surprise, Naseem Jamnia’s triumph THE BRUISING OF QILWA delivers some of the most memorable voices ever - Tachyon Publications

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