Happy new year!!
Although January is halfway over, it still seems unreal—I know I always comment about how fast time passes when I sit down to write recap posts, yet 2022 feels like a fever dream, and I honestly don’t know what to expect in 2023.
I’m here today, though, with a slightly late start to my 2022 in review series—which will include books, music, film and perhaps life updates! These posts are always my favorites to both read and write, so I cannot wait to begin this short series. (Also, I promise that I’ll try my best to get all of these posts out before the end of January.)
All the Books…
(Note: some of the books in the graphic below are published by HarperCollins, whose workers have been on strike since November! If you wish to purchase any of the titles, please do from here so that a portion of the profits will be donated to the HarperCollins Union.)
I didn’t keep a reading spreadsheet this year, so I don’t have a lot of reading stats other than the very limited ones provided to me by Goodreads. I read 24 books and my average rating, according to Goodreads, was 3.6 stars. However, I didn’t rate a lot of the books I read, so this was honestly much higher than it should be (unfortunately). I reread 5 books, two of which are some of my favorites.
In all honesty, 2022 was not the best reading year for me. I only found one new favorite, and most of the books I read were just… okay as compared to exciting or fun to read. I’m definitely not here to just complain, though, so here are some fun observations just by looking at all the book covers!!
- I attempted rereading the Percy Jackson series and I loved every second of it, but then I fell into a slump after starting the fourth book and never finished. Absolutely devastated about this.
- I only read one middle grade novel, the adorable Almost Flying, and I really wish I had read more because I love the genre so much.
- I am happy with the genre variety other than that, though; I read a few classics, more nonfiction, and many more non-YA books than previous years.
- Is it just me or are there so many red and pink covers??
- I counted Ursula K. Le Guin’s essay The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction for my reading challenge to give myself a little boost, but it was honestly so interesting and reminded me that I need to read more articles/essays/essay collections!
“If it is a human thing to do to put something you want, because it’s useful, edible, or beautiful, into a bag, or a basket, or a bit of rolled bark or leaf, or a net woven of your own hair, or what have you, and then take it home with you, home being another, larger kind of pouch or bag, a container for people, and then later on you take it out and eat it or share it or store it up for winter in a solider container or put it in the medicine bundle or the shrine or the museum, the holy place, the area that contains what is sacred, and then next day you probably do much the same again — if to do that is human, if that’s what it takes, then I am a human being after all. Fully, freely, gladly, for the first time.”Ursula K. Le Guin, The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction
My favorite book…
Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki: My only five-star read and new all-time favorite from this year! I read this book at the very beginning of 2022, and finished the majority of it late one night, quickly soaking in the words before my ebook library hold would run out. This is a beautifully tender science fiction novel about violin, the power of found families and donuts. I loved all the characters and the concept so, so much, and now that I recently bought a physical copy from my favorite indie bookstore, I really want to reread it soon!
Other Books I Enjoyed
You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle: This book was so much fun! I read it on the plane to India over the summer, and just like with Light From Uncommon Stars, I sped through the pages, glued to my Kindle for a couple of hours in the cramped airplane seat. Although this is not the type of book I normally read, it was very enjoyable. I’m just going to echo the countless other reviews by affirming that it definitely made me laugh multiple times, and the second-chance romance was so well done.
Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf: This is YA thriller/murder mystery about Scrabble, and grief, and healing, and it’s just so masterfully crafted—especially in how the writing style manages to fully embrace the Scrabble theme, incorporating countless references and big words that truly immersed me in the game. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and could not put it down. Although I gave it 3.5 stars, it would have definitely been 4.5 stars if not for the messy and rushed ending.
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto: This was the only translated book I read in 2022, which I certainly want to change this year. Kitchen, along with its companion novella Moonlight Shadow, is a novel about grief, and they are both such quiet yet poignant stories. I think I would have enjoyed it so much more had I not read it in so many sittings, which dissevered the already short novella into even smaller chunks, so I hope to reread the two sometime soon!
Pure Colour by Sheila Heti: This book was so, so strange. Like I talked about in my last post, it was extremely abstract and consisted of pages and pages of rambling about art, and connections, and love. They commentary seemed very pretentious rather than purposeful, and the main character’s relationship with her father was extremely questionable. If I could sum it up in one sentence, I would say that reading Pure Colour was a complete waste of time.
500 Words or Less by Juleah del Rosario: I read this at the beginning of 2022 and I’m going to be completely honest in saying that I remember almost nothing about it—other than that it’s a Young Adult novel written in verse about a girl who starts writing college admissions essays for her classmates. According to my Goodreads review, I rated it 2 stars because “i feel like the book was trying to do too much and instead was able to do accomplish nothing. i was also really confused by the sudden plot twist towards the end 😭.”
Reading Goals for 2022
Read 40 books.
Secretly, I’m aiming for 50 books… but 40 seems much less daunting on paper, so we shall see what happens!
Read instead of scrolling.
I waste so much time on my phone that I might as well open the Kindle app and read ebooks whenever I’m bored instead of mindlessly browsing on social media.
Read more genres + books outside my comfort zone!!!
Some of the genres I really want to read more from: middle grade, poetry, essay collections, translated fiction, nonfiction about environmental sociology (which is one of my recent interests), memoirs, literary fiction, adult SFF.
Review at least 40% of the books I read.
I really want to practice writing reviews more often, even if they are just short/mini reviews. I feel that my vocabulary for describing books and conveying my sentiments about them is quite limited, and I really want to improve upon that!
how was your reading year? what were your favorite/least favorite books? what are your reading goals for 2023?
(Also, if you follow me on Instagram I’ve already shared this, but—I will be going by Tara on all my online platforms from now as it’s a little closer to my real name and I feel like Ash just doesn’t fit me as well as I want it to!)
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