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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!

Worst Books

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!

Let's Chat

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!)


15 responses to “2022 In Review: The Year in Books”

  1. May @ Forever and Everly Avatar

    LOVED THIS POST!! first of all i absolutely love environmental sociology so i will have to check out your gr shelf for those books! second of all, let me know what good essay collections you read 👁️ i’m sorry that you were able to find only one new favorite this year—even though my reading was technically quite good this year, i also had a hard time finding favorites and it makes the year feel so lackluster! here’s to reading new favs in 2023 💕 and good luck on all your goals!! what you said about wanting to find new vocab to describe books really resonates with me hehe (but you already write such good reviews!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tara @ Starlight Strands Avatar

      AHH TY FOR READING!!!!! 🫶🫶 definitely seconding you abt finding new favs this year 🥳 also crossing my fingers that we both read great env sociology books and essay collections! and ur so sweet omg 😭🥰 (me @ your reviews)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rishika @ For Goodness Bakes Avatar

    miss girl, loved the post and love you 💞 wishing you tons of luck for your reading goals, and sending you warm hugs for the way xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tara @ Starlight Strands Avatar

      LOVE U TOO MWAH 🥰 ty for reading ❤️❤️


  3. Ruby Rae Reads Avatar

    Eeeeepppp so so so excited to see a post from you today!!!! Missed you babes xoxoxox

    Ah this post is so fun and your wrap up looks amazing. You’ve sold me on Light from Uncommon ahhhh DONUTS I NEED!! All the love friend <3<3

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tara @ Starlight Strands Avatar

      thank you sm ruby 🥰🥺 i missed you too!!! definitely let me know if you read light from uncommon stars, i hope you love it ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Eleanor J. Avatar

    taylor + eating cookies + reading a starlight strands post is legit the best way to start the afternoon 😀 love the genres you plan on exploring this year 👀 we have so many overlaps!! ngl my reading year in 2022 was…pretty good? only a few books disappointed me, and i found like 5 new favorites lol. i feel like my 2023 reading year is going to be so chaotic tho…like last year, i wanted a more cohesive reading theme (?) if that makes sense, but this year, we’re throwing that out the window haha. excited for the next updates bestie 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tara @ Starlight Strands Avatar

      LOVE THAT FOR U I HOPE U HAD AN AMAZING AFTERNOON + DO IT AGAIN SOON HEHE 🫶 im so glad u had a great reading year in 2022 🥰 and LOL chaotic can be good tho so i hope u have a very fun reading year in 2023!! excited to see more posts from u to ily 🫶🫶

      Liked by 1 person

  5. tasya @ the literary huntress Avatar

    Queen of the Tiles is just sooo good, I didn’t know scrabble could make me so emotional lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tara @ Starlight Strands Avatar

      LOL literally me 😭 i hope ur doing well tasya!! ❤️


  6. Sophie @ Me & Ink Avatar

    ahh… it is so lovely to see a post from you💜 I’ve missed your content and will read your 2022 review posts whenever you post them!!
    I am sorry it was not the best reading year for you as you didn’t discover many new favourites! I’m glad you enjoyed Queen of the Tiles, I have wanted to check out more of Hanna Alkaf’s books after loving her debut! I hope 2023 is a much more enjoyable reading year for you!
    I read both Bunny and If You Could See The Sun, but neither wowed me as much as I wanted them to. I did enjoy their writing styles, but for different reasons.
    Best of luck with your goals. I am hoping to spend less time scrolling as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tara @ Starlight Strands Avatar

      HI SOPHIE i’ve missed you!! i really need to catch up on your posts 🥺❤️❤️ definitely check out queen of the tiles, i think you would really enjoy it!! and yes i agree with bunny and if you could see the sun – they were both very unlike what i was expecting haha. i hope that you have a great new year!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Suhani Avatar

    Omg I LOVE this post! Rereading Percy Jackson seems so tempting right now, it’s such a comfort series ahah
    Good luck with all of your reading goals and hope you have a great year ahead!! ❤


  8. Clo @ Cuppa Clo Avatar

    Ah it’s a Tara post in my feed yayyy. So Light From Uncommon Stars was already on my TBR but omg ‘This is a beautifully tender science fiction novel about violin, the power of found families and donuts. ‘ this bit just sold me even more. There’s violin, donuts AND found family?! Eeeep, will bump that up my priority list now.

    Best of luck with your reading goals too! I’m aiming for 13 books this year as well as taking part in my own readathon so we’ll see how that pans out xD


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