So far in 2022 I’ve read 69 books: 37 fiction and 32 non-fiction. Here’s the full list: Books Read 2022. All but one was published in 2022. Below are my six favorites in no particular order.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow: A novel, by Gabrielle Zevin. This was one of the best novels I’ve read in years. In this exhilarating novel by the best-selling author of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry two friends—often in love, but never lovers—come together as creative partners in the world of video game design, where success brings them fame, joy, tragedy, duplicity, and, ultimately, a kind of immortality.
Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr. This book was amazing! It is set in three periods: around the fall of Constantinople, in contemporary times, and on an interstellar space ship hundreds of years in the future. What links the three stories is a lost ancient Greek novel that tells the story of a shepherd who travels to a shining city in the sky. One of the better works of Fiction I’ve ever read.
A Children’s Bible: A Novel, by Lydia Millet. What a strange yet amazing book this was. It mainly takes place at a vacation home that a couple of families have rented for the summer. The children are strangely mature, and the adults are basket cases. It’s a page-turner of twists and turns with a dark metaphorical message. I LOVED IT! (And it has nothing to do with a Bible.)
Trust, by Hernan Diaz. This book is fantastic! It tells the story of an early 20th-century Wall Street tycoon and his wife. The story is told in four competing narratives. Brilliant! From the Amazon description: “At once an immersive story and a brilliant literary puzzle, TRUST engages the reader in a quest for the truth while confronting the deceptions that often live at the heart of personal relationships, the reality-warping force of capital, and the ease with which power can manipulate facts.”
The Watermen: The Birth of American Swimming and One Young Man’s Fight to Capture Olympic Gold, by Michael Loynd. The Watermen is by a friend of mine and tells the incredible story of Charles Daniels — America’s first swimming gold medalist (in the 1904 games). I loved this book and finished it in a day. Charles’s life was incredible as he overcame a fear of swimming and a rough childhood to be a world record holder at every swimming distance.
Burn Rate: Launching a Startup and Losing My Mind, by Andy Dunn. This book was dynamite. Andy Dunn is the co-founder of the men’s clothing company Bonobos. He’s also Bipolar. Burn Rate is about his struggles with Bipolar Disorder and also about the crazy early days of his startup.
I read some great classics in 2022 which deserve their own list. Here are six that stood out:
The Long Ships, by Frans G. Bengtsson. This book was published as a serial between 1941 -1945 in Sweden. It is a Viking Saga that tells the story of Orm who journeyed far and wide plundering in the tenth century. I adored this book.
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë. I read this for the second time, my first reading being about 20 years ago. And it was just as good as I remembered. Arguably, the first feminist novel, it tells the story of Jane Eyre, an orphan who becomes a governess at great house and ends up marrying the lord of the house. But Jane is fiercely independent and remains her own woman at every turn.
Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier. This is the second time I’ve read this book. It’s fantastic! Written in 1938, the novel depicts an unnamed young woman who impetuously marries a wealthy widower, before discovering that both he and his household are haunted by the memory of his late first wife, the title character.
Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy. I loved Anna Karenina — what a triumph of literature! I felt like I was transported back into time alongside the characters in the late 19th Century. From Wikipedia: It deals with themes of betrayal, faith, family, marriage, Imperial Russian society, desire, and rural vs. city life. The story centers on an extramarital affair between Anna and dashing cavalry officer Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky that scandalizes the social circles of Saint Petersburg and forces the young lovers to flee to Italy in a search for happiness, but after they return to Russia, their lives further unravel.
The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin. I’ve been wanting to read this book for decades as the author is considered the “Grand Dame of Sci-Fi” and this is her most heralded work. It was published in 1969. And the book did not disappoint. The plot revolves around an emissary from a galactic consortium of planets who journeys to a backwater, nearly frozen planet to sell its citizens on joining the consortium. The humans on the planet loosely referred to as “Winter” has had millenniums of different evolution than the rest of humanity scattered across the galaxy. These humans have no gender for most of the time and then randomly become male or female, only when it’s time to breed. Fascinating concept. In addition to exploring our concept of gender, the book also considers friendship, loyalty, and how we deal with others different that we are.
Fear of Flying, by Erica Jong. Published in 1973, Fear of Flying was a major work that helped launch the second feminist wave. Semi-autobiographical, it centers on the main character’s sexual escapades and desires during a European trip. It was among the first to present a woman’s sexual desire as normal and not something to be condemned.