My reading year has been a bit of a strange one. Around September I started to get a bit of reader burnout, and I felt like finishing a book became more important to me than actually enjoying the experience of reading. I don’t actually remember reading some of the books on my Goodreads, but apparently I did!

Long story short, I basically took November “off”, and chilled out. Then I read an ARC of Kelly Link’s new collection, and I was reminded how life-changing and wonderful reading can be. 

With that in mind, here are the books that were published in the US in 2022 that stood out.

For those who don’t want to endure my ramblings, here’s the list in no particular order.

  • Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, by Gabrielle Zevin (Knopf Publishing Group)
  • Into the Forest: Tales of the Baba Yaga, edited by Lindy Ryan (Black Spot Books)
  • Thistlefoot, by Gennarose Nethercott (Anchor Books)
  • Acting Class, by Nick Drnaso (Drawn and Quarterly)
  • Just Like Home, by Sarah Gailey (Tor Nightfire)
  • Lute, by Jennifer Marie Thorne (Tor Nightfire)
  • Sundial, by Catriona Ward (Tor Nightfire)
  • The Talosite, by Rebecca Campbell (Undertow)
  • The Dark Between the Trees, by Fiona Barnett (Solaris)
  • What We Fed to the Manticore, by Talia Lakshmi Kolluri (Tin House Books)

It seems that, for once, I’m in the majority in my love from Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, by Gabrielle Zevin. As someone who grew up in the 80s and 90s, surrounded by video game culture, this book tugged at something incredibly familiar in me. The relationships are realistic and imperfect. Sadie Green is a wonderful character. I would read this book over and over again. Easy to read but never simple. Please don’t ruin this with a sub-par movie adaptation. 

Why yes, I am still reading a short story every day! I’ve read some great collections this year, but the anthology that stands out the most is Into the Forest: Tales of the Baba Yaga edited by Lindy Ryan. All of these stories are so incredibly well written, with a variety of perspectives on our favorite witch. Full review here.

Speaking of Baba Yaga, let’s move on to Thistlefoot by Gennarose Nethercott. The main characters in this novel just happen to be descendents of Yaga, and they inherit the wonderful house on chicken legs. Such a cracking debut. Full review here.

I’ve made a concerted effort to read more graphic novels this year. Fantagraphics, and Drawn and Quarterly continue to put out such great books; I recommend you dive into their catalogs. My favorite this year was Acting Class, by Nick Drnaso. I had no idea what to expect with this, but I was absolutely blown away. It is so completely unsettling, and there is one particular panel towards the end that just opened the whole thing up to even more horror. Acting Class doesn’t seem to be getting as much attention as Drnaso’s previous work, Sabrina, but in my opinion it is vastly superior. 

Regular readers of my blog will know I am very much into the genre of books “starts pretty normal and then goes batshit crazy”. Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey is my favorite book of this year that falls into that particular category. At first, this book presents itself as a kind of crime thriller, as a woman returns to her childhood home to reopen old wounds. But it is so much more than that, and I read the end section quite a few times to digest what was going on. 

Another fun, bonkers horror novel is Lute by Jennifer Marie Thorne. An American woman follows her British husband back to his home island of Lute, in the hopes of disproving the weird ritualistic beliefs the island dwellers have. In short, she doesn’t succeed, and the real fun starts. Full review here.

I love Catriona Ward. I have a fully stamped Ward loyalty card, and will read anything she writes without question. Sundial is my favorite of her books so far, a fun twisty thriller with a mind-blowing finale. Ward is so smart, such an incredible writer, and can weave a hell of a story. I can’t wait for her next novel, Looking Glass Sound, coming in 2023. Full review here. 

It’s only as I go back to edit this post that I realize three of these books are from Tor Nightfire. What a publisher! Please, keep these amazing horror novels coming!

More horror weirdness abound in bonkers novella from Rebecca Campbell, The Talosite. Indie publisher Undertow always delivers the goods, but this book was something else. A woman carries on her father’s legacy of making giants from the bodies of dead soldiers during WWI. Yes, you read that correctly. A surprisingly beautiful book, which frankly deserves a HUGE audience. Full review here.

A fantastic surprise this year was The Dark Between the Trees by Fiona Barnett, a folk horror set in Northern England. It involves a group of academics investigating a wood where strange things happened centuries before. What could possibly go wrong? I loved this novel, and I am so excited to read everything Barnett writes in the future. Full review here.

Last but not least is the gorgeous short story collection, What We Fed to the Manticore, by Talia Lakshmi Kolluri. These nine stories are all told from the perspective of various animals, and I bawled at pretty much every story. This beautiful, well-researched book is absolutely worth your time, and suitable for all ages. Full review here.

Even though I read so many books this year, I feel like there are some exciting novels I just didn’t get chance to read. What have I missed?

Also, thank you, people who read my irregular posts. I’m not entirely sure who I’m writing this for (other than myself), but I appreciate you sharing my enthusiasm for reading. I’m still on the dying Twitter, as well as Instagram, and Goodreads. If you feel so inclined, please reach out and say hello!

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