Books I Loved in 2022
I’ve always read copiously, but 2022 was a different kind of year for me. I probably read more than ever, but less finished, published novels than typical. I read a lot for work–my own books, clients’ books, writer friends’ books I wanted to review, and books about business. They were all fun to be sure, but still different than the kind of mood reading that usually drives my book picks.
Though my reading list was different this year, I think you’ll recognize what drew me to these top three.
Kindred is about a woman who spontaneously travels back in time to save the life of a distant ancestor, without whom she wouldn’t exist. She is a Black woman from 1970. The ancestor? A white man from 1819.
For a speculative fiction novel, Kindred is hauntingly realistic and visceral. If we were to travel back in time, I think we’d all expect to come out the hero, but Butler demonstrates the terrible power of systemic racism and the lasting impact of apathy.
The book was made into a TV show and is on Hulu now. I’m looking forward to diving in and expect The Handmaid’s Tale vibes.
Quote: “Slavery was a long slow process of dulling.”
Art historian Merlin Stone studies the ancient religion of a goddess that spanned the middle east and parts of Europe and Asia for millennia until it was purposefully torn down by a competing, male-dominated religion. Her research was spurred on by the curiosity of how women might have lived in a matrilineal society.
I was obsessed with When God Was A Woman for weeks and still am. I too was captivated by Stone’s question of how women would have lived–and what we’re missing out on. A supreme female goddess set the tone for a society beyond our imagination. From a decade of research, she painted a rich history of women that has been ignored, demonized, and hidden by modern researchers.
Quote: “Theology is ultimately political.”
Anne Lamott’s bestselling book details advice for writing and living a creative life.
I had seen this title on many how-to-write book lists, but had always passed it by. Perhaps the cover felt too vague, or I assumed the advice would be out of date in the fast-paced publishing industry. But, when I found a copy of Bird by Bird at a local used book sale, I picked it up. And I loved it.
I didn’t expect Lamott to be funny and ruthless in equal measure. Her personal anecdotes exemplify the lessons she shares and, while it was validating to read that writing is hard for everyone, the book also drives you to keep going.
Quote: “Because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, How alive am I willing to be?”
P.S. Just as I hit publish on this, I saw one of my own books included on a reader’s “favorite books of the year” list. What a wonder.