Top Ten Books of 2022

Rather than do a typical reading wrap up for 2022, I decided I’d share a few stats and talk about my top ten books I read last year.  I read a total of 69 books last year and 24,343 pages.  Out of those 69 books, I sorted all the books I gave a five star rating.  Then, I excluded anything that was a re-read or part of a large series I was trying to get caught up on.  The result is the list below.  The list is not in order of preference or ranked.  It’s just in the order I read them last year.  All the book covers and links are to the respective book’s Goodreads page in case you want to add any to your “To Read” list for this year!

1. A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

I finished this book early in the year, and I really enjoyed it.  This book explores deep themes like imperialism, immortality, and the dangers of technology and religious zealotry all while weaving an image of a beautiful sci-fi world with complex characters.  I loved the main character and the relationships they build.  I hope to see more of both in the sequel, A Desolation Called PeaceI am planning to re-read this and read the sequel for the first time when I get my gorgeous special editions from The Broken Binding.  I also hear the author, Arkady Martine, has a new book coming out soon, and if it’s as well written as this one, I’ll definitely be picking it up at some point.

2. The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Tor books via NetGalley. So, I have a confession to make about this one.  I read this book twice in 2022.  That’s how much I loved it!  This book is somewhat different from the others on this list.  For the most part, it’s not meant to be serious.  It’s meant to be a fun romp through a parallel world filled with, you guessed it, Kaiju.  Jamie Gray is so sarcastic and fun, and even though the events leading to his new job were obviously plotted intentionally, the rest of the story is just plain fun.  This book is so quotable as well.  I can definitely see this being a perennial re-read for me.  Check out my full review here.

3. Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

I took entirely too long to read this book.  I checked it out from the library two separate times before I sat down to read it (I am a notorious mood reader).  I’ve been moving away from YA fiction over the past several years, but this is one YA book that will leave you begging for more.  So, it’s good the sequel has been announced!  This book takes place in a world inspired by ancient China with giant mecha, called Chrysalises, piloted by a man and a woman.  This concept is used to explore many complex themes such as traditional gender roles and class societies.  Zetian is full of anger and revenge and power, and she is such a wonderful, flawed person to read about.  Check out my full review here.

4. How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu

This book blew me away in the best and worst way.  I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at first because the first several chapters read like unrelated short stories about people who don’t seem to have any connection with one another.  When those connections start to make sense, though, oh man are you in for a wild ride.  I will say some readers may find some of the content difficult and disturbing, so look up some trigger warnings before reading it.  Sequoia Nagamatsu is definitely an author on my radar now.

5. Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree

If you haven’t heard of this book, then have you been living under a rock?! Just kidding! But seriously, this book has been everywhere, and it’s been especially prominently featured on platforms like TikTok.  It was such a huge indie hit, in fact, that Tor bought and republished the book with an extra short story as a bonus.  I was lucky enough to find a copy of it at my local Barnes & Noble, and I read it all in one sitting.  It is such a cozy fantasy story with beautiful characters, and reading it just left me feeling all warm and happy inside.  I still need to read my republished copy (I gifted my indie copy to my sister-in-law), and I’m excited to hear more about the planned sequel.

6. A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers

This book was a highly anticipated release for me for 2022.  I loved the first book, A Psalm for the Wild-Built, and you can check out my review for that here.  I love the characters in this book, especially Mosscap!  Where Legends & Lattes is a cozy fantasy, A Prayer for the Crown-Shy is what I would call a cozy sci-fi.  It takes place on another world in a Utopia-like setting.  However, that doesn’t mean the people don’t have problems, and that is something Becky Chambers manages to explore through her writing.  Solving problems of necessity doesn’t always lead to self-satisfaction.  I can’t wait to read more in this series even though I don’t think a third installment has been announced yet.  Read my full review here.

7. His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

My sisters have been begging me to start reading the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik for years, and I finally did in 2022.  This is the first book in the series, and it explores how Captain William Laurence goes from being a Navy Captain to an Aerial Corps Captain when he finds a dragon egg.  The whole story takes place during the Napoleonic Wars between Great Britain and France, and it is such an interesting setting for a fantasy novel.  I have plans to finish the series for sure, but it may take a few years to do so since there are eight more books in the series!  Read my full review here.

8. What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Tor Nightfire via NetGalley.  This book is T. Kingfisher’s retelling of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher.  As such, know that this is a horror book with some body horror elements, so consider that before reading it.  The slow burn element of this story was my favorite part, though.  It’s like a creeping chill moving slowly up your back while reading.  I knew while reading it what was likely to happen, but all the little twists and turns the story took were still fun to read about.  This book has some lgbtq rep as well with the main character and narrator being non-binary.  This was my first read by T. Kingfisher, but it won’t be my last.  Read my full review here.

9. Notorious Sorcerer by Davinia Evans

I was given an advanced reader copy of this book by Orbit books.  This is such an underrated fantasy novel to be honest.  I’ve seen it advertised a lot, but I haven’t seen very many people talking about it.  Not only does this world have a very interesting magic system, but the characters have depth and seem believable.  The ending is bittersweet, but since it’s the first book in a series, I have hopes that the relationships built during this book will be explored more in future installments.  Read my full review here.

10. I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

This is another book that I have seen talked about everywhere, so I decided to see what all the fuss was about.  To be honest, I never watched iCarly.  I’m too old to be in the target audience, but I do enjoy reading the occasional memoir.  This book was equal parts fascinating and deeply saddening.  I feel so badly for Jennette McCurdy while also feeling proud of the progress she’s made in healing the trauma from her childhood.  I know I don’t really know her, but I still feel those things about her experience.  I’m glad she was able to share it with the world.

Have you read any of these books? What were your top books of 2022? Let me know in the comments below!

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