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2022 in books (my favourites)

So, I didn’t hit my 52 books target this year, for the second year running.

I was a fair way off.

I’m surprised by that; I’ve spent an obscene amount of time on trains this year and have two nights a week away from home with nothing to do but read, guilt free, in my hotel room.

Thinking about it though, I shouldn’t be too surprised.

I had a couple of reading slumps, there were a few books I struggled with that took me weeks to finish and I’ve spent a lot of time socialising on my two nights away with nothing to do but read, guilt free. 

But the biggest culprit in 2022 is the fact I haven’t had a beach holiday.

The covid years meant we went on very different holidays, the type where you find a sun lounger, plonk your arse down for a week or two and do nothing but read in the sun, I’d easily knock five books at least on this type of holiday. This year saw us return to road trip traveling and, though I took my Kindle with me, the only time I picked it up was on the flight to and from America.

I have no regrets.

So, there may have been fewer books this year but it’s still been a good reading year and here are my favourites…

My favourite series…..

I’m not a big series reader.

I don’t have the attention span to stick with a series, I start to get annoyed.

And yet, the “Do they know it’s Christmas yet?” trilogy have been some of favourite books of the past two years.

I read the first last year, this year I completed the two follow ups “Did they steal a million yet?” and “Wish you were here yet?”.

I love these British time travel tales that go back to the 80s. They never fail to make me laugh and smile and I love the nostalgia.

I can’t wait for the fourth book – I’m hoping there’s going to be a bloody fourth book – and I’m dying to see them turned into a TV show.

The one that became my most read post….

How to kill your family by Bella Mackie.

I could sit here for hours trying to work out what makes certain posts take off while others don’t and still not have a coherent answer….let’s just say it’s a fluke.

Anyway, this one became my most popular post of the year, thankfully it was for a book that I loved.

I loved reading about Grace Bernard’s exploits as she started bumping off members of her estranged family.

She still holds the title of most compelling character too. She’s a narcissist and a complete pyscho, very twisted and yet, I really liked her, I’m hoping others who’ve read this will understand that.

The one that consumed me….

Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney.

A dysfunctional family with a whole load of secrets meet up to celebrate their Nanna’s birthday at Seaglass, a house on an island, in Cornwall, that’s cut off by the tide for 12 hours.

They’ve all told lies and are now being punished for those lies. One by one they’re being murdered.

Who’s the killer and what is the terrible secret that the Darker family are hiding.

It’s filled with some truly awful characters, it’s creepy and unsettling. I couldn’t finish this thriller quick enough and my heart broke for Daisy.

The one that introduced me to a new city…

Memphis by Tara M Stringfellow.

Tara M Stringfellow’s Memphis is a story about three generations of women from the same family spanning many, many years.

I loved this story and its characters but for me the setting was mesmerising.

Memphis became a character in it’s own right.

I could picture the streets, I could hear the noise and salivated over the food.

While reading this book, I changed the itinerary of our American road trip so we could spend longer in Memphis, I just had to go and it lived up to my expectations.

The one that was depressingly timely….

Take my hand by Dolen Valdez Perkins.

Based on real events in 1970s America, Take my Hand explores the programme of forced sterilisation on young black girls.

Civil takes a job at a family planning clinic in Montgomery, she sees it as giving women the chance to take charge of their bodies and contraception.

She meets India and Erica Williams – neither sister has ever kissed a boy – but the fact they’re poor and black is enough for authorities to place them on birth control. Civil cares for the sisters and their family as though they were her own and questions the ethics of the girls being on contraception.

Matters are taken out of her hands though when the head nurse has them surgically sterilised – it is horrifying.

It’s a tale about reproductive rights and women having the right to choose.

As I was reading this, the reversal of Roe v Wade came through – seems choice is still a distant dream for millions of American women.

The one that was the most thought-provoking

The Measure by Nikki Erlick

The world is turned upside down when every adult receives a small wooden box on the same day. Inside it is a piece of string…..that piece of string tells you how long you have to live.

Do you open the box?

Absolutely not….I’ll stick with blissful ignorance thank you very much.

I loved how many questions this dilemma threw up for the different characters in this book way beyond the initial do you look or not.

What do you do if you have a short string, and your partner has a long one? Do you walk away even though that’s always been the risk anyway?

Honestly, this is one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read and I’m still thinking about it.

The one that made me cackle on the train….

Undoctored by Adam Kay.

The follow up to This is Going to Hurt is every bit as good as its predecessor.

Undoctored is about what happened after Adam Kay walked away from his career as a doctor.

It is laugh out loud funny in places. Some of his stories are gross and cringey but they will have you howling on a packed train.

It’s also a sad story and that’s what makes it poignant too. It hammers home how tough a job in the NHS is. The staff (who are wonderful) are over worked and underpaid. The whole system is criminally underfunded, and thousands of health care staff are leaving every year.

Undoctored is another timely release for 2022 as nurses stage the biggest walk out in history and paramedics go on strike too. Why? Because they aren’t earning a living wage, there are health care workers using foodbanks and the conditions are appalling. 

Still, our government clapped them every week during the pandemic….claps will pay soaring energy and food bills I’m sure.

The one that reminded me that the world and people are fundamentally good…

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman.

To be fair, any of the Fredrik Backman books I’ve read this year could take this title, but Anxious People really stuck with me.

On the surface it’s a story about an incompetent bank robber and their hostages…or is it?

It’s a story about people. Messy, messy people. They’re all trying to make their way through life, they’re all a bundle of anxiety and they’re all making a pig’s ear of things.

“This story is about a lot of things, but mostly about idiots. So, it needs saying from the outset that it’s always very easy to declare that other people are idiots, but only if you forget how idiotically difficult being human is.” ― Fredrik Backman

It is a story about compassion and empathy, and it is wonderful. Read it, it’ll make you feel so much better.

The one that was the most uplifting…

The funny thing about Norman Foreman by Julietta Henderson.

What do you do when you’re 11 and your best friend – the Rolls bloody Royce of best friends – dies suddenly?

If you’re Norman Foreman, you re-write the 5-year plan you had with said best friend.

Your new plan is “look after mum, find dad and perform at the Edinburgh Fringe”, even if you weren’t the ‘funny one’ in your double act.

Norman’s mum, Sadie, promises to make that happen for him, even if it means having to have a few very awkward conversations with Norman’s potential dads.

What follows is the road trip of a lifetime with the help of Leonard, Sadie’s octogenarian colleague.

Yes, there are sad parts but its bursting with warmth and humour. It’s a real coming of age story as Norman confronts life’s bloody awful trials. 

The one that was a love letter to books…

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams.

The next time someone asks me why I read so much, I swear to God I’m going to hit them in the face with this book and then stand over them while they read it.

Set in Wembley, Mukesh is a lonely widower, having lost his wife Naina two years earlier.

Naina was a big reader, he never understood it and as a result he’s now struggling to connect with his 11-year-old granddaughter, Priya, a child who, just like her grandma, is always reading.

By chance he finds a copy of The Time Travellers Wife that Naina never got to return to Harrow Road library.

Desperate to connect to his wife, Mukesh starts reading it. It brings him comfort; it reminds him of falling in love with Naina and losing her.

That leads him to the library and Aleisha – also not a reader – she’s got a summer job at Harrow Road. By chance, she comes across a reading list stuffed into a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird.

I have never read a book that sums up my love of reading more.

It’s beautiful, it’s about how books have the power to connect us and how sharing our favourites is an act of love.

If you read just one book from this list….make it this one!

I’d say my reading hasn’t been as varied as usual. 

I haven’t read many non-fiction books, I don’t think there’s been a single memoir – unheard of – but still, I’ve been spoilt this year, the majority books I’ve read have been wonderful and there are many more that deserve a place on this list.

Maybe I’ll hit next year’s target, maybe I’ll actually set one. Whatever, just like this year, there will always be a book on the go.

Here’s to 2023!

Have you read any of these? I’d love to hear your thoughts….

radiosarahc View All

Journalist, writer, traveller, music lover, collector of hats, news addict, bookworm

10 thoughts on “2022 in books (my favourites) Leave a comment

  1. I enjoyed Anxious People too and look forward to reading more of this author’s work. For me, reading is about quality not quantity and consuming books that bring me joy. I’m at an age now where I know the genres I like and stick with them. Happy New Year Sarah!

    Liked by 1 person

    • He has very quickly become my favourite author – I’m interested to see what the film adaptation of a man called Ove is like! Definitely about quality over quantity, I’m better at knowing what I’m going to like but still get caught out occasionally hahaha


    • It’s brilliant isn’t it? Equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking l.
      I hope you enjoy how to kill your family – she is a fascinating character, I read an interview with Bella Mackie where she discussed the motivation behind Grace and it was really interesting.


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