Best Books Released in 2022

I can’t remember a year where I’ve read so few of the books that are being touted on the Best of the Year Lists (see, for example, Washington Post, New York Times, NPR, The Guardian, and Time).  This year I read 34 books published in 2022, which is similar to how I read last year, meaning just under one-third of my books were new releases.  I think I did a lot more “comfort reading” this year, so I read less literary fiction, which is maybe why I didn’t read a lot of the “best-of’s”. 

Here are my favorites that were published this year, in rough order:

Other 2022 releases I enjoyed this year were Michelle Gallen’s Factory Girls, Stacie Murphy’s The Unquiet Dead, T. Kingfisher’s Nettle & Bone, Travis Baldree’s Legends & Lattes, and Jennifer Haupt’s Come As You Are.

There were a few 2022 books that are touted on the best-of lists but didn’t live up to the hype for me. These were Emily St. John Mandel’s Sea of Tranquility, Jennifer Egan’s The Candy House, Susan Straight’s Mecca, and Karen Joy Fowler’s Booth.

I’ll be posting next week about my favorite overall reads of 2022; these are just the books that were released this year. What were your favorite new releases in 2022?

  14 comments for “Best Books Released in 2022

  1. Sally Jane Smith, Travel Author
    December 29, 2022 at 2:17 pm

    My absolute favourite of 2022 was a debut by an Aussie author named Laura Maya. The book seems to have flown under the radar, getting hardly any airtime anywhere – I guess because it was published by a very small press. Pasting my Goodreads review below (although I am working on a longer review which I hope to have published, because this book deserves more exposure):

    “What happens when a travelling volunteer couple invites their host family, from a remote mountain-side village in Nepal, to accompany them back to Europe?

    This is a book that overflows with love and trust, as the young French-Australian couple and their Nepali hosts forge a new family. Seeing Europe through the eyes of two indigenous Gurung elders is more than an education – it might have you questioning much of what you’ve always taken for granted.

    Despite its serious themes, it’s funny! And easy to read.

    There are so many potential pitfalls for a book like this. It could have been patronising, or smug, or a collection of belittling stereotypes. Instead, the pages are filled with respect and dignity. One gets the sense that the author is constantly questioning her own viewpoints, aware of her privilege, and I deeply appreciate the sensitivity with which she has taken on this project.

    The book is set primarily in Nepal and France, but also includes the unusual foursome’s travels through Italy, Switzerland and the Netherlands. I don’t know how much sense the “Behind the Scenes Movie Reel” at https://LauraMaya.com/TellThemMyName will make if you haven’t yet read the book, but it is a joy to watch and conveys something of the feel of the story.

    PS Aama’s and Baba’s names are Dar Kumari Gurung and Nar Bahadur Gurung.”

    https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4854354096

    • December 29, 2022 at 7:31 pm

      Thanks for sharing Sally. I haven’t heard of Laura Maya, but I’m glad you enjoyed the book!

  2. December 29, 2022 at 5:11 pm

    I had a jaw dropping moment when I saw those “best of lists” and realised I had read so few. Booth didn’t hold much appeal for me but Sea of Tranquility is one I have my eye on.

    • December 29, 2022 at 7:30 pm

      Ah, so it’s not just me… I wonder why it felt that way this year? I love Emily St. John Mandel but Sea of Tranquility obviously wasn’t a favorite. Maybe it was the short format, but also I struggle sometimes with time travel stories.

      • December 30, 2022 at 12:11 pm

        I read quite a lot of 2022 titles but they were not the big hitting books – many of those held little appeal (like the Booker candidates)

  3. December 29, 2022 at 5:38 pm

    I’ve heard some really good things about Demon Copperhead!

  4. December 30, 2022 at 5:43 am

    How different your list is from mine! Isn’t that wonderful? I think so!

    • December 31, 2022 at 9:27 am

      Yes, very different! Of course these are just the new releases, and a lot of my favorites were from previous years. I tend to read about one year behind a lot of the time. I see Ruth Ozeki is on your list, her book was a favorite of mine as well!

      • January 1, 2023 at 1:05 am

        Yes, Ozeki has such a unique writing style that I just love.

  5. December 30, 2022 at 9:46 am

    Some great reads on here!

  6. December 30, 2022 at 2:05 pm

    I also really liked Book Lovers, and need to read the copy of Yerba Buena that I recently picked up. Glad to see you loved so many 2022 books!

    • December 31, 2022 at 9:29 am

      I hope you like Yerba Buena! I really enjoyed the audio. Great story and characters, though I did have some issues with it.

  7. January 2, 2023 at 5:14 am

    I really liked Lessons in Chemistry and Book Lovers, too (I think I read Chemistry in 2021). I have Demon Copperhead to read soon. I don’t distinguish between new and older books in my best of the year but I think about nine of the 26 I listed were published in 2022.

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