The annual reading list wrap-up: here is the full list (with my purely subjective and not-really-based-on-any-sort-of-actual-scale ratings) of books I read in 2022. If you'd like to see a summary of each book, just click each title to check it out on goodreads.
Last year's wrap up was organized by book themes/genres, but this year, we're going chronologically.
1. The Odyssey (5/5)
by Homer (Emily Wilson translation)
After reading a couple Greek mythology stories based on the Odyssey and Iliad last year, I decided it was finally time to pick up the "original" Odyssey. Maybe this year I'll finally make time for the Iliad. For me, I love exercising the parts of my brain required to read these old-timey texts, even when they come in a modern translation.
2. 1984 (3/5)
by George Orwell
Though a classic and highly rated English novelist, Orwell's work just doesn't really hit home for me. I think 1984 tells an important story, but I can't say I enjoyed reading it.
Caroline Van Hemert
Recommended by my friend Becca, this novel has it all. It's a beautiful blend of adventure story-telling, philosophical ponderings, and neato-nature facts. I found it incredibly relatable, but at the same time inspiring and uplifting. Absolutely would recommend, especially to young women who are currently working through their personal narratives and life philosophies as they relate to family, children, lifestyle, education, career, and personal passions.
by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Braiding Sweetgrass was such a beautiful piece that I didn't waste time digging into another highly rated work of Kimmerer's. Although a good read, this one didn't hit quite like her previous novel for me, but I'm still glad I read it. The composition of this piece leans heavily on science and ecology, but there is a healthy dose of story and tradition as well.
5. The Secret Life of Lobsters (5/5)
by Trevor Corson
My Kindle has been recommending this novel for a while, and I am so glad I went for it. This is an absolutely excellent blend of story, easily digestible science, and history. If you're at all interested in science-based wildlife/fisheries management, marine ecology, political decision-making, or just a good story with twists and turns, this is for you. Anyone with any background can enjoy this novel - it's so random, but truly is a fascinating and well-told story with details in all the right places. This might be one of my all-time favourite novels!
6. Lonesome Dove (4.5/5)
by Larry McMurtry
My first dive into western fiction with none other than the Pulitzer Prize winning and highly rated (and really long) Lonesome Dove classic. I felt like I forced myself through most of this novel, but once I finished I realized just how much I actually did enjoy it. This novel is pretty raw and doesn't hold back on the details of what life was really like back then, but it is simply a great story. Lonesome Dove is the third book in this tetralogy - I read two of them this year and I think that's good enough for me. If you're interested in classic westerns or just want a compelling and authentic story, I would recommend this novel.
by Paul McKendrick
I borrowed this novel from my Grandma who also highly recommended it. It was full of interest and mystery, and was extra engaging for me because so much of it takes place in areas in British Columbia where I've spent a lot of time, yet I've never heard of this story! Excellently researched and fantastic story-telling by the author. Also, the cover art is beautiful.
8. Animal Farm (3/5)
by George Orwell
I only picked this up because it's a short read and I figured I may as well tick off the other Orwell classic to see if I enjoyed it more. Honestly, the point being made here seemed a little overstated to me and I found the read quite uncomfortable. I think it was written intentionally in that way. Overall, this was a worthwhile use of time, with some interesting concepts that were worth pondering. Much like 1984, I can't say I really enjoyed this work, but I do think it is an important text.
by Charles Duhigg
An interesting non-fiction/self-help with excellent story-telling. I don't have a whole lot to say about it - you'll know from the title if this is for you or not. If you're in to this sort of thing, I'd say it's a good read.
10. Ariadne (4.5/5)
by Jennifer Saint
Another excellent read in Greek mythology. There are so many twists and turns and I loved the feminine perspective of this story. Would recommend.
11. Streets of Laredo (4.5/5)
by Larry McMurtry
After missing the characters in Lonesome Dove for a few weeks, I decided to pick up the fourth and final book in this western-classic tetralogy. In the words of my partner's dad (who also loved that novel): "it's no Lonesome Dove", however this book was deep and impactful. Though I do believe it would be a great stand alone novel, I truly think the impact is higher if you've at least read Lonesome Dove first.
by Brian Murphy
This book was awesome. The story-telling and the story were both so excellent. I am not typically interesting in war/military-era stories, but I picked this up because it was a short, easy read. I am so glad I did and would highly recommend it. Though the ending is very satisfying, I did shed a few tears.
by Buddy Levy
This historical fiction is rated 4.8/5 on Amazon and I think that's right where I would put it as well, maybe higher. My friend Ashely recommended this book to me over the summer, and once I finally picked it up I absolutely flew through it. Another exceptionally well-researched and well-told story. I'll have to pick up more work by Buddy Levy next year!
14. The Silence of the Girls (3.5/5)
by Pat Barker
I'm kind of on a roll with ancient Greek mythology as you can tell by my 2021 and 2022 reading lists. However, I had been putting off this novel, as it tells a different, darker perspective of the events in Song of Achilles (one of my favourite all time reads). I loved that novel so much and I didn't want to pick up a different version and ruin the glowing vision I had of the characters. Well - this one was tough. It's been noted as the feminist perspective of some of the events of the Iliad, and Pat Barker really spares no details. I didn't hate the content, but I just found the language more foul and honestly kind of gross than it needed to be for my taste. For that reason, it's really not my favourite work in this genre but I think it is an important perspective to understand.
Current read: Walden
by Henry David Thoreau
I really thought I'd have this one on the list for 2022, but I'm only about 70% through reading this short novel. So far, it's an excellent read with lots of great philosophical nuggets.
Happy reading everyone - may you find the best in 2023!