You may remember from my recent post “How To Read 80 Books a Year” that I made some pretty lofty book-related goals this year. Well unfortunately for my reading goals I didn’t even come close to reaching them! This meant that I was busy chasing other goals, which is great for me as a whole. I read a lot of great books this year, 48 to be exact. Here are some of my favourites.
MY TOP SIX BOOKS OF 2022
These are the books that I would want to talk to people about, if people in my life talked about books. Alas, those people do not exist for me, so instead I will shout into the void of my blog.
- Confessions of a Recovering Engineer: Transportation for a Strong Town by Charles L. Marohn Jr. If you encountered me shortly after I finished this book, I talked to you about it. Guaranteed. One of my passions is planning our cities and communities – and building them – so they actually benefit our residents. And this guy builds his whole life around that premise. It was mind blowing to read so many of my random, unfinished thoughts actually planned out with data to back them up.
- Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and a Spirit by Lyanda Lynn Haupt. This book came at a time in my year when I was thinking and feeling more about my space in nature. It came at the best time.
- How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell. Y’all might think this book teaches you how to quit social media, but it is so much more than that. Full of heart and hubris too, she really shaped a lot of my internal dialogue for the rest of the year.
Top Science Fiction
- Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir. You know those books that you read, and wish you could go back and read again for the first time because they were so spectacular? I put the third in the series on hold immediately, and y’all, the library doesn’t even own a copy yet. Dark science fiction, gothic horror, this book is also a puzzle. You might solve it, but it will probably also kill you. Super gay.
- This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone. I grabbed this one as my souvenir from Munro’s Books in Victoria B.C. It’s written like a poem, with each chapter alternating perspectives between the two protagonists. Who are also trying to kill each other. And they can time travel. And then they fall in love. And then YOU fall in love. And oh, it ends so perfectly. Super gay.
I had some more specific goals within my larger goal for the year. These are crafted around my values, and are meant as a challenge.
- Read 10 books by Canadians
- Read 10 books by authors with marginalized identities (intersections of BIPOC, queer, trans, immigrant/migrant)
- Read 10 short story or essay collections (4/10)
- Read 1 book of poetry (1/1)
- Read 1 book translated into english
- Read 20 non-fiction books (7/20)
Some of these challenges were difficult to track. I think it’s disrepectful and sometimes just wrong to call Indigenous folks who live in Canada, “Canadians”. Some bios aren’t clear on sexuality (which, why should they be). Science fiction (and fantasy) will always be my top picks, but I like to push the genre boundaries too. Thank goodness I found food mysteries last year. I don’t think that would make a great challenge goal unfortunately.
WHAT’S IN STORE FOR 2023
Over the past many years of me making book goals and tracking my reading, I have consistently reached 70 to 80 books read. This year I didn’t even come close. I have already reduced my big number goal down to 60, and adjusted some of my challenge goals to match my values, but avoid the ick factor of tracking people’s identities. I have a bunch of books on hold at the library, I’ve got a monthly book club, and I might even get back into audio books. The sky is the limit!
FURTHER READING AND RESOURCES
Charles Marohn Jr. and his team publish a lot of great stuff over at Strong Towns if you’re interested in city – and street – planning.
Lyanda Lynn Haupt has written a few books about nature, birds specifically, if that’s your jam.
Jenny Odell is a prolific writer of essays and articles. You might find one here that tickles your fancy.
It felt very wholesome and twee to discover Tamsyn Muir’s tumblr just now.
Get Booked, my favourite podcast for book recommendations isn’t publishing new episodes, but there are hundreds of old episodes that I can still troll through.
If you’re looking to diversify your list, check out this list of 15 Native Authors to Read This Year (Cowboys & Indians)
No longer buying new books – unless they are for a gift or a souvenir – means I am getting better at finding good spots to grab used books. Some of my favourite spots in Edmonton are: Alhambra Books, Paper Birch Books, Wee Book Inn, and the library!
And not that I think anyone on God’s green earth would be interested, here is my tracking spreadsheet! Follow along as I add books throughout the year.