Books read: 80
Pages Read: 23,925
Average Rating: 4.13
2022 was an impressive year for me when it came to reading. Prior to this year, my most prolific reading year was 2021, when I read 41 books. That record was obviously trampled in 2022 (made easier by the fact that I’m no longer in school), nearly doubling from the year before. As the extremely high average rating might indicate, I loved so many of the books I read! This isn’t abnormal for me by any stretch—if you regularly hate the books you read, you should probably change up what you are reading.
I took the time to break down my reading habits using charts on StoryGraph (add me as a friend!) and a couple of my own personal metrics.
Books by genre
Below I have chosen my favorite book of each genre where I’ve read at least four books. Although some books fall into multiple categories, I made sure to only choose each book once, in the interest of diversity. Note here that I am excluding LGBTQ+, which I find a needless category since it can be a part of each of the other ones. In my humble opinion, it is not a genre!
The Best Books of Each Genre:
- Contemporary: Skye Falling by Mia McKenzie
Skye Falling was a book I picked up without knowing anything about it. McKenzie is the creator of Black Girl Dangerous (https://www.bgdblog.org/), a site designed to amplify Black queer voices, and that was enough for me to want to read McKenzie’s fiction foray.
- Romance: You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi (Review)
I’ve talked at length about how much I love this book, and you can read my full review of this hot girl summer romance. They’re such an incredible writer, and I loved how fun this book was to read.
- Literary: Luster by Raven Leilani (Review)
Luster is so incredibly depressing that I couldn’t help but love it. Leilani created a character who genuinely broke my heart with her relatable, self-destructive tendencies.
- Memoir: Pretty Baby by Chris Belcher
Belcher’s memoir about discovering herself both as a lesbian and as a dominatrix was captivating and extraordinarily well-written. I felt closer to the author after reading this despite not knowing her at all, which is all I could ever ask from a memoir.
- Feminism: Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language by Amanda Montell
When I tell you I have been quoting Wordslut studies at everyone in my life for the past three months, that is not an exaggeration. So much of the English language is sexist! I never truly took the time to think about that before this book, so I was shocked by my discoveries.
- Historical: Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Review)
I’ve adored Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books ever since I first picked up The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. This book was such a fun read because of the unconventional way it was written and the depth of characterization around young Daisy Jones.
- Young Adult: Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie
I still cannot get over how incredible Ophelia After All was. I wasn’t expecting much when I started it, but the depth of representation and authenticity of the characters drew me in immediately.
- Mystery: The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley (Review)
While this book fell slightly short of Foley’s previous book, The Guest List, it was still my favorite mystery that I read this year. It managed to stay unique, avoid common tropes, and provide plot twists I never saw coming.
- Essays: The Crane Wife by CJ Hauser
It is always difficult for me to nominate a favorite in the “essays” genre because it covers such a wide breadth of topics. In the end, I went with The Crane Wife because while I didn’t concretely relate to Hauser, I could feel the emotions of her piece and admired her earnestness.
- Thriller: The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
The difference between a “mystery” and a “thriller” is subtle at best, but what makes this book a winner is that the action and adventure of our main characters, while spurred by the mystery, existed contentedly without it. I appreciated the strength of the female protagonist and the way she took on problems to solve on her own.
- Self Help: Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? By Julie Smith (Review)
I am a big believer in mental health advocacy, and this book is a great piece of the complex puzzle of caring for yourself. Smith, an online educator, wrote a wide variety of tips, tricks, and tools that you can use to check in with yourself and get started on your mental health journey, especially if you’re unsure of where to start without the help of a therapist.
- Fantasy: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab
I know this book is old! Everyone in the world has probably read it already! Well, now that number includes me as well, because I adored The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue and finally understand the V.E. Schwab hype.
- Business: It’s About Damn Time: How to Turn Being Underestimated Into Your Greatest Advantage by Arlan Hamilton
It was genuinely shocking to me to learn that I read four business books this year. The best by far was It’s About Damn Time. Hamilton shared her journey of starting a venture capital firm, and although I do not want to follow in her exact footsteps, I still felt that I learned valuable information about running a business. After hearing Hamilton talk on a panel at the Lesbians Who Tech conference this year, I had to pick up the book, and I’m glad I did.
This is my first year using StoryGraph, and I’m absolutely obsessed with all of the data it provides. My number one category, with 43 books, was “emotional”. I guess this makes sense, since my top two categories included romances or memoirs, nearly all of which are emotional. Other popular categories include “reflective”, “funny”, “informative”, and “lighthearted”.
My absolute least popular category was “tense”, which makes sense because I’m not a huge fan of books that make me physically uncomfortable. Interestingly I had an average 4.0 rating in this category, which is below my overall average but not by much.
Fiction / Nonfiction
35% of the books I read this year were nonfiction. I went into the year aiming to make at least ⅓ of the books I read nonfiction, and managed to succeed there. For the most part, the nonfiction that I read were all audiobooks—I find it easier to focus on nonfiction when it’s playing in my ears.
I am including this here to contribute to my own accountability. For the gender graph, I included “man”, “woman”, or “gender queer” as the three options primarily because there are a few authors who use multiple pronouns but do not state their “identity”, so I am using “gender queer” as an umbrella term there. I did not read any books by binary trans people this year, but in theory, they would be lumped into “man” or “woman”.
The “other” category here is being used to make the pie chart slightly more legible. It consists of one Palestinian author, one Indian author, and one author who has spoken about not being white but whose actual race I am unsure of.
I definitely have to incorporate a more diverse array of books into my regular reading schedule. My goal for 2023 is to have less than 50% of the authors I read be white, starting with the rest of Akwaeke Emezi’s books, All This Could Be Different by Sarah Thankam Mathews, and The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West.
Like I already mentioned, I leaned into audiobooks this year. I absolutely despise silence, so when I’m at home, there is always either a TV show, podcast, playlist, or audiobook playing to keep a part of my brain occupied. Here’s my take on the controversy over whether or not audiobooks are “real” books: They concretely are. Without all of the audiobooks I read this year, I would have missed out on so many incredible titles that became some of my favorites.
What books did you read this year? What were your favorites?