Books of the Year 2022

Another year where I have to preface this list with the observation that I didn’t read much literary fiction this year. To be sure, the last year has been rough, but even so I’ve more and more had the adage that “old men don’t read new fiction” brought to my attention. I do still spend a lot of time with the classics, and even more time with non-fiction. But outside of science fiction, a regular beat, I haven’t kept up with new novels and short story collections. And at this point I’m not sure I see that changing. Oh well.

Best fiction: As noted, I don’t have a lot of titles in this category to pick among. Cormac McCarthy’s The Passenger (and emphatically not its companion volume Stella Maris) was pretty good though. It’s written in his signature late style, which I find overdone, but that said, he’s one of the few really distinctive literary voices out there working at this level.




Best non-fiction: I was really impressed with Richard Overy’s Blood and Ruins: The Great Imperial War, 1931–1945 (which came out in 2021 in the U.K. but in 2022 over here). You wouldn’t think a single-volume history of the Second World War would be so thorough and include so much fresh thinking. Some subjects are just so large I’m sure we’ll never hear the last word on them.




Best SF: There was a lot of strong competition in this category again this year. I liked Dave Eggers’s The Every as a dark sequel to the already dark-enough The Circle, but for my pick of the year I’ll take Ned Beauman’s Venomous Lumpsucker for the way it handled a number of complicated ideas in a deft, intelligent, and playful way.


8 thoughts on “Books of the Year 2022

  1. I read the Lumpsucker after your review, great fun but also quietly mind blowing.
    Going to have to get Blood & Ruins for Phil.
    If you do decide to do fiction ever again, I can heartily recommend the Babylon Berlin Books by Volker Kutscher set in Germany in the 20’s just before Blood & Ruins and historically top notch.

    Liked by 1 person

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