This seems as good a day as any to finish up my year-end transition for reading books, since I just finished the last Christmas story I’d set aside to read in 2022, day-before-yesterday, nearly two weeks into 2023. For reference, I’ll provide the following two links to my 2022 reading year on Goodreads: My Goodreads 2022 Year in Books and My Goodreads 2022 Reading Challenge. These are provided in case you’d rather look at book covers than read this long text post. Or of course you can skip over this post entirely.
Sometimes, in rebellious moments, I wonder why we insist on these demarcations between time periods, especially ending the year in the middle of a season. It feels so arbitrary to me, especially this year, for some reason. Maybe it’s that the same weather patterns are continuing, and I have some ongoing projects that are the same projects now as they were in December. But the powers that be insist that that was 2022 and this is 2023. There’s a line drawn. So I go along with it in the same spirit I do Daylight Savings Time and paying taxes. I suppose these demarcations between years do serve a purpose, in helping us set goals and make plans, to assess how we’re doing, for reflection, even nostalgia, and to remember things in small enough groupings to be meaningful.
I deliberately tried to read less in 2022 than in 2021, for a couple of reasons. One reason is, I read fiction mostly at night before sleep, and as a result I have trouble getting enough sleep. The better the story, the more likely it is I’ll want to keep reading past the time I should. I even have a shelf at Goodreads for books that I lose sleep reading, in other words I couldn’t put them down. The other reason is that December tends to be a month with enough other pressures that I don’t need the added pressure of some high number of books I’ve challenged myself to read, at that time of year. I don’t mind working to deadlines, but I avoid arbitrary ones like that. So I started 2022 with a reading challenge of just 12, which seems impossibly low for anyone who loves to read, and when I reached that I doubled it to 24, but no more than that, although I ended the year 2022 with at least 81 books read. There were some did-not-finish books that I have not recorded on Goodreads, so it was probably more like 83 or 84. It was nice, this past year, to end my seasonal reading a bit late and not feel any undue pressure to keep it within 2022.
I won’t list everything I read here. If you want to know that, you can refer to either of the links provided above. Here I’ll only list my very favorite books that 1) I finished reading in 2022, and 2) I rated 4-5 stars and considered favorites for some other mysterious but important-to-me reason. Some months include both nonfiction and fiction, and it appears that there was one month I read only fantasy, and another month only science fiction, another month almost all nonfiction. Most months included some Jane Austen variations, or Jane Austen Fan Fiction (JAFF), whichever you prefer to call it. In some of these months I had a lot of favorites!
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (fiction, literary classic)
I began 2022 with a reread of Pride and Prejudice. I read it this time as a kind of mental reset, and I deliberately read it slowly, savoring each chapter. This reading gave me a feeling again for the original characters, and the language Austen herself used. It also gave me a chance to reflect, from the perspective of the original, on why I like to read variations on the story as much as I do. It had been a few years since I’d last read the original.
I began reading through some books on writing by well-known authors toward the end of 2021. I continued that in 2022. Both of those read in February count as favorites.
Write Away: One Novelist’s Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life by Elizabeth George (nonfiction, writing)
Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story by Ursula K. Le Guin (nonfiction, writing)
Mr. Fizwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World by Abigail Reynolds (fiction, Jane Austen vairation)
The Vacuum of Space by Julia Huni (science fiction, semi-cozy mystery)
More Agreeably Engaged by Jann Rowland (fiction, Jane Austen variation)
Against Every Expectation by Paige Badgett (fiction, Jane Austen variation)
Nordic Tales: Folktales from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark by Chronicle Books (fiction anthology, folktale collection)
In April I did a lot of fantasy reading. I hadn’t read much fantasy fiction in years.
The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo (fantasy fiction)
Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch by Julie Abe (middle-grade fantasy fiction)
Freedom’s Landing by Anne McCaffrey (science fiction)
All Systems Red by Martha Wells (science fiction)
On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner (nonfiction, writing)
Solaris by Stanislaw Lem (science fiction)
Epiphany by Jessie Lewis (fiction, Jane Austen variation)
Picture Perfect Knits by Laura Birek (nonfiction, knitting)
Wild Apples by Henry David Thoreau (nonfiction, essay)
Journey Through the Text of A Course in Miracles by Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D. (nonfiction, spiritual commentary)
Her Sisterly Love by Lucy Marin (fiction, Jane Austen variation)
Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad by Austin Kleon (nonfiction, creativity, self-help)
A Marvelous Light by Freya Marske (fiction, fantasy, historical, mystery, LGBTQA romance)
A Stronger Impulse by Julie Cooper (fiction, Jane Austen variation)
A Proper Introduction by Alix James (fiction, Jane Austen variation)
Loose Fish Vols 1 and 2 by Beverly A. Jackson (nonfiction, memoir)
The Wild Robot by Peter Brown (fiction, childrens, science fiction/fantasy)
Mr. Darcy’s Refuge by Abigail Reynolds (fiction, Jane Austen variation) (second reading)
Charming Mr. Darcy by Jessica L. Jackson (fiction, Jane Austen variation, fantasy, mystery)
The Most Interesting Man in the World by Jan Ashton (fiction, Jane Austen variation, humor)
Most of my favorites from October are nonfiction.
The Fifty Miracle Principles of A Course in Miracles by Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D. (nonfiction, spiritual commentary)
1-Hour WordPress 2022 by Dr. Andy Williams (nonfiction, how-to)
Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman by Lucy Worsley (nonfiction, biography)
The Author Blog by Anne R. Allen (nonfiction, how-to)
A Famous Good Marrying Scheme by Jan Ashton (fiction, Jane Austen variation, humor)
Three Simple Lines by Natalie Goldberg (nonfiction, writing)
Grammar for a Full Life by Lawrence Weinstein (nonfiction, writing)
The Classic Tradition of Haiku by Faubion Bowers (nonfiction, poetry)
Building a Second Brain by Tiago Forte (nonfiction, how-to, personal knowledge management)
Darcy By Any Other Name by Laura Hile (fiction, Jane Austen variation, paranormal romance)
The Flame Ignites by Donna Fletcher Crow (mystery, romance)
December 2022 was a super month for JAFF reading. I reread a few favorites, and found some new favorites.
The Last House in Lambton by Grace Gibson (fiction, Jane Austen variation)
As Only Mr. Darcy Can by Laura Hile (fiction, Jane Austen variation, humor) (second reading)
Twelve Days of Christmas by Jennifer Lang (fiction, Jane Austen variation) (second reading)
The Peculiarity of Mr. Darcy’s Mirror by L.L. Diamond (fiction, Jane Austen variation, paranormal/time travel romance)
Unequal Affections by Lara S. Ormiston (fiction, Jane Austen variation) (second reading)
Step Lively, Mr. Darcy by Laura Hile (fiction, Jane Austen variation, humor, Christmas)
All in all, I’m happy with my 2022 reading year, and though I did manage to get a little more sleep by only challenging myself to read 24 books, I still read a lot, and I could still use more sleep. So I’ll have to find another solution to that, but it’s not a problem I lose much sleep over — pardon intended. I just love to read, and that’s been a life-long puzzle, how to get enough sleep and read as much as I want.
2023 is a brand new reading year, and it’s already off to a great start. What books stand out in your mind that you read in 2022? Feel free to comment, and to share.
Happy New Year! and Happy Reading!
Note: I read mostly e-books, on a Kindle e-reader. Some of the above-listed books, especially those that are Jane Austen variations or self-published, are available only on Amazon, and some only as e-books.