I set my 2022 reading goal to the usual 50 books, but fell well short. I might have forgotten to record some, but if so, not many. The total books read on record is only 25.
The end of the year was dominated by books about marketing novels. This is where I think I lost some titles I read. But, some of the ones I remembered to list on GoodReads include How to Make a Living with Your Writing: Turn Your Words into Multiple Streams Of Income and Successful Self-Publishing: How to self-publish and market your book in ebook and print, both by Joanna Penn, and Creating Income Streams: Ninja Writers Guide to How to Be a Writer by Shaunta Grimes. There were several others, and about three that are still showing as “currently reading” because I’ve been going back and forth in them.
In novels, I read a lot of classics. I finished my Wallace Stegner binge early in the year with Crossing to Safety. I just can’t recommend Stegner enough. I also made myself read a Hemingway and a Faulkner, For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Reivers, respectively. These were better than my first go-around with their novels, but … they may have been John Steinbeck’s contemporaries, but they sure weren’t his equals. I also worked in Graham Greene’s The Quiet American and Mark Twain’s Roughing It. Greene was okay. I could not wait to finish the Twain, though it started out well.
In contemporary books, it was an interesting set. A Single Swallow by Zhang Ling sucked me in when I didn’t really think it would. The same for The Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper. Restoration by Rose Tremain was a strange book that I kept thinking I would give up on but stuck with to the end and it came out … not as a regret.
In speculative fiction, there were only three titles. I continued to be unimpressed with modern Stephen King when I read Fairy Tale. Jim Butcher’s first Dresden Files novel, Storm Front, was very enjoyable and I’ll have to read more of those. The surprise, simply because I hadn’t heard of it despite it winning a Stoker Award, was The Fisherman by John Langan.
At the bottom of the list is Walking to Listen: 4,000 Miles Across America, One Story at a Time by Andrew Forsthoefel. I loved the premise, but his insistence on politicizing everything was a real turnoff. I also only gave two stars to The Sword in the Stone from The Once and Future King by T.H. White. It just bored me.
The only two books to get (maintain) five stars were a couple of rereads: The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, something I used to teach to my AP Literature kids every year, and The Shepherd of the Hills by Harold Bell Wright. The Williams play is a work of art. Wright’s novel is so full of nostalgia and memories of Mom that, although I recognized a ton of flaws in it, I still give it five stars.
If you care to, you can see my entire year in reading right here.
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