I read a lot in 2022 but did not meet my target of matching the number of books I read in 2021. It's all good, and I'm happy with what I read over the past year. I ended up reading 44 books totaling around 12,000 pages. While I won't list them all here, I want to mention a few.
Sick as Our Secrets by Jim Christopher is a follow-up to his debut novel Season of Waiting. Jim is a friend, so when I read his debut novel, I texted him a LOT. After I read it, we had a long call where he answered all of my questions about the book. When the follow-up came out in 2022, I jumped right in. Jim warned me that the style in the second book was different, but it didn't matter. I was pulled into his great storytelling and finished it pretty quickly.
The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson is one of those books I picked up without knowing anything about it or the author. I was scrolling through Libby and something in the description caught my eye, so I checked it out. It wasn't long after that I picked up a physical copy at Barnes and Noble because I wanted it on my shelf! If I was ever going to own a store, it would be a bookstore. Of course, in the age of Amazon, that's a tough hill to climb, but still, I can dream.
Failure Is Not An Option by Gene Kranz. This is a great read if you're interested in the early days of NASA and what it took to get the United States in space (and on the moon). It was a different time and I'm not sure we could pull something like this off today.
A Separate Peace by John Knowles now holds a special place on my shelf and in my heart. It was given to me by a classmate at our 31-year high school class reunion this past June. While Darcy and I weren't friends in school, we have become friends as adults, and for that, I am grateful.
Apparently, this is one of those books that people love or hate. I'm not sure how I missed reading it in high school, but I am grateful to have read it as an adult. There were times that the book felt very nostalgic, and as I was reading it, I would think of my friends, both from my school years and now.
I'm a fan of Mark Bowden and have read several of his books over the years. Huế 1968 was excellent. I thought I knew a lot about the war in Vietnam, but this book showed I knew very little. After reading the Afghanistan Papers, I'm blown away by the similarities between Vietnam and Afghanistan. I will never fault the brave men and women who went into harm's way in either place, but seriously, the politicians can fuck right off. The number of times politicians were told what they wanted to hear (in both wars) or just flat-out ignored the boots on the ground is rage-inducing.
The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For by David McCullough is my second favorite book of the year. I absolutely love his writing, and the speeches included in this book were outstanding. You can find most of them on YouTube if you'd prefer to listen instead of reading. My favorite speech in the book is "The Love of Learning," although it's tough to pick a favorite. They're all so good. On a sad note, David McCullough died last year, and we have lost a great historian with his passing.
The Indisputable Existence of Santa Claus: The Mathematics of Christmas by Hannah Fry and Thomas Oléron Evans is an incredibly geeky and fun book. I discovered it in 2021 after watching a video with Hannah talking about how to win at Monopoly. It's a fantastic read, and even if you're not a math nerd, it's enjoyable. As strange as it sounds, there were times I felt like I was talking with Vezzini, trying to figure out which goblet was poisoned with iocane powder.
A couple honorable mentions. First, I don't read a lot of fantasy, but when I found out my old highschool friend had published a couple books (with more on the way), I had to read them. Eric even brought me an autographed copy of the second book to our class reunion!
Ascent of the Holy Blade and The Hand of the Black Blade by Eric Westfall were both good books, but (as he and I discussed at the reunion) the editor he used didn't do a great job. I'd love to see both get a solid editor and a re-release, but I am looking forward to the third entry in the series!
I have my reading goal set for 2023 and am looking forward to writing the next version of this post!