Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Top Ten Reads of 2022

It's that time of year again. Remember, these are the books I read in 2022, not books that were published that year. 

10. Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby

A revenge tale about two fathers finding the men who murdered their sons. The action is exciting and the sense of loss throughout the book is palpable. 

9. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

A woman who doesn't remember anything about her past studying the strange mansion she finds herself in. A book full of wonderful imagery. 

8. Death's End by Liu Cixin

I only put The Three-Body Problem on my honorable mentions last year. While it is a good book, the trilogy really picks up in the second and third book. This one, the third, is an imaginative view into the far, far future when the world is so different, it becomes alien to the present. 

7. Tears of a Komsomol Girl by Audrey Szasz

Part coming of age story, part study of Russian serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, part look into the last days of the Soviet Union, Szasz's first full novel is an amazing, brutal, and surreal work. 

Full review here. 

6. Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica

One of the bleakest horror books I've read recently, this story about a world where cannibalism is normal is an incredibly affecting story. 

5. The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

A unique alternative history that looks at a Nazi-occupied United States from the perspective of everyday people. It's also full of interesting concepts about the nature of reality and the perception of history. Definitely my favorite of Dick's that I've read so far. 

4. The Dark Forest by Liu Cixin 

The second in The Three-Body Problem trilogy. The book is a fascinating dive into psychology, sociology on a cosmic scale, and a gripping thriller. My favorite of the trilogy. 

3. Coin Locker Babies by Ryu Murakami

The stories of Kiku and Hashi, two boys abandoned in coin-operated lockers as infants. They grow up to become a pole-vaulter with deep anger issues and a queer rock star. The story only gets stranger from there. The best I've read from Murakami so far.

2. Stoner by John Williams

The tragic tale of an undistinguished academic, his failed relationships, and his derailed career. It's an excellent novel about a simple man crushed by the weight of the world. 

1. Hard Rain Falling by Don Carpenter 

The story of Jack Levitt, a man who never had it made. This is often labeled a crime novel, but it's more of a study of a man who has to turn to crime to survive. Sad at times, hilarious at others, it's my favorite read of 2022.

Honorable Mentions

- We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
- The Bottoms by Joe R. Lansdale
- Children of the New Flesh, edited by Chris Kelso and David Leo Rice
- Contempt by Alberto Moravia