Concluding the 2022 Reading Year with Nine Books

With nine books, 2,642 pages, and thirteen different genres, I think it’s safe to say that I wrapped 2022 with an epic selection and reading month. Among the authors were Backman, Moshfegh, and Lucy Maud Montgomery; however, I think the book that was the biggest surprise to me was Babel by R.F. Kuang.

Now let’s get into my December reads.

 

The Winners

Written by Fredrik Backman

Concluding the Beartown series is The Winners, a 600+ page book following all our favorite characters. While beautifully written, this novel wasn’t my absolute favorite out of the trilogy; however, I’m not going to complain because it was an immense amount of fun hanging with all these characters once more. Treading lighting into spoiler territory, I wonder if a new series of books will be written based on its open-ended ending. I guess one day, we may find out.

 

McGlue

Written by Ottessa Moshfegh

Moshfegh did not disappoint with McGlue! I savored every moment of this novella. Like the rest of her stories, the novel’s characters and setting are disturbing. It is set in Mass. during 1851; we are introduced to McGlue, who is drunk and detained for killing his best friend, Johnson. Who honestly came off more as his lover yet would neither admit to it. As McGlue awaits trial, we learn about the history of their friendship and the night that Johnson dies.

After reading the novella, I had many questions. So I started searching the interwebs and found an article where Moshfegh discusses that she got the inspiration for the story when she found an article about a man’s acquittal while being on trial for murder in a New England newspaper from around 1850, which for me makes the story even more fascinating.

I would love to read more from this world.

 

The Alpine Path

Written by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Reading The Alpine Path by Lucy Maud Montgomery was an absolute treat. This short novel, around 96 pages, chronicles Montgomery’s journey as a writer with excerpts from her journals. After reading all the Anne of Green Gable novels, I found the text fascinating. She was especially learning how Anne’s life mirrored Montgomery’s.

Also, because this is an older, well-loved book, there were annotations throughout the pages, which came in handy for understanding other story elements from her other works, such as the Emily series.

According to Goodreads, The Alpine Path was initially published as a series of autobiographical essays in the Toronto magazine Everywoman’s World, later issued separately as an autobiographical novel.

 

A Quiet Life

Written by Ethan Joella

A Quiet Life is another masterpiece written by author Ethan Joella. Like his debut novel, A Little Hope, this novel revolves around a cast of unique characters struggling with grief and loss. We are introduced to three main protagonists: Chuck Ayers, Ella Burke, and Kristen Benato. Chuck has recently lost his wife Cat to cancer, Ella’s husband has abducted their daughter, and Kristen is coming to terms with losing her father.

I devoured this book in literally a day. Joella’s writing structure and prose are beautifully crafted, making it easy to connect with each character personally. In addition, I loved the discussion about grief and how we all navigate those troubling times. I’m not entirely sure there is an easy answer to this hot topic; however, it’s always interesting to partake in this character study.

If you haven’t figured out, this is easily a 5 out of 5 for me. Also, if you’re a fan of Fredrick Backman’s work, then you’ll love this!

 

Homesick for Another World

Written by Ottessa Moshfegh

Two Moshfegh’s in one month! Initially published in The Paris Review, Vice, The Yorker, Granta, and The Baffler, Homesick for Another World is a short story collection containing fourteen tales by Ottessa Moshfegh. Each story has a little plot; they are mostly character study vignettes. I enjoyed Bettering Myself, The Beach Boy, Dancing in the Moonlight, and A Better Place. Have you read it? If so, which were your favorite stories?

 

We Are the Light

Written by Matthew Quick

We Are the Light is relatively short; however, I found it challenging to navigate.

Set in a small town, a gunman goes into a local theater and murders a room full of innocent lives. Those who survived the massacre now must cope with the trauma. This book is also written in epistolary form. Lucas, the narrator of the novel, tells the story through letters to Karl, his Jungian analyst, who was also present during the massacre.

This novel tackled heavy themes and kept me questioning what I was reading, two things I love when reading a book. However, while I recommend it, it isn’t for the faint of heart.

 

 

Anne of West Philly

Written by Ivy Noelle Weir

Illustrated by Myisha Haynes

 

And just like that, I’ve read 100 books this year. Novels, short stories, novellas, and graphic novels, I’ve expanded my horizon and read a few outstanding books. Of course, wrapping up with a retelling of Anne was the icing on the cake.

Anne of West Philly follows the same story elements as the original. However, the author and illustrator cleverly make this their own story, so I appreciate them. And if you’re a fan of the Anne books or have children introduce them to her.

You will not regret it.

 

A Visit: A Ghost Story for Christmas

Written by Shirley Jackson

I grabbed a copy of this short story when I saw the tagline, “A Ghost Story for Christmas.” However, I was duped! There are creepy moments, moments that I question; was the narrator reliable? However, unless this story went over my head, there was no ghost haunting the pages of this book, nor was this set during Christmas. It’s set during summer. So, was I a fan? No, not really.

Let me know if you’ve read this and if I’m missing something! I’d love to hear your perspective.

 

Babel

Written by R.F. Kuang

Published August 23, 2022

There has been a constant pattern with the books I call my favorite reads. That being I’m hesitant to begin reading them. When I heard about Babel in August, I noticed it was categorized as fantasy, which immediately turned me off because I don’t care to read that particular genre. But then I started seeing its comparison to The Secret History by Donna Tartt and had to rethink writing it off.

Set in the 1800s, Babel introduces the reader to Robin Swift, a young Cantonese boy whose mother has died from cholera. He is soon taken in by a mysterious Oxford professor named Lovell and is groomed to become a translator in Babel, a college at Oxford. Add elements of dark academia, a secret society, a half-brother, and translation magic, and you have a complete masterpiece!

This novel holds its own in the dark academia genre. What I found fascinating and stood out was that it twists the narrative and gives the reader a cast of diverse characters. Dark academic books are typically full of white characters; however, this was not the case.

 

 

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