I tried hard to read a bunch of books in 2022. These were the best ones, no particular order. Most are older than 2022 of course.

  1. Parable of the Sower, Parable of the Talents – Octavia E. Butler – two parts of the same story written in the 1990s about a future in the 2020s. Not just prophetic, but also affectionate, visceral, and somehow hopeful.
  2. A Collection of Essays – George Orwell – in which he both shows and tells you that he is better than other writers.
  3. Your Black Friend and Other Strangers – Ben Passmore – meaty but brisk graphic novel with equal parts punk politics, comedy, and absurdist fantasy. Great art.
  4. Frankenstein – Mary Shelly – 200 year-old spoiler: AI experiment backfires.
  5. King City – Brandon Graham – beautiful and sprawling graphic brain-vomit from a strange and whimsical mind. Elegant silly darkness.
  6. The Lathe of Heaven – Ursula K LeGuinn – A person with special dream powers can’t help messing with post-apocalyptic Portland, OR. Very much like Portlandia.
  7. Rilke’s book of hours – I don’t really understand poetry, but I had a great time reading it as a way to connect to a place and time (Lake Buchanan, TX, Oct 2022)
  8. Farewell My Lovely – Raymond Chandler – racist AF but also really fun to read. Can we please only cancel parts of this book?
  9. Orbitsville – Bob Shaw – I love Bob Shaw more than is appropriate. This is a fairly inconsequential page turner about a Dyson sphere which I loved for no particularly good reason. I just really like how Shaw doesn’t make things any more fantastical than he needs to in order to tell a totally bonkers story.
  10. Scenes From My Life – Michael K. Williams – Brilliant life ended months after the last chapter was written. He was clearly dealing with his problems and giving back, but with the scale of his problems, but he needed more time. A brutal reminder that brilliance, hard work, success, and wisdom just aren’t enough to overcome what the world has done to some of us.
  11. Light from Uncommon Stars – Ryka Aoki – Leila Henley recommended this. Along with Simon the Fiddler, I found it to be a great exploration of what it’s like to be a musician. It’s also a layered character-driven love story about complex women dealing with abuse, prejudice, and exploitation. Plus literal demons, space aliens, and donuts. I’ve never read anything like this before.
  12. The Three-Body Problem – Cixin Liu – Genius hard sci fi. You want a mind blowing concept? How about 10 of them, smooshed together from the perspective of a survivor of the Chinese Cultural Revolution? A bit of a rickety plot compared to my expectations from a novel. However, with so much happening, it never bores.

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