quick lit – next page, please {2022 best fiction}

“[Read fiction] to make the unknown known, to make the other familiar….to make magic with words.”

– Professor Jerome Playfair, BABEL

Below are the best works of fiction and five-star reads of 2022. I have been looking at it to see if there are any connective themes: what made me excited about reading each of them? What kind of books are they? If you see any let me know. 

MY OXFORD YEAR by Julia Whelan

I LOVED this book so much.  This was a reread and I fell even more in love with it this time than I did the first time around.  One of the reasons is because I didn’t fully experience the poems in this story until my second reading. I should mention, I have a thing for Oxford, England. I considered attending a school in Georgia named Oxford to get as close as I could to the place.

A PSALM FOR THE WILD-BUILT and A PRAYER FOR THE CROWN-SHY by Becky Chambers

A PRAYER FOR THE CROWN-SHY is the second novella in the Monk & Robot series. A PSALM FOR THE WILD-BUILT saved me in 2021.  When I read it the first time, I hugged it to my chest and cried literal tears.  It is such a lovely book; like a warm cup of tea on a cold night and I reread it on the first of the year. I do hope there’s a third in this series. 

SO MANY BEGINNINGS by Bethany Morrow

This meticulously researched YA novel is a reimagining of LITTLE WOMEN by Louise May Alcott featuring black sisters during the same time period. Bethany Morrow is quoted as saying that she is “telling a completely different story.” She has to because a black girl’s story in the late 1800’s would be a totally different than a white girl’s story. It was a beautiful story and one that I wished had been available when I read the original LITTLE WOMEN as a young girl. 

RING SHOUT by P. Djèlí Clark

I don’t typically read horror stories but my friend, Ginger, told me that this was one of the best books that she has ever read. Period! This story reimagines the members of the Ku Klux Klan as actual demons and makes very clear the horrors of that time. P. Djèlí Clark is an academic and his knowledge of history is evident in all of his work.  I will read anything he writes. 

SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Emily St. John Mandel

I read SEA OF TRANQUILITY in February of this year and yes, it maintained a top spot from the day I finished it until BABEL came along. I adored the interconnectivity and multiple storylines spanning 500 years and into the future (love a well-placed sci-fi element). It is a novel about art, love, and COVID; but don’t let that deter you from reading it. It took me a long time to get into it and I wasn’t fully invested until halfway in. The storylines all come together brilliantly into an ending that I adored. I picked this one up because Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy told me that I would like it.  She was right. 

BABEL: AN ARCANE HISTORY by R. F. Kuang

This book slayed me, wrecked me.  Stories about wanting desperately to be a part of something and searching for a place to belong deeply resonate with me.  With more than a passing interest in linguistics and etymology, and my thing for Oxford, this book was right up my alley. It’s thoroughly researched, almost historical fiction with a mild fantasy element which I love.  Be warned, the book raises a lot of questions but answers none of them. Don’t let that deter you.  The writing style is genius and I will definitely reread it at some point. 

BURY YOUR DEAD by Louise Penny

This is the book that relieved me of my BABEL book hangover. The sixth book in the Inspector Gamache Series, this book is an in-depth look at grief and loss. But is weirdly comforting.  It was the perfect book for me to read at the end of a very hard year. 

Per usual, I’m linking up with Anne Bogel’s Quick Lit post over on Modern Mrs. Darcy. If you are here because of her, thank you. 

9 thoughts on “quick lit – next page, please {2022 best fiction}

  1. Joy Anderson says:

    I just put a ton of books on hold before I read your post and now I added two more 😅. I’m wondering if I should also add Ring Shout or if it would be too scary for me 😳. And I just started watching Three Pines on Prime! I noticed it was based on a book but may stick with the show for now ☺️

    • shannanenjoyslife says:

      I won’t watch the show because I love the books so much. RING SHOUT didn’t give me nightmares and I typically don’t read horror. It was only my second one ever! Start it and see what happens. Thank you for being here.

  2. Deborah S Ball says:

    I’ve read my Oxford Year at least three times. It is the perfect winter escape! I was surprised however, The Violin Conspiracy wasn’t on your list. I’m in the middle of a book hangover from that one!

  3. Kathy says:

    Also here because of Anne Bogel. My TBR lists are so long, I hesitate to look at anyone’s “besat of” lists, but liked yours very much!

  4. Patricia Zanuck says:

    I am here because of Anne Bogel! I always enjoy reading best-of lists so see what stuck with readers. I haven’t read any of these, though some are familiar to me. They all sound so interesting. Thanks for sharing! (By the way, love your site. It’s so clean and simple.)

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