My 2022 in Books

As part of a broader overhaul of my end of year series, I’m ditching my usual “lists of note” about books and shows and movies and everything else in favor of a single post with both my favorite books and the long list of everything I read (including both academic and non-academic reading lists).

I had planned to release this post on the final day of the year, but I have a good sense of how much I will read tomorrow and the post I had in mind for today is not yet ready.

I see a few trends from this list. My reading volume took only a small step back from 2021, despite the busyness of my year. I increased the amount of ancient history I read, and I generally kept my reading diet stable at thirty percent nonfiction, more than forty percent written by women (among other metrics that I track). As the list below indicates, I was particularly blown away by a lot of the general nonfiction I read below. However, as compared with the past few years, each of which included two or three of my all-time favorite books, almost all of my favorite fiction of this year were fantasy or science fiction. This reflects not only the type of books I had the capacity to engage with most of the year, but also the quality of recent speculative fiction, and I actively disliked the few literary novels I read that have been appearing on “best of 2022” lists.

What follows is three “best” lists for things I read this year: Ancient History, general nonfiction, and fiction of all sorts. Then comes a roughly-sorted list of the remaining nonfiction, followed by the remaining fiction, lightly sorted so that books by the same authors appear together. Links go to any book that I wrote about this year, though time constraints meant that I wrote about fewer books than usual this year.

Top ancient history

  • Greek Slave Systems in their Eastern Mediterranean Context, David M. Lewis
  • The Breadmakers, Jared T. Benton
  • The Rise of Rome, Kathryn Lomas
  • King of the World, Matt Waters

Top other nonfiction

Top fiction

  • Empire of Gold, Shannon Chakraborty
  • Speaking Bones, Ken Liu
  • Babel, R.F. Kuang
  • Jade War, Fonda Lee
  • Cloud Cuckoo Land, Anthony Doerr

Nonfiction (everything else)

  • The Landscape of History, John Lewis Gaddis
  • Rome and Provincial Resistance, Gil Gambash
  • Three Stones Make a Wall, Eric Cline
  • The Athenian Empire, Lisa Kallet and John Kroll
  • Other Natures, Clara Bosak-Schroeder
  • For the Freedom of Zion, Guy Maclean Rogers
  • Masada, Jodi Magness
  • The Greco-Persian Wars, Erik Jensen
  • The Roman Retail Revolution, Stephen Ellis
  • Remembering the Roman Republic, Andrew Gallia
  • Invisible Romans, Robert Knapp
  • Sasanian Persia, Touraj Daryaee
  • The Ancient Near East, Amanda H. Podany
  • Empire and Political Cultures in the Roman World, Emma Dench
  • The Bronze Lie, Myke Cole
  • The Bright Ages, Matt Gabriele and David Perry
  • The Medieval Crossbow, Stuart Ellis-Gorman
  • Sourdough Culture, Eric Pallant
  • Koshersoul, Michael Twitty
  • A History of the World in Six Glasses, Tom Standage
  • The Paradox of Plenty, Harvey Levenstein
  • Bad Jews, Emily Tamkin
  • Branding the Nation, Melissa Aronczyk
  • The End of Burnout, Jonathan Malesic
  • Four Thousand Weeks, Oliver Burkeman
  • All About Me, Mel Brooks
  • Story Mode, Trevor Strunk
  • Specifications Grading, Linda B. Nilson
  • Born to Run, Christopher McDougall
  • What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Haruki Murakami
  • Origins of the Wheel of Time, Michael Livingston
  • Billion Dollar Loser, Reeves Wiedeman

Fiction (everything else)

  • Abaddon’s Gate, James S.A. Corey
  • Cibola Burn, James S.A. Corey
  • Nemesis Games, James S.A. Corey
  • Babylon’s Ashes, James S.A. Corey
  • Tiamat’s Wrath, James S.A. Corey
  • Leviathan Falls, James S.A. Corey
  • Persepolis Rising, James S.A. Corey
  • A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar
  • The Jasmine Throne, Tasha Suri
  • The Silence of the Sea, Yrsa Sigurdardóttir
  • A Hero Born, Jin Yong
  • The Chosen and the Beautiful, Nghi Vo
  • Kalpa Imperial, Angélica Gorodischer
  • Slow Horses, Mick Herron
  • Dead Lions, Mick Herron
  • Real Tigers, Mick Herron
  • The Books of Jacob, Olga Tokarczuk
  • Transparent City, Ondjaki
  • The Life of the Mind, Christine Smallwood
  • The Dinner, Herman Koch
  • Saga v. 1-3, Brian K. Vaughn
  • The Immortal King Rao, Vauhini Vara
  • The Final Strife, Saara el-Arifi
  • The Candy House, Jennifer Egan
  • Go Tell It On the Mountain, James Baldwin
  • The Memory Police, Yoko Ogawa
  • Gods of Jade and Shadow, Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Black Sun, Rebecca Roanhorse
  • Gideon the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir
  • The Pharmacist, Rachelle Atalla
  • A Psalm for the Wild Built, Becky Chambers
  • How High We Go In the Dark, Sequoia Nagamatsu
  • The Cartographers, Peng Shepherd
  • The Lost Metal, Brandon Sanderson

2 thoughts on “My 2022 in Books

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