2022 in Review

In 2022, much to my surprise, I finished and reviewed 51 books, a substantial increase over last year and once again the best year for reading since 2012. (I read 60 books that year, so it's a hard mark to equal.) Reading throughout the year was a bit uneven; I avoided the summer slump this year, but still slowed down in early spring and September. As always, the tail end of the year was prime reading time.

The best book of the year was the third and concluding book of Naomi Novik's Scholomance series, The Golden Enclaves. I thought she nailed the ending of an already excellent series, propelling it to the top ranks of my favorite fantasy series of all time. I'm a primarily character-driven reader, and El's first-person perspective was my favorite narrative voice in a very long time. The supporting characters are also wonderful (Liesel!). Highly recommended.

Fiction highlights of the year were plentiful. It started off strong with Natalie Zina Walschots's cynical and biting superhero novel Hench and continued in a much different vein with Guy Gavriel Kay's Children of Earth and Sky, which has a bit less plot focus than some of his other fantasies but makes up for it in memorable character relationships. Ryka Aoki's Light from Uncommon Stars is a moving story of what it means to truly support someone else and should have won the best novel Hugo. And, finally, Miles Cameron's Artifact Space was a delight; one of the best military SF novels I've read in a long time.

There was no true stand-out non-fiction book this year, but the first book I finished in 2022, Adam Tooze's Crashed, is now my favorite story of the 2008 financial collapse, in large part because he extends the story to the subsequent European financial crisis. Jo Walton's collection of book discussion columns, What Makes This Book So Great, also deserves a mention and is guaranteed to add to your reading backlog.

My large review project of the year was finally making substantial inroads into Terry Pratchett's long Discworld series. That accounted for eight of the books I read this year, and is likely to account for a similar number next year since I'm following the Tor.com Discworld re-read. I think my favorite of that bunch was Maskerade, but I also enjoyed all of the Watch novels in the group (Feet of Clay, Jingo, and The Fifth Elephant).

My other hope for the year was to mix in older books from my reading backlog and not just focus on new (to me) acquisitions. A little bit of that happened, but not as much as I had been hoping for. This continues to be a goal in 2023.

Below is some additional analysis plus personal reading statistics, probably only of interest to me.

In 2022, I read and reviewed 51 books, up substantially from 2021 to nearly one book per week. Page count increased even more, up over 25% from 2022; I not only read more books, I read longer books. Both of these numbers were the highest since 2012. Average rating was down yet again, somewhat to my surprise since I thought this year's batch of books was better than last year's.

Overall statistics, with the change from last year:

Books read 51 (+8)
Total pages 17,736 (+3737)
Average rating 6.66 (-0.18)
Pages per day 48.6 (+10.2)
Days per book 7.16 (-1.33)

Breakdown by genre:

SF and fantasy 40 78%
Other fiction 2 4%
Non-fiction 8 16%
Graphic novels 1 2%
RPGs 0 0%

A rising tide lifts all boats: totals in every category except the sadly neglected RPG sourcebooks are up. The only differences in the percentages reflect a couple of non-SFF novels; otherwise, this is the same distribution as last year. I do like reading non-fiction, but it requires more effort and a narrower range of moods, so SFF is the default.

Of the SF and fantasy novels, here's a rough breakdown of the books by reason for seeking them out. (As always, each book is only counted once, and reasons higher on the list override reasons lower on the list if both reasons apply.)

Award winners 4 10%
Award series 2 5%
Award nominees 2 5%
Re-reads 2 5%
Genre classics 0 0%
Favorite authors 18 45%
Current SF&F 5 13%
Recommendations 3 8%
Random 4 10%

(Percentages add to more than 100% due to rounding.) There's a new category this year, award nominees, to capture the Hugo and Nebula nominees separate from the general "current SF&F" category. My Discworld read-through significantly increased the "favorite authors" category this year. That category also includes some books released in 2022 that I expect to be nominated for awards, and thus could be retroactively reclassified (not that I will do this).

I'm not currently tracking awards for novellas. If I were, a few books in the "current SF&F" and "award series" categories would have moved into "award winners" or "award nominees."

As with last year, I did not make a concerted effort to read past award winners. I'm staying roughly current with the Hugo, Nebula, and (mostly) Locus awards, but not exploring the past slates.

Last modified and spun 2023-01-01