Highlights of My 2022 Reading

Links are to the publisher or author’s site or, barring that, to bookshop.org. In previous years, I’ve managed to write full descriptions book. 2023 has been its own difficult year, with family illness and the death of our dog, so I’m just listing the things I want to share. In some cases I could write a sentence or two, in others I couldn’t. But if they’re on here, I thought they were worth sharing.

Faith and History

And How We Spend Our Lives


All very different, but fiction that stuck with me and doesn’t sort into a genre below.

SFF / Weird / Horror

  • Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri (2021). Alternate reality with magic and intrigue and even though I’ve bounced off quite a few SFF stories that could be described that way, this one was excellent. I look forward to reading more in the trilogy.
  • The Chosen and Beautiful by Nghi Vo (2021). I wasn’t 100% sold on the setting’s magical elements (I suppose I felt they weren’t really needed by much of the story), but the story itself was fantastic.
  • What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher (2022). Atmospheric novella based on Poe’s House of Usher. Expansive worldbuilding inspirations range from Prisoner of Zenda to reconceptions of gender. Unnerving horror. The hares. My god the hares.
  • The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (2022). Probably the easiest read in this section. Enjoyable without as much pressure.
  • Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig (2021). Mixed feelings on the alternate realities but evocative and chilling. It left me wanting to visit the boulder field next time I’m out that way (I am assuming Ramble Rocks is based on Ringing Rocks, as both are in Bucks County).
  • Universal Harvester by John Darnielle (2017). I listened to most of this while driving back from DC, late at night, on twisty backroads straight up the center of Pennsylvania. I think it would be a bit surreal at any time, but it was especially so under those conditions.

Knives were practically a subgenre this year. The first two were clearly in my wheelhouse and, even though I’ve purposefully never watched a slasher film, the second two were by authors I’d previously enjoyed.

  • The Old Woman with the Knife by Gu Byeong-mo, translated by Chi-Young Kim (2022). This one’s stayed with me–less the violent parts than the setting that formed in my mind.
  • My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (2018). It’s exactly what the title says. I’ll definitely read more by her.
  • My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones (2022). I continue to like his teen girl characters. Not nearly as painful as his The Only Good Indians.
  • The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix (2021). Works from the “if slasher films were based on real events – what would it like to be the girls who lived?” premise. Fortunately it doesn’t get lost in that and there’s a fairly good plot to follow.


Mysteries are my comfort place and 2022 was a hard year. Besides some enjoyable series like Thursday Murder Club and Hawthorne & Horowitz, I particularly recommend the following. Some may not be formally in the genre and none of them followed the classic detective/police pattern (a plus).

  • Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal (2017). Figuring out one’s own belonging as an insider-outsider. A mystery. And obviously quite a few erotic stories.
  • The Verifiers by Jane Pek (2022). I hadn’t been sure what kind of mystery it was going to be, but it was both an engaging mystery on its own and intersected with my interest in critiques of technology.
  • Family Trust (2018) and Imposter Syndrome (2021) by Kathy Wang. Two very different books, both with elements of mystery and commentaries on the American dream, particularly the immigrant American dream.
  • Devil House by John Darnielle (2022). Doesn’t quite fit under the Weird/Horror category above, but flirts with it at points.
  • Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (2021). Set against student uprisings in 1971 Mexico City, all Maite wants to do is return her neighbor’s cat. Second time in recent years where, midway through a book, I’ve realized that I’m reading toward a massacre. (The other being Sinclair’s King Coal, 1917.)