2022 in books

My reading fell off a little from 2021 as the world reopened. I read 77 books, 57 fiction and 20 non-fiction. 30 titles were translated from other languages; many of those were mystery/crime novels but I still get points in the “exploring other cultures” category, right?

The non-fiction “best of” portion is easy this year. These four books would make such a list in any year.

Travels with Herodotus by Ryszard Kapucinski (transl. from the Polish)
We Don’t Know Ourselves, A Personal History of Ireland by Fintan O’Toole
The Black Sea by Neal Ascherson
From the Holy Mountain, A Journey in the Shadow of Byzantium by William Dalrymple

Making choices among the novels is always a little harder. The best shine out but some of the very good must be left behind.

The Devils’ Dance by Hamid Ismailov (transl. from the Uzbek)
Reading in the Dark by Seamus Deane
Lady Joker, vol. 1 and 2 by TAKAMURA Kaoru (transl. from the Japanese)
Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah
Augustus by John Williams
Olav Audunsson, vol. 1: Vows by Sigrid Undset (transl. from the Norwegian)
Country by Michael Hughes
The Seventh Cross by Anna Seghers (transl. from the German)
Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea
Eight Dogs or Hakkenden, An Ill-considered Jest by BAKIN Kyokutei (transl. from the Japanese)

World Noir favorites

Total Chaos by Jean-Claude Izzo (transl. from the French)
The Princess of Burundi by Kjell Erikson (transl. from the Swedish)
Northern Heist by Richard O’Rawe
Silver Bullets by Elmer Mendoza (transl. from the Spanish)
Fatale by Jean-Patrick Manchette (transl. from the French)
The Body Snatcher by Patricia Melo (transl. from the Portuguese)

Best “off-beat, make you smile, life-affirming story” category

Long Live the Post Horn by Vigdis Hjorth (transl. from the Norwegian)

And finally, special recognition in the “best book I bought for its title” category

How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read by Pierre Bayard (transl. from the French)


Author: abookwomansholiday

The perfect holiday for a lifelong reader is one with a stack of books and few distractions. Retiring after three decades as a bookseller, I look forward to reading my way through the stacks and shelves and lists of books waiting for me. This blog will be something of a grab bag or commonplace book of reviews, quotations, notes on the history of books, the contemporary book trade, and anything connected with books and language. Reading is a great pleasure. Thinking and talking about books multiplies and intensifies that pleasure.

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