2022 was a good year of reading. I found books that I absolutely fell in love with, while others didn’t strike anything in me although I am glad that I read them. In total, I read fifty books this year. I could’ve read more but I didn’t want to push myself to any extremes. I found new favourites that I can’t believe I never read before whilst others like the Frey & McGray series came to a close. Here they all are…
Only Dull People are Brilliant at Breakfast, Oscar Wilde: a slight overlap from 2021, I finished this a few days into this year but did give it a little shout-out on last years list.
Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: The Story of Schitts’s Creek, Daniel Levy & Eugene Levy: One of my favourite gifts from last Christmas, this book was the perfect read for Schitt’s Creek enthusiast like myself. Filled with so much behind-the-scenes information and photography, it was great read and really fun to flip through alongside rewatching the show. Review here.
Why I Write, George Orwell: a short but good little read. This was the perfect size book to have on me out and about, ready to read more of whenever I had the chance.
Fire can burn your house down, or it can cook you dinner each night and keep you warm in the winter. Your mind is the same way101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think, Brianna Wiest
A Dance With Dragons, Part 1: Dreams and Dust, George R. R. Martin: my other overlap from 2021 but finally managed to finish this one -which always feels like a victory to complete one of those chunky books.
The Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Matt Zoller Seitz: This was a reread for me. After my Schitt’s Creek rewatch and read, I wanted to do the same with The Grand Budapest Hotel which is one of my favourite films. I always love when the books don’t just stick to photos and information from the stars of the show but all the crew that work behind the scenes. You get to learn such cool facts! You can read more about this read here.
A Dance With Dragon, Part 2: After the Feast, George R. R. Martin: And I got the final part down. It’s just a waiting game until the final instalments are published… if that ever happens.
… nothing is worth doing except what the world says is impossibleOnly Dull People Are Brilliant at Breakfast, Oscar Wilde
If In Doubt, Wash Your Hair, Anya Hindmarch: This wasn’t really the read I had been hoping for. Yes it was interesting and I really enjoyed the personal anecdotes but it didn’t feel like anything new or radical even. It left me feeling a bit meh.
The Midnight Library, Matt Haig: A highly anticipated read for me as everyone and their mum has been raving about this book. For me, it fell a bit short. Yes, I completed it but it didn’t have any profound effect on me like the masses were claiming.
Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures & Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs, Paul Koudounaris: More of a macabre one but a read a really enjoyed. The photography in particular was beautiful -odd I know, but you can read more about this one here.
What is life but a series of inspired follies?Pygmalion, George Bernard Shaw
101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think, Brianna Wiest: This was a heavy book. I will say that some of it was pretty on the nose but there were other essays that really made me think and look at life from a different perspective. I really enjoyed this book and there is a post to come on this but I will say, this isn’t a quick read. Yes, the essays are short and concise but the subject matters aren’t things you can read through or skirt over. A lot of it you have to let sit with you for a day or two before moving on.
The Canterville Ghost, Oscar Wilde: A nifty little read about a ghost trying to scare a family of Americans from his manor. It’s a short and easy read, with a lovely twist on things and has a great atmosphere and setting to it. I’d recommend it as a classic, little quick read to keep with you whilst you’re on the go.
Accidentally Wes Anderson, Wally Koval: A stunning coffee-table type of book, the Wes Anderson-esque photography in this book is beyond beautiful. I’d definitely recommend this to any fan of his work, or even just photography in general. You can read more about it in this post.
Truth be told, whether free or incarcerated, women were not safe anywhere. Since the dawn of time, they had been the victims of decisions that were taken without their consentThe Mad Women’s Ball, Victoria Mas
The Virgin Suicides, Jeffrey Eugenides: This is a bit of a mysterious and evocative read -for me at least. This definitely isn’t going to suit everyones reading styles. Based on the mysterious Lisbon sisters, it’s narrated from the perspective of the boys in the neighbourhood who are mesmerised by them. After one of the sisters takes her life, the book explores the themes of death and how it affects the wider community -in particular, the girls themselves and the youths in the area. It’s a very unusual tale and grim in a lot of ways but oh so good! It had an odd ending but I was so into it!
Pygmalion, George Bernard Shaw: Such a classic play! I’m not going to lie, I wanted to read this after taking a nostalgic trip down memory lane on Disney+ and binging all things Lindsay Lohan; of course this included Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen and so when I saw this in a bookstore in Glossop, I simply had to get it. I love it so much.
Love That Journey For Me: The Queer Revolution of Schitt’s Creek, Emily Garside: Ugh. This book was amazing. I found it tucked away in a store in the Peak District and instantly knew I had to have it. It’s a wonderful analysis of the show, discussing some of the themes and topics that the show handles so effortlessly. If you want to read more about this book –and please do– you can do so here.
Not love at first sight, because those fancies were best left for books and songs, but she had extended her hand and invited him to follow her into a dance, and he had found after a few steps that though he had never danced it before, he did not want to stopThe Beautiful Ones, Silvia Moreno-Garcia
The Mad Women’s Ball, Victoria Mas: This book was one of the highlights of my reading year. Smaller in comparison to some of the other books that I read throughout 2022, it completely sucked me in. I must admit, this book was a tricky one for me and at times it was hard to read but I go into that a little bit more here.
The Inner Room, Robert Aickman: A bit of an eerie tale to read, this little book was interesting although I don’t know if I would reread it. It revolves around a dollhouse which has a secret inner room to it that no one can view or get to. The inhabitants of the house also seem to move of their own volition. Definitely more of a spooky read but still enjoyable.
The Beautiful Ones, Silvia Moreno-Garcia: Ugh, this book was magical. The first book that I had read by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and oh boy, it was outstanding. I read this whilst away in Wales with friends and spent every moment I possibly could reading it. I stayed up late to read it and stole extra hours in the morning to get through it -I even downloaded the audible to listen to whilst I helped with washing. I couldn’t get enough of it. It’s probably in my top five books of the year. If you want to know more about it, click here (I promise I don’t just ramble on about my love for it).
Neither was fond of of long speeches about ardent love or undying devotion. They preferred a quiet, understanding silence.The Sign of the Devil, Oscar de Muriel
The Black Book, Lawrence Durrell: eh.
The Dance of the Serpents, Oscar de Muriel: A reread for me -in anticipation and preparation for the seventh and final instalment to the Frey and McGray series. You can read what I thought of this in a previous post here.
Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: An Introvert’s Story, Debbie Tung: So so relatable. Part comics-part graphic novel, this book follows our introvert protagonist through situations at school, work and family life whilst also being an introvert and all that comes with that. You can see more here.
So I’ll be wed in the Church of the Holy Incestuous MushroomMexican Gothic, Silvia Moreno-Garcia
The Sign of the Devil, Oscar de Muriel: The highly anticipated final instalment to the Frey and McGray series and what a phenomenal end it was! Ugh, this was amazing; read this post if you want to know more -I couldn’t possibly do it justice here.
Mexican Gothic, Silvia Moreno-Garcia: Another great read from Silvia Moreno-Garcia -I didn’t enjoy this as much as The Beautiful Ones but I was still very much captivated by this book. I loved the setting and the characters sooo much. You can read my thoughts here, but this author is incredible at her creating an atmosphere and character development!
Gustav Klimt: Women, Angelica Baumer: An informative read and look at Klimt’s muses and subject matters of women. I read this in anticipation for seeing the Gustav Klimt Immersive Experience on his work; which you can see here.
Nothing’s ever fully one or t’other. Sometimes change, although painful in the short term, is very much neededHer Majesty’s Royal Coven: A Novel (The HMRC Trilogy, 1), Juno Dawson
Beau Geste, P.C. Wren: A recommendation from my granddad, this was a classic read and so interesting. The tale of the Blue Water Diamond and what happened to it was such a great read, and made way for many discussions with my granddad.
Travels in the Land of Serpents and Pearls, Marco Polo: Another nifty little read, I love this little Penguin books because they are usually classics and the perfect size to keep one on me without making my bag too heavy. This gave me all sorts of Uncharted vibes as I read about the distant lands he explored.
Her Majesty’s Royal Coven: A Novel (The HMRC Trilogy, 1), Juno Dawson: Another of my favourite reads from this year, this book was incredible. It was refreshing to read a book about witches that was modern but not potion-y; the pop culture references were so on point! It also dealt with racism, homophobia and queer issues so wonderfully. You can read more about it here.
I’ve never seen anyone approach tea with that much attentivenessA Discovery of Witches, Deborah Harkness
A Discovery of Witches, (All Souls Trilogy) Deborah Harkness: the perfect autumnal read! I loved this book so much. It’s been on my shelf since last year and I’m quite frankly annoyed that I let this amazing story sit waiting for so long. There’s a review on it here, but it the only way I can describe it is an a more mature, thought-out version of twilight. Dealing with fantasy and the supernatural, alongside forbidden love and colliding worlds, this made for a great read.
Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy), Deborah Harkness: I had to pick this second instalment up to the All Souls Trilogy as soon as I had finished the first book. I had to know what happened next. I must say, I didn’t love this book as much as the first and you can read my review here; but I absolutely loved the introduction of the character Gallowglass.
The Gifts of Reading, Robert Macfarlane: A touching little book about the influence of books and reading. I personally loved the personal anecdotes that Macfarlane included in this. It’s rare you find a book where it feels like the author is so aligned with your personal thoughts and opinions; this was one of those for me.
Sex and dominance. It’s what modern humans think vampire relationships are all about… Their stories are full of crazed alpha-male vampires throwing women over their shoulders before dragging them off for dinner and a dateShadow of Night, Deborah Harkness
The World of Weird: A Creepy Compendium of True Stories, Tom Adams: This was a bit of a darker children’s book revolving around the more mysterious and gruesome things, especially in inventions and bizarre objects. I do have a post coming in the new year about this one, so stay tuned. I really enjoyed this. It was exactly the type of book that I would’ve loved when I was growing up; and would’ve kept my copies of A Series of Unfortunate Events company on my shelf.
Certain Dark Things, Silvia Moreno-Garcia: Not my favourite of her work at all, this was the third book by Silvia Moreno-Garcia that I read this year and while I’m happy that I read it, I can’t say that I enjoyed it. I think the vampire angle had potential but I just didn’t find it as enjoyable as the other two I read.
Book Love, Debbie Tung: Another book by Tung that I absolutely loved and another one that will have a post coming in the new year about, so stay tuned! But again, so so soooo relatable.
There are five books that I give away again and again, and they are among the books that have struck me most forcefully. I try to make sure that I always have several stockpiled, ready to hand out. When I find a copy of one of them in a bookshop, I buy it to add to the gift pile, knowing that right recipient will come along sooner or later.The Gifts of Reading, Robert Macfarlane
Memento Mori: The Dead Among Us, Paul Koudounaris: A lot like the other book that I read by Koudounaris, this was an odd but interesting read. Some of it was a bit much, even for me -but I did love it. I do have a post scheduled for late January about this book.
The Skeleton Key, Erin Kelly: Another amazing book from this year -perhaps another one of my favourites from this year. This twisted family tale was sooooo insanely good. It had everything from toxic family dynamics to sordid secrets and even a treasure hunt with fanatical fans! It had numerous twists and turns to it in such a delightful way. I do have a review on it here.
The Lamplighters, Emma Stonex: Inspired by true events, three lighthouse keepers vanish without a trace or logical answer only to be left an unsolved mystery for years. As those they left behind are interviewed by a writer hoping to solve the mystery, more secrets unravel showing a different picture to what anyone knew. I do have a review coming soon on this read, so stay tuned for that.
Poems in general might be said to be full of the stuff go haunting and witchcraft. Poetic language itself, indeed the very nature of metaphor, has its own spells and magic and metamorphosesPoems Bewitched and Haunted, Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets
Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern: This book -urgh. I feel like longtime readers will and should know how i feel about this book. Its. so. dreamy. Perhaps one of -if not my favourite book, this beautiful tale is magical. I did do a book review on this way back in 2016 which I may have to redo
Django, Hand on Fire: The Great Django Reinhardt, Salvia Rubio & EFA.: This was an amazing comic/graphic book depicting Django Reinhardt’s childhood and early music career, as well as his love life was a great read. I had been eyeing up for some time at my local bookstore but what I loved most about it was the biographical section at the back, which was really great in explaining what parts of Reinhardt’s actual life they stuck to and which bits they embellished. I think there will be a separate review on this book coming soon.
The House of Sorrowing Stars, Beth Cartwright: This was yet another of my favourites from this year. This book was beyond magical to me and I was so taken by it. I do have a rather large review coming soon of this one -urgh, just so much goodness I need to share from it. It’s revolves around the House of Sorrowing Stars, a place where people are invited to tend to their grief and heal. Liddy is invited to make marchpane for the occupants and visitors of the house but with a stoic mistress, a reclused key-maker and a vast library containing thousands of books filled with sad stories, Liddy can’t help but start asking questions and unearthing the houses secrets. This was such a heartwarming read
Out here our days and nights are organised by cups of tea – especially this time of year, December, heart of winter, when it gets light is late and dark so early and always so numbingly coldThe Lamplighters, Emma Stonex
Watering the Soul, Courtney Peppernell: Probably one of my favourite books from Peppernell and separate from the Pillow Thoughts series, this is a collection of poetry surrounding self-care, healing, growth and reflection. It’s split into sections like Peppernell’s other works and is accompanied by a whimsical woodland friend throughout -which I always love, Peppernell seems to create such cute little characters. I actually touched on this book in my post here, on Peppernell’s other works separate from the Pillow Thoughts Series.
A Terrible Beauty is Born (Penguin Little Black Classics), W. B. Yeats: A little book of poetry by Yeats, this book was nothing spectacular but I’m happy that I read it.
Let our comic be a tribute to his resilience and dedication, and also a tribute to all those who have overcome any constraint life imposed on them with courage, hard work and perseverance.Django, Hand on Fire: The Great Django Reinhardt, Salvia Rubio & EFA
Love & Misadventure, Lang Leav: I struggled with this addition to my Leav collection. It didn’t seem to have any real theme or journey of development throughout its pieces, and just felt disjointed in many ways.
Flower Crowns & Fearsome Things, Amanda Lovelace: I really enjoyed this book although some of its poems hit me in the gut more than others; in particular, the covid ones. I actually did a post on this book here. This book definitely had two tones to it. The flowery, soft feminine elements contrasted with the fiery, fierce and forceful tones.
Pillow Thoughts IV: Stitching the Soul, Courtney Peppernell: I touched on this book in this post, along with others in the Pillow Thoughts series. I did enjoy this but it felt a bit repetitive in parts and gave me the impression that Peppernell was perhaps churning them out too fast for proper thought and development.
She knew this wasn’t the beginning, nor was it the end, because all stories connect and overlap. In their many layers they offer comfort and refuge and hope.The House of Sorrowing Stars, Beth Cartwright
The Gift of Everything, Lang Leav: A compilation of her previous works with around 30-35 new pieces perhaps. This is a really lovely hardback edition but as someone who is familiar with a large body of her work, it felt repetitive.
unlock your storybook heart, Amanda Lovelace: The third and final instalment to the you are your own fairytale trilogy, this was an amazing read. I did include it in this post on the trio, but this was my favourite in the trio and maybe of all her works. It felt so well-developed and thorough. It had strong fairytale themes, predominantly Beauty and the Beast; but ugh, I loved this one.
Nonsense, (Penguin Little Black Classics) Edward Lear: A nice little addition to my poetry shelf and y collection of little black classics. This is a whimsical collection of nonsense poetry; great for adults and to read to children alike.
The point of hard work is to recognise the person it makes you, not what it “gets” you (the former you can control; the latter you can’t)101 Essays that will change the way you think, Brianna Wiest
Paris Spleen, Charles Baudelaire: This volume of prose pieces; mainly expresses feelings of uncertainty, flux, and freedom of his age. It was a nice read but didn’t spark anything major in me.
Poems Bewitched and Haunted, (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets): A great selection of Halloween poetry from all generations of Poets. I particularly love reading poems and then trying to see if I can guess from any themes or patterns. I’m becoming quite skilled at identifying Christina Rossetti’s work now.
Solitude: Poems (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets Series), Carmela Ciuraru: Another addition to my Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets, this wasn’t as interesting at my others but I did enjoy elements of it.
I’m looking forward to what books come my way in 2023 -mainly because I’m doing my own Book-Buying-Ban and To Be Read challenge, which you can read about here and here. I have already started this challenge although receiving more books for Christmas has put my number of to-be-read up slightly. Stay tuned to see how that goes! …and, do let me know if you’ve read any of the above. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Cheerio for now!