Favourite Books I Read in 2022

At the beginning of the year, I was full of hopes and dreams. One of them was to read more than 30 books. That didn’t happen! So far, I’ve read for pure enjoyment 22 books in full. Before the year comes to an end, I may still finish the enormous Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb, which I’ve been reading for almost two months now, and probably have time to pick up another play by Shakespeare. I’m ready to reveal my favourite books of the year, though, since I don’t see either of them climbing to the top spots.

My reading experience in 2022 was varied and mostly positive, despite some let-downs. Not only did I read books from various genres – literary fiction, fantasy, classics, allegories, historical fiction, Ancient Greek myth retellings –, but they were also of many formats, including novels, novellas, short story and poetry collections, graphic novels and plays. Although I picked almost only books that were new to me, I also reread Os Maias (The Maias) by Eça de Queirós, having finished the project “rereading my old favourites”.

From the books that I read for the first time in 2022, irrespective of publication date, my favourites, in reverse order, are:

 

Os Armários Vazios (Empty Wardrobes) by Maria Judite de Carvalho

The Portuguese author Maria Judite de Carvalho created an interesting narrator for Os Armários Vazios, Empty Wardrobes in the English translation, since she makes readers question whether the actions of the characters are always depicted in a completely accurate way. Dora Rosário mourned her husband for 10 years. One unexpected revelation makes her completely change her outlook on life, though. This is an engrossing story about how three women, sometimes unconsciously, let their lives be shaped by men.

 

One by One in the Darkness by Deirdre Madden

Through the engrossing story of a grieving family, Deirdre Madden explored in One by One in the Darkness the hardships experienced by Northern Irish society during the Troubles. As the book goes back and forth in time, we learn more about the lives and tribulations of a group of fascinating characters. In 1994, Cate decides to spend some time in her hometown in Northern Ireland, because she has important news for her family. She has two sisters. Helen is a solicitor specialised in terrorist cases, and Sally is a primary school teacher. Their father was murdered a couple of years before. Helen is the one struggling the most to deal with her grief. The emotions portrayed are raw but conveyed in an understated way.

 

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

The socio-economic conditions of London’s inhabitants impressively come to life with ease in Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. Stream of consciousness is employed to great effect as readers follow a group of characters around UK’s capital and what they witness is portrayed. Clarissa Dalloway, who is about to host a party, is just one of the various characters whose interactions and thoughts readers learn more about. Other crucial characters are her husband, her daughter, Peter Walsh and Septimus Warren Smith.

 

The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter

Revealing influences of Victorian novels and Ancient Greek myths, The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter is a coming-of-age novel that has as main character Melanie. Her sexual awakening plays a relevant part throughout the book. Following the death of her parents, she and her two siblings move to London to live with her mother’s brother, a toymaker named Philip. He is old-fashioned and cruel. Those around him live in fear. The meaningful metaphors and similes make the novel shine even brighter.

 

Strike Your Heart by Amélie Nothomb

A spellbinding and insightful novella, Strike Your Heart by Amélie Nothomb is a story about uncaring and jealous mothers that manages to be deeply affecting despite its relatively short number of pages. It is told mostly from the point of view of a perspicacious daughter, Diane. When she was born, her mother, Marie, became plagued by jealousy. Diane soon concluded that Marie didn’t feel great affection for her, a realisation that ended up being instrumental in her decisions and outlook on life. Not only is the characterisation of Diane outstanding, but the book also shines thanks to the writing style. It is full of enchanting moments!

 

Which are your favourite books from the ones you read in 2022? Tell me in the comments!

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5 thoughts on “Favourite Books I Read in 2022

  1. Jan Hicks says:

    I’ve read The Magic Toyshop, which I loved, and Mrs Dalloway, which I didn’t love. I like the sound of Os Armários Vazios and One by One in the Darkness.
    I think I will finish one more book before the end of the year. I’ve read 59 so far, more than I thought I would this year, helped along by choosing short fiction and nonfiction from my To Read pile. I’ve given 16 of the books I’ve read a 5 star rating, but my favourites have been Villager by Tom Cox, Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami, The Rings of Saturn by W G Sebald, Muscle and Mouth by Louise Finnigan, and Thirsty Sea by Erica Mou.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susana says:

      From your favourite books, I’ve only heard of Breasts and Eggs.
      Before Mrs Dalloway, I had only read Orlando and was not much of a fan. I’m glad I decided to give Virginia Woolf another chance!

      Like

      • Jan Hicks says:

        How interesting – Orlando was the first book I read by her and I enjoyed it. I’ve also read To The Lighthouse, which I didn’t enjoy, and The Waves, which I mostly really liked. She’s too hit and miss for me, I think.

        Liked by 1 person

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