2022 Year in Review: Favorite Books

My reading wrap up for 2022!

Who doesn’t install a library onto their pirate ship?

Similar to last year’s post, I’m listing my favorites as inspired by The Stacks podcast hosted by Traci Thomas. I read from February 1 – Jan 31 so this post is late, but not as delayed as you might think (I say as I justify finalizing a 2022 post a month after I intended).

The return of Chuck Klosterman in 2022! Be still my millennial heart.

But in Classic-Spilis style, I also added a few of my own lit awards because allthethings.

This year’s literary hero — Lexi from Euphoria.

Let’s get into it —

My Reading Statistics:

2022 at a Glance:

The Stacks 2022 Questionnaire:

Two Books You Love:

I can’t say enough great things about this book. I read Hersey’s work on a long-delayed train ride from Wrocław to Kraków, furiously taking notes in my phone as the snow drifts outside became deeper and deeper.
“We are not machines. I keep hearing about the ways we exhaust ourselves to be seen as valuable and I am wondering when we will shift to see our inherent worth.” Intersecting grind culture, capitalism, and the influence of white supremacy (historically and at the present) I am just so grateful for this book.
The matriarch of Gullah Geechee traditions across the Sea Islands, this year Mrs. Meggett published a cookbook of recipes and heritage spanning centuries. As many white chefs in Charleston earn money and fame from traditional Black and Gullah Geechee recipes, I was happy to see her finally receive the credit she — and her community — deserve. This book is pure joy, history, and food.

One Book You Hate:

Here’s the thing: I am coming around to romance fiction but this one was a lot of yikes for me.

Last Great Book Someone Recommended to Me:

Recommended by my lovely friend, I took a lot away from Melissa Urban’s book. I’m still learning how to set and share the boundaries I have for a better mental and emotional health… its nice to read that I’m moving in the right direction.

Book I Love to Recommend:

This book is sooooo good and I love recommending to library patrons! Intertwining memoirs of Black pop stars and the iconic author herself, this nonfiction book reads like fiction. I loved it. Also how gorg is this cover?!

Book That Made Me Laugh

I just love Bob Odenkirk.

Book That Made Me Cry:

This collection of stories interwoven into a novel about how climate change and a virus changes humanity now and in the future was a good read; I liked some chapters more than others but Pig Son is so brutally beautiful and tragic that it left me sobbing.

Book That Made Me Angry:

A book on the medical apartheid and environmental racism that overly affects communities of color, especially Black Americans. The figures and stories in Villarosa’s work (along with the author’s own journey) are a reminder of just how angry I am at the American healthcare system.

Book That I Felt I Learned A Lot:

I learned so much about the history and identity of Black members of the Creek Nation. A powerful book on identity, marginalization, and government interference into Native American governance, and memory.

Book I’m Embarrassed I Still Haven’t Read:

I am OBSESSED with the great Olga Tokarzcuk and was so excited to read her 2022 book. Clocking in at over 500 pages, The Books of Jacob just kept falling to the back end of my TBR last year.

Book I’m Proud to Have Read:

This incredibly researched book tackles the commonly whitewashed history of Indigenous people in North America. Starting before Columbus reaches the shore of the continent, the book covers Native American resistance despite unimaginable violence and genocide during European colonization, colonial rule, and under the American government.

A Book People Would Be Surprised to Know I Love:

Okay I’m mostly drawn to nonfiction and rip-your-heart-out-fiction, but this quick read about a woman finding her self-worth through her passions and being herself was such a fun book. I’m really a pushover for a story about cooking and getting back at your awful ex.

Book I would Assign in High School:

The discovery of the Clotilda is more than just the uncovering of the last ship to bring enslaved people to the United States; it also tells the story of Africatown, its inhabitants, and the continued legacies of chattel slavery and environmental racism.

A Book I would Love to See Turned into a Movie or TV Show:

This quirky fantasy adaptation of my favorite folktale hero / villain Baba Yaga is just so bizarre, lovely, and heartbreaking. I have no idea how this could be designed for a screen but I’d love to see it.

Book That I Would Require the Current President to Read:

For allthe reasons.

Additional Book Awards:

Best Non-2022 Book I Read:

A powerful book about one American family attempting to survive together.

Book That Makes Me Want to Travel:

I loved this gorgeous book by Syrian and Palestinian chef Reem Assil.

Favorite Young Readers Book:

A very sweet graphic novel about being yourself and embracing who you are ❤

Favorite Young Adult Book:

This colorful adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is all about mistaken identities, self-discovery, and making it through high school as the new kid.

Best Cover:

Just a dream cover (and a great book).

Most Creative:

Unpacking all of the beautiful intricacies of St. John Mandel’s work is not a task I could ever complete so instead I’m just going to say how lucky we are to live in a time to read her books. Sea of Tranquility is stunning.

Favorite Debut:

I’m still thinking about this debut by 21 year old Leila Mottley (born in 2002 I can’tttttt) loosely based on a true story.

Book That Will Change Your Life:

I mentioned the Carrie Mae Weems exhibit in this post and the incredible accompanied book for that collection, A Great Turn in the Possible, is the most comprehensive volume of her work ever published. This combination had a huge impact on me.

Favorite Memoir(s):

Phew I read McCurdy’s book in a day and just… so many things to say here. What a survivor and great writer.
This brutal graphic novel by Kate Beaton about her time (surviving) as a worker in the oil sands is one of my favorites of the year.

Book That Confirms How Much Work is Left to Do:

Loved this collection.

Best Book for Elder Millennials:

The return of one of my favorite authors I read as a teen — Chuck Klosterman! Truly the 90s were an absolute wild time and his account of culture and politics was a fun and informative read.

Most Likely to Become a Classic:

With beautiful writing, this personal account on the history and culture of the American South through the lens of a roadtrip home is one of the best of the year.

Title That Feels Like a Conspiracy but Confirms Its Not Me, Its the System I’m Forced to Live Under:

It is truly mind-blowing how little we know about half of the human bodies that inhabit this planet. The knowledge gap on vaginas, reproductive systems, and menstrual cycles is just so accepted as “normal” that it can make you feel like you’re the problem, when really its that society doesn’t give a shit about meaningful scientific research or care beyond “not a penis” or “are you trying to have a baby or not”.

Most Ashlyn-y:

I love anything Zuza Zak publishes but especially an entire book on my favorite Polish dumplings.

My Favorite Books of 2022:

5. Budmo! Recipes from a Ukrainian Kitchen (Anna Voloshyna)
4. Pierogi: Over 50 Recipes to Create Perfect Polish Dumplings (Zuza Zak)
3. New European Baking: 99 Recipes for Breads, Brioches, and Pastries (Laurel Kratochvila)
2. Arabiyya: Recipes from the Life of an Arab in Diaspora (Reem Assil)
1. Gullah Geechee Home Cooking: Recipes from the Matriarch of Edisto Island (Emily Meggett)

5. Savvy Sheldon Feels Good As Hell (Taj McCoy)
4. Night of the Living Rez (Morgan Talty)
3. Swimmers (Julie Otsuka)
2. Thistlefoot (GennaRose Nethercott)
1. Sea of Tranquility (Emily St. John Mandel)

5.The Grimkes: The Legacy of Slavery in an American Family (Kerri K. Greenridge)
4. Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands (Kate Beaton)
3. Shine Bright: A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop (Danyel Smith)
2. Carrie Mae Weems: A Great Turn in the Possible (Fundación MAPFRE)
1. Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto (Tricia Hersey)

Cheers to all the books we’ll read in 2023!


Reading: Bad Cree (Jessica Johns)
Watching: The OC (YOU KNOW IT) (HBO)
Listening: Entering Heaven Alive (Jack White)

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