2022 book reading in review

Russ Allbery eagle at eyrie.org
Sun Jan 1 09:29:29 PST 2023

In 2022, much to my surprise, I finished and reviewed 51 books, a
substantial increase over last year and once again the best year for
reading since 2012. (I read 60 books that year, so it's a hard mark to
equal.) Reading throughout the year was a bit uneven; I avoided the
summer slump this year, but still slowed down in early spring and
September. As always, the tail end of the year was prime reading time.

The best book of the year was the third and concluding book of Naomi
Novik's Scholomance series, [1]The Golden Enclaves. I thought she
nailed the ending of an already excellent series, propelling it to the
top ranks of my favorite fantasy series of all time. I'm a primarily
character-driven reader, and El's first-person perspective was my
favorite narrative voice in a very long time. The supporting characters
are also wonderful (Liesel!). Highly recommended.

Fiction highlights of the year were plentiful. It started off strong
with Natalie Zina Walschots's cynical and biting superhero novel
[2]Hench and continued in a much different vein with Guy Gavriel Kay's
[3]Children of Earth and Sky, which has a bit less plot focus than
some of his other fantasies but makes up for it in memorable character
relationships. Ryka Aoki's [4]Light from Uncommon Stars is a moving
story of what it means to truly support someone else and should have
won the best novel Hugo. And, finally, Miles Cameron's [5]Artifact
Space was a delight; one of the best military SF novels I've read in a
long time.

There was no true stand-out non-fiction book this year, but the first
book I finished in 2022, Adam Tooze's [6]Crashed, is now my favorite
story of the 2008 financial collapse, in large part because he extends
the story to the subsequent European financial crisis. Jo Walton's
collection of book discussion columns, [7]What Makes This Book So
Great, also deserves a mention and is guaranteed to add to your reading

My large review project of the year was finally making substantial
inroads into Terry Pratchett's long Discworld series. That accounted
for eight of the books I read this year, and is likely to account for a
similar number next year since I'm following the [8]Tor.com Discworld
re-read. I think my favorite of that bunch was [9]Maskerade, but I
also enjoyed all of the Watch novels in the group ([10]Feet of Clay,
[11]Jingo, and [12]The Fifth Elephant).

My other hope for the year was to mix in older books from my reading
backlog and not just focus on new (to me) acquisitions. A little bit of
that happened, but not as much as I had been hoping for. This continues
to be a goal in 2023.

Below is some additional analysis plus personal reading statistics,
probably only of interest to me.

In 2022, I read and reviewed 51 books, up substantially from 2021 to
nearly one book per week. Page count increased even more, up over 25%
from 2022; I not only read more books, I read longer books. Both of
these numbers were the highest since 2012. Average rating was down yet
again, somewhat to my surprise since I thought this year's batch of
books was better than last year's.

Overall statistics, with the change from last year:

Books read     51     (+8)
Total pages    17,736 (+3737)
Average rating 6.66   (-0.18)
Pages per day  48.6   (+10.2)
Days per book  7.16   (-1.33)

Breakdown by genre:

SF and fantasy 40 78%
Other fiction   2  4%
Non-fiction     8 16%
Graphic novels  1  2%
RPGs            0  0%

A rising tide lifts all boats: totals in every category except the
sadly neglected RPG sourcebooks are up. The only differences in the
percentages reflect a couple of non-SFF novels; otherwise, this is the
same distribution as last year. I do like reading non-fiction, but it
requires more effort and a narrower range of moods, so SFF is the

Of the SF and fantasy novels, here's a rough breakdown of the books by
reason for seeking them out. (As always, each book is only counted
once, and reasons higher on the list override reasons lower on the list
if both reasons apply.)

Award winners     4 10%
Award series      2  5%
Award nominees    2  5%
Re-reads          2  5%
Genre classics    0  0%
Favorite authors 18 45%
Current SF&F      5 13%
Recommendations   3  8%
Random            4 10%

(Percentages add to more than 100% due to rounding.) There's a new
category this year, award nominees, to capture the Hugo and Nebula
nominees separate from the general "current SF&F" category. My
Discworld read-through significantly increased the "favorite authors"
category this year. That category also includes some books released in
2022 that I expect to be nominated for awards, and thus could be
retroactively reclassified (not that I will do this).

I'm not currently tracking awards for novellas. If I were, a few books
in the "current SF&F" and "award series" categories would have moved
into "award winners" or "award nominees."

As with last year, I did not make a concerted effort to read past award
winners. I'm staying roughly current with the Hugo, Nebula, and
(mostly) Locus awards, but not exploring the past slates.

URL: https://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/reviews/year/2022.html


   1. https://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/reviews/books/0-593-15836-9.html
   2. https://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/reviews/books/0-06-297859-4.html
   3. https://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/reviews/books/0-698-18327-4.html
   4. https://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/reviews/books/1-250-78907-9.html
   5. https://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/reviews/books/1-4732-3262-7.html
   6. https://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/reviews/books/0-525-55880-2.html
   7. https://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/reviews/books/0-7653-3193-4.html
   8. https://www.tor.com/tag/discworld/
   9. https://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/reviews/books/0-06-227552-6.html
  10. https://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/reviews/books/0-06-227551-8.html
  11. https://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/reviews/books/0-06-228020-1.html
  12. https://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/reviews/books/0-06-228013-9.html

Russ Allbery (eagle at eyrie.org)             <https://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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