I probably should have done this post at the end of June to make it an even 6 months per part, but June was a crazy busy month for me, full of an aerial performance, a major car issue, and the start of the library’s summer reading program. Better late than never, I suppose.
ANYWAY – I have read 129 books so far this year, which is a little over the top, and also puts me on track to meet or beat my total of last year (191 books). I’ll put a full list at the end, and you can also check out my 2022 shelf on Goodreads (friend me!). Other than that, here are some random superlatives about the books that really stood out in my mind!
Book that kept me up at night
Verity by Colleen Hoover was one I only wanted to read at night. It just had that vibe, not to mention the writing made it very easy to read even when I was tired. I’d say it just about met the hype it’s been getting on TikTok.
This was actually a toss-up between See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon and Here the Whole Time by Vitor Martins. One’s a straight romance and the other an LGBTQ romance, both were adorable. See You Yesterday had plenty of great dialogue, while Here the Whole Time had a body positivity theme.
Book I struggled to finish
Am still struggling to finish – I started One Thousand Years of Solitude on a trip to Costa Rica back in January and had to DNF it while on the trip. Maybe one day I’ll finish it? Anyone want to talk me into picking it up again?
Ace of Spades, which was described as Gossip Girl meets Get Out, and that was definitely what I got. At first it seems like an online bully choosing random targets, but quickly becomes far more insidious.
Best book-to-screen adaptation
Even though I did want to read the book first, I ended up watching “Station Eleven” and falling in love with it. The book was really good too, and I definitely want to rewatch the TV series after reading it! It hits a little close to COVID, but not too close.
I wasn’t expecting to get so invested in All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman. It was a bit like Harry Potter meets The Hunger Games, where the chosen children of magical families are forced to compete in a deadly tournament where there can be only one winner. I’m glad this is only a two-book series and that the next book is coming out this month because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to stand the suspense!
Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin was one of the most brutal post-apocalyptic novels I’ve read. It follows a pair of transwomen trying to survive after a plague turns anyone with a high enough level of testosterone into a feral cannibal-rapist. They have to hunt the feral men and avoid the biological women who believe transwomen can turn at any moment. There were some really gross moments… like, really gross. Reader beware!
Close second is Quarantine: The Loners by Lex Thomas, which is about what happens when all the adults die of a deadly plague, leaving all the students in a high school to form deadly cliques to compete for food as they are cut off from the outside world. There were eyeball-stabbings, spiked booby traps, brutal beatings, and plenty more gore.
I meant to binge-read everything by Helene Dunbar after I fell in love with We Are Lost and Found back in 2020, but never got around to it until I saw an e-ARC of her newest book, The Promise of Lost Things, on Netgalley. I read it not realizing her previous book, Prelude for Lost Souls, was set in the same world with some of the same characters, so of course I had to read that. And then I started looking for her other books, which were only available through interlibrary loan. I got my hands on Boomerang, and now there are only a couple of her titles I have yet to read. (None of them compare to We Are Lost and Found, though!)
Just Another Day at Your Local Public Library. The cover was the best thing about this book, but even still, the BINGO games we play at the library where I work are better. This book just felt like lazy writing on top of making librarians into stereotypes.
Also The Push by Ashley Audrain, which had all the elements of We Need to Talk About Kevin with absolutely no payoff other than further solidifying my desire to remain childfree. The Lobotomist’s Wife by Samantha Greene Woodruff was also pretty disappointing, because the subject matter is so interesting!
Best book written by a murderer
Okay, this is a very specific category. I found this list on Book Riot and thought Amber House by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, and Larkin Reed (the authors are mother and daughters) sounded interesting without even taking into account the true crime story. And it was really good! I almost requested the second book through interlibrary loan until I found that the trilogy had never been finished, because of said murder.
Goodnight Punpun, a manga series by Inio Asano was so, so strange. At times hilarious, at times sad. Suffice it to say that I discovered this book while reading reviews of other manga titles and thought this one sounded weird enough that I needed to read it. And so I did.
Killer Triggers by Joe Kenda is a true crime book that doesn’t have the most heinous crimes, or even the most interesting. But Kenda, who was the host of a homicide investigation TV series, has such a wonderfully colloquial way of speaking that I enjoyed this far more than I would have otherwise.
Book I own that took me the longest to read
I picked up a copy of I Know My First Name Is Steven at a used bookstore, having strong memories of the Lifetime movie of the same name that aired in my childhood. But the book sat around my apartment for years, until I saw a documentary on Hulu called “Captive Audience: A Real American Horror Story” which covered the kidnapping and abuse made public by “I Know My First Name Is Steven,” as well as what happened to the family afterwards… that was a twist I didn’t see coming! I then unearthed this paperback and read it.
Best book about the Tunnel People
This may sound like a strange category, but at the beginning of the year I read a few books about people who live in abandoned subway tunnels and sewer systems as research for a story idea. The best, in my opinion, was Tunnel People by Teun Voeten, largely because Teun actually lived with the tunnel people and got to know them and their lives. What was very interesting about the books and documentaries about the tunnel people in New York City is that almost all of them interviewed the same handful of people even though at the time there were estimated to be thousands of people living underground.
Best book that mentions COVID
This is a section that will probably include more and more books as time goes on. In All That’s Left in the World by Erik J. Brown, which is a plague that decimates the population, COVID is mentioned as a precursor to this superflu. And in Golden Boys by Phil Stamper, COVID is more casually mentioned as something that happened in the past and affected the four main characters’ lives – the friends began having socially-distanced picnics and are looking forward to summer internships and opportunities they hadn’t had for the past two years. In some ways it’s surreal to see COVID in the pages of a fictional book; in other ways it’s necessary – people will be dealing with the fallout from this for years.
And now for some pie charts!
For the first half of the year, I read more hardcovers than any other format. This may not be true if I factored in the various formats of the ARCs I read, as most were paperback or ebook. My ebook stats are probably higher than last year, as I recently downloaded the Netgalley Shelf app and got myself a new ereader.
- Blackbird (Blackbird, #1) by Anna Carey
- Whisper to Me by Nick Lake
- Domain (The Domain Trilogy, #1) by Steve Alten
- Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves by Meg Long
- Stone Fruit by Lee Lai
- Beneath the Neon: Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas by Matthew O’Brien
- When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin
- Pity Party by Kathleen Lane
- Deadfall (Blackbird, #2) by Anna Carey
- The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk
- Here’s to Us (What If It’s Us #2) by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera
- That Weekend by Kara Thomas
- Extasia by Claire Legrand
- Hawkeye: Kate Bishop, Vol. 1: Anchor Points by Kelly Thompson
- Heartless Prince by Angela De Vito
- The Orphan King (The Orphan King, #1) by Tyler Chin-Tanner
- The Cat I Never Named : A True Story of Love, War, and Survival by Amra Sabic-El-Rayess
- All That’s Left in the World by Erik J. Brown
- Hawkeye: Kate Bishop, Vol. 2: Masks by Kelly Thompson
- Tunnel People by Teun Voeten
- Hawkeye: Kate Bishop, Vol. 3: Family Reunion by Kelly Thompson
- We Are Inevitable by Gayle Forman
- Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray
- The Autumnal by Daniel Kraus
- The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City by Jennifer Toth
- Pony by R.J. Palacio
- The Tunnel: The Underground Homeless of New York City by Margaret Morton
- Angel by Cliff McNish
- Trigger by N. Griffin, N. *
- The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther
- The Temperature of Me and You by Brian Zepka
- Hawkeye: Freefall by Matthew Rosenberg
- Better to Have Gone: Love, Death, and the Quest for Utopia in Auroville by Akash Kapur
- Petrograd by Philip Gelatt
- Legendborn (Legendborn, #1) by Tracy Deonn
- The In Between by Marc Klein
- The Lost Things Club by J.S. Puller
- Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
- Maybe We’re Electric by Val Emmich
- Sidelined by Kara Bietz
- Anatomy: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz
- Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi
- A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee
- What We Harvest by Ann Fraistat
- Hazel Bly and the Deep Blue Sea by Ashley Herring Blake
- Belle Morte by Bella Higgin
- My Summer Of You: Vol. 1 by Nagisa Furuya
- There There by Tommy Orange
- Hazard by Frances O’Roark Dowell
- Seaside Stranger: Vol. 1 by Kanna Kii
- Paradise on Fire by Jewell Parker Rhodes
- I Am the Ghost in Your House by Maria Romasco-Moore
- Borders by Thomas King
- The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes (The Lillys, #1) by Xio Axelrod
- This Poison Heart (The Poison Heart, #1) by Kalynn Bayron
- The Midnight Brigade by Adam Borba
- A Queer and Pleasant Danger by Kate Bornstein
- House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland
- We Are Not Broken by George M. Johnson
- Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet by Laekan Zea Kemp
- Survive the Night by Riley Sager
- Squad Goals by Erika J. Kendrick
- Fix by J. Albert Mann
- You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen McManus
- A World Without You by Beth Revis
- The Seventh Raven by David Elliott
- Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee
- Sister of the Bollywood Bride by Nandini Bajpai
- Meadowlark: A Coming-of-Age Crime Story by Ethan Hawke
- The Great Big One by J.C. Geiger
- Dig Two Graves by Gretchen McNeil
- Primal Animals by Julia Lynn Rubin, Julia Lynn *
- I Know My First Name is Steven: The True Story of the Steven Stayner Abduction Case by Mike Echols
- Confessions by Kanae Minato
- Indivisible by Daniel Aleman
- Chef’s Kiss by Jarrett Melendez
- The Reckless Kind by Carly Heath
- The Lobotomist’s Wife by Samantha Greene Woodruff
- Restart After Coming Back Home by Cocomi
- Killer Triggers by Joe Kenda
- Restart After Growing Hungry (Restart After, #2) by Cocomi
- The Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constance Sayers
- Where the Drowned Girls Go (Wayward Children, #7) by Seanan McGuire
- Goodnight Punpun Omnibus, Vol. 1 by Inio Asano
- Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli
- The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold
- Book of Night (Book of Night, #1) by Holly Black
- The Push by Ashley Audrain
- Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon
- Ain’t Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds
- Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York by Elon Green
- Our Crooked Hearts by Melissa Albert
- Daughters of a Dead Empire by Carolyn Tara O’Neil
- Amber House (Amber House, #1) by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, & Larkin Reed
- Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
- Skip by Molly Mendoza
- Neurocomic by Hana Ros
- Just Another Day at Your Local Public Library by Roz Warren
- See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon
- Layoverland by Gabby Noone
- Here the Whole Time by Vitor Martins
- Gallant by V.E. Schwab
- Welcome to St. Hell: My Trans Teen Misadventure by Lewis Hancox
- The Promise of Lost Things by Helene Dunbar
- Maniac: The Bath School Disaster and the Birth of the Modern Mass Killer by Harold Schechter
- Fangirl, Vol. 2: The Manga by Rainbow Rowell & Sam Maggs
- The Clackity by Lora Senf
- Very Bad People by Kit Frick
- You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
- Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado
- Parable of the Sower (Earthseed, #1) by Octavia E. Butler
- Boomerang by Helene Dunbar
- Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin
- Don’t Go to Sleep by Bryce Moore
- Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
- All of Us Villains (All of Us Villains, #1) by Amanda Foody
- Ride On by Faith Erin Hicks
- Verity by Colleen Hoover
- Golden Boys by Phil Stamper
- Prelude for Lost Souls by Helene Dunbar
- Sandcastle by Pierre Oscar Lévy
- Ace of Hearts by Myriad Augustine
- Tonight We Rule the World by Zack Smedley
- Lovesickness by Junji Ito
- Waves Crashing Just Like Me by Kelsey Gallant
- City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
- Quarantine: The Loners by Lex Thomas
- The Greatest Thing by Sarah Winifred Searle
- My Summer of You v. 2 by Nagisa Furuya