The Best Writing of 2022
Some of the things I most enjoyed reading in 2022.
Some of my favorite books and things from this past year.
Best Climate Writing: Elizabeth Weil How To Live In A Catastrophe
An Editor Ruined The Ending: Jessamine Chan’s The School For Good Mothers
This book was phenomenal, but the ending was very forced and “sellable.”
Worst Trend: Sequel Books
From Tracy Flick Can’t Win to Less Is Lost to The Committed, I’m not loving this “SELL ME TO HOLLYWOOD!!” trend. They all want to be movies and I am over it.
Best Book About “Work”: Olga Ravn The Employees
Humanoids working with humans, all while dying. Brilliant.
Best Book About “America”: Ken Kalfus 2 A.M. In Little America
Didn’t love the mafia bits, but a book about being an American refugee was timely.
Best Queer Book: Sarah Thankam Mathews All This Could Be Different
Best Social Study: Heather Radke Butts: A Backstory
What I Wished Sally Rooney Books Were: Lillian Fishman’s Acts of Service
Best TikTok About Books:
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Most Fun / Most Fun Parody Of Higher Education: Elaine Hsieh Chou Disorientation
Very Good Books
Andrea Elliott Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City
Best Memoir: Molly Shannon Hello Molly!
Celebrity books are always eh but this book, while certainly a celebrity book, had so much heart and soul. Molly Shannon is absolutely effervescent and this book reminds that some people in the spotlight are good, lovely people. This book is like chicken soup: warm, comforting, and full of flavor. The audiobook is a must.
Best Non-Fiction: Robert Samuels & Toluse Olorunnipa His Name Is George Floyd: One Man's Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice
There is so much, say, that Americans and American culture has said of and about George Floyd. This book by Washington Post journalists does an excellent job at setting a record on Floyd’s life, telling his story and the story of so many Black Americans. It’s the greatest tragedy of our time. It’s a very sad, very well done, very necessary read.
Best Book Cover, I & Best Fiction: Elaine Hsieh Chou Disorientation
Did anyone have more fun making fun of identity politics this year than Elaine Hsieh Chou? I don’t think so. This was a hilarious romp through all the things that make higher education so fucking bad, while skewering and praising our clamoring to make identities that identities that they are. It’s a book that celebrates and ridicules institutions, a very necessary (and savory) something as it’s beyond time to tear these things down. I feel like not enough people talked about this book but it was very technically good. It was easily the best fiction – And most fun! – of the year.
Best Book Cover, II & Favorite Fiction: Sheila Heti’s Pure Colour
Where to begin? A book about “god” deciding it’s time to redo the earth, starting over, all while zooming into the life of an aspiring art critic who proceeds to quite literally leave her life, exploring existential planes? It was a nourishing read, not to mention a sensational book cover that matched the esoteric and artistic content. What Heti does with this book is create a conceptual playground for readers to run around in, while keeping the language and subject(s) accessible, entertaining, and easy to pop in and out of. This is very hard to do! And she made it feel easy. The ending slips in quite quickly, feeling random and “weird,” but the more you sit with it the more you love the tiny “twist” that she throws your way. A very, very special book!