2022 Reading List – Novellas, Novels, Graphic Novels, Webcomics, and Non-Fiction

Well, it doesn’t look like I’m going to finish anything else before the year is up—I’m planning to spend the next few days catching up on all my Yuletide reading—so here’s a list of everything else I’ve read in 2022. Plus I’ll discuss a few superlatives (like Favorite Opening Line), a change-up in fandom obsessions, and a short list of books I’m especially looking forward to checking out in 2023.

I’ll discuss my favorite reads of 2022 next week, but for now . . . The List.

(A guide to font colors: novels are in black, novellas are in purple, graphic novels and webcomics are in green, and non-fiction is in blue. Oh, and poetry collections are in red. That applies to literally one thing on this list. I’ll have to do better next year.)

The Tokyo Zodiac Murders – Soji Shimada
“Even though Holmes was born in England, he didn’t study astrology. That’s a pity. Astrology would have enabled him to do a better job.”

My Heart is a Chainsaw – Stephen Graham Jones
“Horror’s not a symptom, it’s a love affair.”

The Murder Next Door – Sarah Bell
Murder was not a topic Louisa had expected to discuss at the breakfast table.

The Unidentified: Mythical Monsters, Alien Encounters, and Our Obsession with The Unexplained – Colin Dickey
To say, then, that monsters, or cryptids, live on the margins is always to be asking whose margins, whose civilization. As soon as you label the cryptid as the thing on the outer edge of civilization, then you are, de facto, announcing where civilization ends.

A Dark and Starless Forest – Sarah Hollowell
“This isn’t something you need to fix. Sometimes you need to let people be sad. Sometimes you need to let me be sad.”

A Master of Djinn – P. Djèlí Clark
“Rich people always have enemies. Usually, that’s how they become rich.”

The House in the Cerulean Sea – TJ Klune
“She doesn’t like you,” Talia said. “Don’t feel too bad about it, though. She doesn’t like most people. It isn’t personal, I don’t think. She would just rather you weren’t here. Or alive.”

Catalyst Gate – Megan E. O’Keefe
“Nice to see you again, B.”
“My name is Bero. I do not agree with your sentiments.”

The Cybernetic Tea Shop – Meredith Katz
In this part of the world, fall meant rain, winter meant rain, spring meant rain. Summer had its bright days, but also rain.

I Am Not Your Final Girl – Claire C. Holland
You might say things didn’t end well
but I had fun. Ask anyone.  (“Ginger” – Ginger Snaps)

The Occultists – Polly Schattel
Max Grahame first learned about the unsettling library on the second floor of the post office in the unseasonably wet midsummer of 1904.

The Box in the Woods – Maureen Johnson
A murder reveal is worth skipping Netflix for.

The Necessity of Stars – E. Catherine Tobler
Memory is a form of fiction—a story that keeps the days threaded together in proper order.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built – Becky Chambers
If you ask six different monks the question of which godly domain robot consciousness belongs to, you’ll get seven different answers.

Fireheart Tiger – Aliette de Bodard
“Anyway, the fire doesn’t matter. There will be other fires, my love, and we will survive them all.”

A Desolation Called Peace – Arkady Martine
Go, go, go. Go now, and if you die, you die star-brilliant.

The Unbroken – C.L. Clark
“There’s no act in the world that doesn’t require sacrifice,” the priest said.
“A sacrifice is given, not taken,” Touraine growled back.

The Giants of the Violet Sea – Eugenia Triantafyllou
I don’t realize how far apart I have grown from my mother until, upon meeting her again, I have to force myself to hug her.

Hither, Page – Cat Sebastian
Leo had once known an old man who had gone outside every morning all winter with a palm full of seeds; by March he had bramblings and chaffinches eating out of his hand. By May he had been shot dead by a sniper, but that wasn’t the point of the story.

Last Exit – Max Gladstone
The small-town diners and truck stops got hard, and they’d been no easy places before, America always quicker to call itself friendly than to make friends.

Siren Queen – Nghi Vo
“If he tries to hurt you or my baby, I will bend his spine into a wedding ring.”

Another – Yukito Ayatsuji
“Half my body is waiting there, the poor thing.”

Fugitive Telemetry – Martha Wells
All I wanted to do was watch media and not exist.

Shoot Around – Suspu
“That is a bad plan. That is barely a plan. I’m hesitant to even call it an idea.”

The Apple-Tree Throne – Premee Mohamed
He joined the army, I think, so that he could have brothers who might actually play with him.

The Eight of Swords – John Dickson Carr
“I don’t mean he had no enemies. When you hear of a man who is said to have no enemies, you can practically sit back and wait for somebody to murder him.”

A Marvellous Light – Freya Marske
Robin was kind and Robin loved fiercely, but Robin, too, had already seen too much of Edwin. Edwin couldn’t rip off the last layer. That was all there was left of him. There’d be nothing left but blood.

Gender Queer – Maia Kobabe
I remember when I first realized I never had to have children. It was like walking out of a narrow alley into a wide open field. I never have to get married. I never have to date anyone. I don’t even have to care about sex. These realizations were like gifts I gave to myself.

Dead Collections – Isaac Fellman
Vampire ash isn’t fluffy dust, as people imagine it to be; nor does it resemble the “cremains” that are sent to us from the crematorium, which are really just pulverized bones. It is heavy and flaky, like cigarette ash, or like fungi. Some have compared the physical texture to crumbled gorgonzola cheese. You’re uncomfortably aware that there’s fat in it.

Nettle & Bone – T. Kingfisher
Marra jammed her elbow into his side, which was rather like elbowing a stone wall. He grunted, possibly to be polite.

Heaven Official’s Blessing: Tian Guan Ci Fu – Mo Xiang Tong Xiu
That infamous weirdo, the laughingstock of the three realms, the legendary Royal Highness the Crown Prince, he . . . he . . . he . . . he fucking ascended again!

Bitter – Akwaeke Emezi
She knew about discipline from her work; she knew about rigor and how you had to practice and practice and practice until you carried it with you in your bones. She’d never thought of hope like that—as something serious and deliberate instead of something wishful and desperate.

18 Tiny Deaths: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Invented Modern Forensics – Bruce Goldfarb
As ideas began to formulate in her mind, she said to Magrath, “I want to look for myself. Soon, when we get out of here, I want you to show me the beauty of human internal organs.”

Can’t Escape Love – Alyssa Cole
Gus didn’t know if seducing someone with French toast was possible, but he was willing to give it a try.

California Bones – Greg Van Eekhout
“I’m not going to eat you,” Daniel said with finality. “God, sometimes I hate my hometown.”

The Forgotten Girl – India Hill Brown
He might not be brave, but he wasn’t afraid of the dead.

Mooncakes – Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker
“That’s right . . . run back to your little wolf friend . . . while you can . . .”
“I will! And I’m going to make out with them while I’m at it!”

Nothing But Blackened Teeth – Cassandra Khaw
Any second now, something was going to snap, a neck or a temper or a spine.

Death on Gokumon Island – Seishi Yokomizo
The tragedy was over. There would be no more gruesome murders. The inhabitants of Gokumon Island were sure of that much. Apologies to the victims, but everyone was rather relieved.

Nightwing: Leaping into the Light – Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo
“I’m okay. I’m okay.”
“You’re on the floor.”
“I’m okay on the floor.”

Chilling Effect – Valerie Valdes
“I only set one thing on fire last time. By accident, I mean. I set three things on fire on purpose.”

Something Is Killing the Children, Vol 1. – James Tynion IV, Werther Dell’edera, Miquel Muerto
“You can’t think like that. We’re going to find her.”
“Mm. You don’t believe that. But you don’t know what else to say, and that’s okay.”

The Rust Maidens – Gwendolyn Kiste
“I don’t want my mother to discover my secrets,” she’d told me, and gave them to me instead.

Something Is Killing the Children, Vol. 2 – James Tynion IV, Werther Dell’edera, Miquel Muerto
“And ever since then, I’ve known he’s been in Heaven looking down on me.”
“That sounds nice. Did anything try to eat him?”
“I’m . . . I’m sorry, dear?”
“Did anything try to eat his body?”

The Case of the Constant Suicides – John Dickson Carr
“Here’s the evidence. What more do you want?”
“The truth,” insisted Dr. Fell stubbornly. “I am old-fashioned. I want the truth.”

Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution – Elie Mystal
Everybody has seen the gleaming, airbrushed face of the Constitution. I’m going to tell you what this motherfucker looks like after it has had its foot on your neck for almost 250 years.

Daisy Darker – Alice Feeney
My parents didn’t believe me back then, but neurologists have since confirmed that the human brain is still active for a period of time after death, and I promise you that it is true. Dead people can hear you, so be careful that way.

Firebreak – Nicole Kornher-Stace
I don’t want to fucking cry. I want to go and smash things. My biology is betraying me.

Mongrels – Stephen Graham Jones
He’d never put a shirt on. Werewolves aren’t into shirts, even in January in North Texas.

What Moves the Dead – T. Kingfisher
It must have been terribly galling to be barred from an organization merely because one lacked the proper genitals, when disreputable Americans were allowed to join and write about underwater mushrooms.

Something is Killing the Children, Vol. 3 – James Tynion IV, Werther Dell’edera, Miquel Muerto
“Nice kitchen.”
“Try not to bleed all over it if you can.”

The Last House on Needless Street – Catriona Ward
Recording stuff is the bug man’s idea. He told me to keep a “feelings diary.” Those words made me feel alarmed. He made it sound simple. Talk about what happens and how it affects you. Well, that’s out of the question.

Tender is the Flesh – Agustina Bazterrica
He knows that at first they called her “Dr. Mengele” behind her back, but then experimenting on humans was normalized and she went on to win prizes.

Into the Riverlands – Nghi Vo
They weren’t brave, and despite the shaved head and the indigo robes, they weren’t particularly virtuous, but more than anything else, they were curious, and sometimes that could stand in for the rest.

Uncommon Charm – Emily Bergslien & Kat Weaver
“I experience magic without deliberately causing magic,” he said. “But I also pray without expectation that the prayer gets answered. It’s all without a point, but it’s never pointless.”

Queens of Noise – Leigh Harlan
Shifters, punks, goths, and queers. The bravest and biggest hearts in the fucking world.

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy – Becky Chambers
The thing about fucking off to the woods is that unless you are a very particular, very rare sort of person, it does not take long to understand why people left said woods in the first place.

A Nice Class of Corpse – Simon Brett
Maybe some of the residents snored or grunted in their sleep, but none was so lacking in gentility as to let such noises percolate through a bedroom door on to the second-floor landing where the murderer stood.

Weekend at Thrackley – Alan Melville
So Jacobsen dealt another blow at the gong, and another, and a fourth for luck, and disappeared to the kitchen with the feeling that if that didn’t fetch them nothing would, and to hell with them, anyway.

Even Though I Knew The End – C.L. Polk
I shot them again for want of a snappy comeback.

The Old Woman with the Knife – Gu Byeong-mo
He didn’t have a desperate, otherworldly desire to do this work, driven to resolve his baggage with other baggage.

The Missing Page – Cat Sebastian
Some people responded to brushes with death with an urgent need for sex. James did not. James responded to brushes with death with an urgent need for barbiturates or, failing that, a place to quietly panic.

Only Child – Jesse Osburn
“I’m gonna beat the crap out of Don Blevins.”
“That’ll take five minutes.” He leaned against the wooden rail. “What’re we going to do the rest of the time?”

Lavender House – Lev AC Rosen
In cases where all the suspects are together, there’s usually a silence like this, each of them willing the other in front of the firing squad first. I’ve never understood why. If you tell the story first, it’s your story. Everyone else has to prove you’re wrong. But no one ever wants to start.

The Clackity – Lora Senf
“Oh, pretty girl child with the pretty wheat-penny hair. We wouldn’t hurt her yet. We will call her Pretty Penny, and she will call us The Clackity. We will talk and make a good, fair deal.”

Batman: Wayne Family Adventures (ongoing) – Starbite, CRC Payne
“You promised me fun. Taking down a low-level smuggling ring isn’t fun. It’s boring.”
“Well, I can’t do anything about the smugglers. Can I offer you this lollipop instead?”

Now, for the breakdown:

Honestly, I’m not sure I have any interesting reading trends to discuss this year. Per always, my list is heavily made up of fantasy, horror, SF, and mystery novels with a few romance and non-fiction books thrown in. I have been particularly enjoying queer cozy, speculative, and noir mysteries this year and will always happily take recs—not that I need to add more to my To-Read Pile, of course.

I’ve also been reading a handful of graphic novels, a couple of web comics, and—as always—a veritable mountain of fanfiction. This time last year, I was still deep into The Untamed fandom; in 2022, however, I moved on to a new obsession: Beyond Evil. I have spent entirely too much time on this new love of my life, and will probably continue to do so well into 2023.

Some favorite New-to-Me Authors: TJ Klune, Cat Sebastian, Freya Marske

A bunch of upcoming 2023 releases I’m particularly excited about:

Hell Bent – Leigh Bardugo
Witch King – Martha Wells
Some Desperate Glory – Emily Tesh
The Deep Sky – Yume Kitasei
A House With Good Bones – T. Kingfisher
The Water Outlaws – S.L. Huang
Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers – Jesse Q. Sutanto

And then—because I am nothing if not obsessed with a good turn of phrase—

MOST FABULOUSLY QUOTABLE BOOKS I READ THIS YEAR

A Box in the Woods – Maureen Johnson
A Desolation Called Peace – Arkady Martine
Last Exit – Max Gladstone
Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution – Elie Mystal
Weekend at Thrackley – Alan Melville

FAVORITE OPENING QUOTE

I have decided today that the only way to get out of my current difficulties is by murder. It is really rather a surprise that I had not come to this conclusion earlier, since it will so simply and immediately resolve the problems that have been aggravating me for some time.
A Nice Class of Corpse – Simon Brett

Because, I mean. Come on. That’s wonderful. That’s how you begin a murder mystery right there, and honestly? Kind of relatable content.

I actually found this 80’s cozy mystery while looking through our local Friends of the Library book sale. (It’s the first time we’ve had one since 2020, and apparently I was not the only one excited about its return, because the place was so packed that I actually got a little overwhelmed and had to chill out on the sidelines for a while.) I saw the title of this book, read that first paragraph, and immediately I was in.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

When I don’t remember my name, I will remember this.
The Necessity of Stars – E. Catherine Tobler

When the worst of the bleeding stopped, Zelda hitchhiked back to the Bronx to say that she was sorry.
Last Exit – Max Gladstone

Reginald Gatling’s doom found him beneath an oak tree, on the last Sunday of a fast-fading summer.
A Marvellous Light – Freya Marske

Today is the anniversary of Little Girl With Popsicle. It happened by the lake, eleven years ago—she was there, and then she wasn’t. So it’s already a bad day when I discover that there is a Murderer among us.
The Last House on Needless Street – Catriona Ward

The trees were full of crows and the woods were full of madmen. The pit was full of bones and her hands were full of wires.
 Nettle & Bone – T. Kingfisher

(Note: In regards to Honorable Mentions, I bravely kept this list at 5 in a half-hearted attempt at self-discipline, but this was only accomplished by using some of my favorite opening quotes in the primary list—and even then, it was still difficult. Acknowledge my pain, please and thank you.)

FAVORITE CHAPTER OR SECTION TITLE

Three Clowns, Night Discussion on the Palace of Tremendous Masculinity
Heaven Official’s Blessing – Mo Xiang Tong Xiu

I can’t speak to the accuracy of the translation here—I don’t speak Chinese even a little, unfortunately, and I’ve heard mixed things about Seven Seas Entertainment when it comes to translation—but assuming this is accurate, I mean, yes. You simply can’t read those words and not go, ” . . . I’m confused, but also, tell me more.”

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Trauma’s Easier on a Full Stomach
Catalyst Gate – Megan E. O’Keefe

Part I
What? . . . Why?
Another – Yukito Ayatsuji

CANCELING TRASH PEOPLE IS NOT A CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS
Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution – Elie Mystal

BIGOTRY IS ILLEGAL EVEN IF YOU’VE BEEN ORDERED TO BY JESUS
Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution – Elie Mystal

FAVORITE COVER ART

Nothing But Blackened Teeth – Cassandra Khaw
Artist: Samuel Araya

I mean . . . . goddamn. I was gonna read this book no matter what because “Cassandra Khaw” plus “Japanese folklore” plus “creepy haunted house” equals “yes, I’ll take two.” But even if I hadn’t known any of those things, I would’ve picked up this book anyway because, FFS, look at that gorgeous, creepy ass cover art. It is glorious. It is haunting AF. This is truly outstanding work.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

What Moves the Dead – T. Kingfisher
Artist: Christina Mrozik

The Forgotten Girl – India Hill Brown
Artist: Maeve Norton

Dead Collections – Isaac Fellman
Artist: Evangeline Gallagher

Bitter – Akwaeke Emezi
Artist: Shyama Golden

Heaven Official’s Blessing: Tian Guan Ci Fu – Mo Xiang Tong Xiu
Artist: tai3_3

Even Though I Knew The End – C.L. Polk
Artist: Mark Smith

Back next week to discuss my favorite novels, novellas, and such of 2022!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.