Friday 6 January 2023

Top 10 Fiction Books I Read in 2022

2022 was the year I rediscovered reading for fun. It was the first year since I was very very young that I didn’t have any required reading to do. I graduated from my undergrad degree in English Lit and Politics in the summer of 2021, and while I loved my degree it was amazing to be able to read whatever I want whenever I wanted. I started studying again in September 2021 and have continued my postgraduate course through 2022 and into 2023, but as this is a research course, I get to choose what my course reading is. While I read the detective novels I’ve wanted to, once I decide what text I’m writing on, I can read whatever the hell takes my fancy. By taking the pressure off my reading, I ended up reading more books in 2022 than I have in any other year before – 73 in total. I’ve split up my favourites into my 10 favourite fiction books, and my 10 favourite non-fiction books. Here are my favourite fiction books of 2022 (in no particular order but you may be able to tell which I preferred to others).

Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid


This book reminded me why I love reading. It’s so gripping, I read it mostly in one night and stayed up into the early hours of the morning to finish it. It felt like I was a kid again. I loved the characters, the imagery, and the twists. And yes, it did make me cry. Ugh it’s just so good. Since I finish reading it, my copy has been making its way around my friends – if you’re my pal and you haven’t read it yet, my copy is currently free! 


Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

At the beginning of the year, I was really looking for some fluff to read. Red, White & Royal Blue was the fluff I needed. This book is just so cute and so gay and wholesome. As the main characters are members of the both the USA’s First Family and the British Royal Family makes it feel quite fanciful but also I don’t care, that’s the point of these novels. Would highly recommend if you a fun, easy read that might make you a bit teary at the characters being happy. 


And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

I’ve read a lot of Agatha Christie this year (I study early-twentieth century detective fiction for my masters, so you know, makes sense), and honestly this is my favourite novel of hers. It’s so clever and easy to read. I couldn’t down even though I knew the ending (I’d watched the BBC TV adaptation a few Christmasses ago). On a remote island off the Devon coast, 10 strangers meet, none of them having met their mysterious host, and one by one are killed without explanation. The story bring sup questions of justice and the judicial system, morality and accountability. 


This book has a deeply racist history (it had two previous titles before And Then There Were None became the mainstream title, one of which contained a racial slur and the other still racialized language and imagery), so make sure you read a copy with this final title to avoid slurs when reading. 


My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

I found this book oddly hilarious. It’s ridiculous but so dark at the same time. I mean her sister is literally killing men left right and centre and the main character annoyed at her the way as if she kept stealing her clothes or getting home late very night. The key moment in this book is when Ayoola (the sister serial killer in question) starts getting involved with the man that Korede (the protagonist) is in love with and also works with – yep, it starts to get complicated. This book is a lot of fun. It is also short and easy to rad if you want a quick story. I am definitely going to be looking out for what Oyinkan Braithwaite does next! 


Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating

I borrowed this book from a friend and it’s just so joyful and wholesome. Maybe a parallel to Red, White & Royal Blue, this is a wholesome Sapphic YA love story that will warm your heart. If you’re on the look out for an easy-read high school love story/drama and a load of queer joy to warm your heart, I couldn’t recommend Hani and Ishu enough. 


How to Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie

The main character in How to Kill Your Family is a brutal serial killer coming after each of her family members one by one. And I love her! Grace is hilarious, clever, and witty, and has an incredible level of bitterness that, let’s be real, would be relatable if you had her back story too. 


While reading this book I realised I still tend towards novels about murder even if they’re not the genre or time period I research for my postgrad. After finishing this book I took a little break from murder books for a little bit… 


The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is called a masterpiece for a reason. I still personally prefer And Then There Were None as a novel, but Roger Ackroyd is iconic. I didn’t know its twist ending before reading it, and only figured it out just before it was revealed. This book is engrossing, clever, and honestly brilliant. Avoid spoilers at all costs on this one especially, it will make it even better when you reach the end. 


The Bread the Devil Knead by Lia Allen-Agostini

Lisa Allen-Agostini is a beautiful writer. Her writing is so engaging, and the characters so well fleshed out. I read this in one sitting in bed on a Saturday morning/early afternoon after I’d been working late the night before. I would give a trigger warning for domestic violence and murder for this book, as it deals with the protagonist Alethea’s internal struggle over whether or not to leave her abusive partner alongside her recollection of traumatic childhood memories. This novel is heartbreaking, and gets more so as it goes on. At the same time the last few lines feel like a deep exhale of utter relief. I would also give trigger warnings for sexual violence and incest. 


Forever Home by Graham Norton

I love Graham Norton’s books. His novel Home Stretch was featured in my top 5 fiction books of 2021 and this was the second book of his I read in 2022. This is a mystery thriller, and let’s be real, a hilarious romp, that kept me hooked from the get go. Like The Bread the Devil Knead, I read this in a few hours on a Saturday before I’d even stepped out of bed. I adore the characters in this book, especially’s Carol’s mum. The book keepa you questioning and theorising what the secret is and delivers a shock when its finally revealed. I can’t wait for his next book, but seeing as this was only released a few months ago, I will likely have to wait a long time. 


On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong


As the title would suggest, this book is gorgeous. I just want to hug this book. It’s a letter the main character (known as Little Dog) to his mother who cannot read or speak English, written when he is an adult. It follows the family history from Vietnam to the USA and throughout Little Dog’s life. It is beautiful and heartwrenching – a book on love and loss, home and displacement. Ocean Vuong is a truly wonderful writer. 

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If you liked this post you might like: 5 Best Fiction Books I Read in 2021

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