If you’ve been following this blog since the early years, you might remember when I used to post MASSIVE book hauls every month. I’m sure I’m not the only beginner book blogger to have fallen into the trap of buying ALL THE BOOKS just go feel like I was keeping up with everyone else. Fortunately, I did eventually realize I don’t have to buy every single book I see everyone talk about. I still haven’t read most of them, and they were honestly just a waste of space and money. If you’re new here, learn from my mistakes.
Anyway, today we are talking about the books I’ve purchased so far in 2022. I feel like doing quarterly book hauls might be a good balance of not too many, but still plenty to discuss. There are thirty-one books on this list, all purchased in January, February, or March of this year. I have actually read eight of them already (I’m surprised, too), but I’ll try to keep this short because there are a lot of books to get through.
Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
I picked this one up in January and was very excited to read it. This ended up being chosen for my personal book club back in February. Our meeting keeps getting postponed, so I still haven’t finished this one (I like to read the books right before we meet, otherwise I will have read like ten more in the meantime and remember almost nothing for the discussion). I did start this and am really enjoying it, but am only about halfway through. I might try and finish this week, though. Just to get it off my “currently reading” list.
Where the Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire
This is the seventh book in the Wayward Children series, which is definitely an auto-buy series for me at this point. I think I’ve preordered the last four or five of them, and am very proud of myself for actually reading this one not only in the year it was published, but the same week. That never happens. I don’t think this is my favorite of the series, but it’s definitely up there. I really love these books and am excited for number eight.
A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske
This was kind of an impulse buy because it was on sale and I’d seen good things about this around the blogging community (sometimes, I still can’t resist the hype). But, come on… this is a gay Victorian fantasy being marketed as Red, White, and Royal Blue meets Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. We know I needed this. Even though I haven’t yet braved Jonathan Strange because it terrifies me. But I think I might attempt it this year (I loved Piranesi so much last year that I’m feeling more of an incentive to finally pick it up). Anyway, I do have tentative plans to pick this up in June for Pride Month, so we’ll see how it goes. So far, I am not doing great with my reading plans, but send good vibes my way so that I can catch up.
Her Heart for a Compass by Sarah Ferguson
This book caught my eye – it’s a romance novel written by a member of the British royal family, so I was definitely curious – and although I knew it probably wouldn’t be my thing, I picked it up anyway. Because it was half off and also signed. In my defense, I had a gift card. Not that it made me reading experience at all enjoyable. But it did result in this post (which I must say is one of my personal favorites), where you can read all about the suffering this book caused me. I still can’t bring myself to get rid of it, so it’s currently sitting on my shelves like some sort of annoying trophy.
The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki
It has been a while since I’ve read Ruth Ozeki, but I do remember enjoying A Tale for the Time Being (even if I remember very little about it). And this book intrigues me. It’s about a boy who, after the death of his father, starts to hear inanimate objects – a shoe, a book, lettuce – talk to him. I don’t know about you, but it’s kind of giving me Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close meets weird Japanese literature vibes. Which is right up my alley. I am trying to wait to pick this up in July, because it perfectly fits the Buzzword Reading Challenge prompt for that month, but I’ve been staring at it constantly in the meantime.
Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
Historical fiction starring trailblazing women is my favorite kind of historical fiction. This one is about a daredevil female aviator and the actress hired to portray her half a century later. I feel like books with multiple POVs are kind of hit or miss for me, but this one sounds too good to pass up. I haven’t quite been in the mood for historical fiction lately (not sure why), but this will be the next one I pick up.
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van Der Kolk MD
I’ve talked about it on this blog a few times, but I deal with a lot of mental and physical health issues that I’m pretty sure are caused by childhood trauma. I’ve read a lot of articles over the years about the topic because I find having a better understanding of how my experiences shaped who I am is very helpful as I work towards healing. I have been doing a lot of work on myself, both to be in a better mental health space and to just be a better person, and I’m curious to see what this book can bring to that.
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Do I really even need to explain this one? It’s Andy Weir. I will always buy Andy Weir books (unless, you know, he does something truly awful and I can’t support him anymore, but I don’t see that happening). I’ve been hearing amazing things about this one, and hopefully I can fit it in this summer. Because it just feels like a summer read.
The Night and Its Moon by Piper CJ
I can’t even say the hype got me on this one, because I bought it before I even knew who Piper CJ was. I didn’t even really know this was an indie book, either. I was browsing Barnes & Noble with gift cards in hand, and came across this one. It sounded interesting and was – at the time – relatively unknown, so I grabbed a copy. I’m not the best at it, but I do like trying new authors and talking about them on my blog just to give them a tiny bit more exposure. However, before I got around to reading this, shit kind of hit the fan surrounding this book. Check out the Goodreads reviews if you don’t know what I’m talking about. But I no longer want to give my support to this book and based on what I’ve seen even just about the writing, I don’t think I even want to read it anymore. Kind of not sure what to do with it. But I thought I’d share because this happens, unfortunately. Let me know what you think I should do. Read it and share my opinion (even though I’m pretty sure it won’t be great)? Unhaul without reading?
Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura
I have really been on a Japanese literature kick this year for some reason, and I’m kind of loving it. This one is YA, which I don’t read very often anymore (though it kind of felt more middle grade, which I read even less). But it was such a fun, cute read that also managed to hurt me. Not quite five stars, but I loved how weird it was and it really grabbed my attention. One of maybe two books I have stayed up too late reading this year, which is saying a lot since that used to be a nightly occurrence. Trying to get better at sleep because I’m getting old, but this book did not help and I’m not even mad about it.
Dowry of Blood by S. T. Gibson
This is another book I picked up because I gave into the hype (okay, there’s not a lot, but I see this around every once in a while and am always intrigued). It’s a sapphic story about Dracula’s brides. Which just sounds so good. I think this one might make it onto my October reading list this year (in case you didn’t know, I usually do a whole month of spooky, Halloween reads – I just think it’s such a fun holiday). I love the inclusion of some diversity on that list, because it’s definitely needed.
A History of My Brief Body by Billy-Ray Belcourt
This was quite honestly a complete cover buy. It’s just so pretty. However, I am also very excited to read it. It’s a memoir by an Indigenous, queer author. Which isn’t something I’ve read before. I kind of wish I’d picked this up as part of my Indigenous People’s Day reading experiment last year, but there is always time to read more diverse books. I have been really loving reading memoirs by people whose experiences differ from mine. I feel like I learn a lot from them. As I am neither Indigenous or part of the LGBTQ+ community, that is definitely the case here. This is tentatively on my list to read for Pride Month, and I’m very excited. (Side note: look at me picking up books I actually plan to read soon! Crazy concept, I know.)
The Mere Wife by Maria Headley
Last year, I read Headley’s incredible new translation of Beowulf (and didn’t shut up about it for months afterwards). I just loved her take on it, and how it was more centered on the women in the story – they play pretty big roles that have been kind of minimized by the male translators (and yes, I have read several). Beowulf with feminist vibes is something I never knew I needed, but am so very glad we have now. The Mere Wife is a novel based on Grendel’s mother. If you haven’t read Beowulf, the hero kills Grendel – usually imagined as a monster – because he’s attacking the soldiers the great hall mostly for being super loud every night and not letting him sleep, which is very relatable, let’s be honest. Grendel’s mother seeks revenge and is portrayed as a villain in most translations, but mostly as a kickass grieving mother in Headley’s version. I will stop talking now because I’m a massive Medieval literature nerd and can go on for a while, but I am very excited to read this book!
The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas
This year, I set myself the goal of reading six classics. However, I also wanted to make sure those six books included some diversity. Since I loved The Count of Monte Cristo when I read it last year, I wanted to see what else Dumas has written. I’m definitely not attempting The Three Musketeers this year (after 2021, I need a break from the massive classics), but was happy to come across this book, which is right around 250 pages. So, you know, not the size of my head. It also has similar revenge themes to The Count, and I am very excited. It’s been on my list for a few months, but keeps getting pushed because I am not doing great with my reading plans this year. But I will get to it soon!
North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Just another book I picked up for my classics reading goal this year. I was feeling Austen vibes, but I’ve read all of her books already. So I picked this one, because I have yet to read Elizabeth Gaskell and everyone seems to love this one. It’s not terribly intimidating, so I’m looking forward to reading it. At some point, eventually, when I catch up to all the other things I need to read.
Vilette by Charlotte Brontë
This is the last classic I added to my collection that I’m hoping to read this year. I feel like everyone (including myself) reads Jane Eyre and kind of forgets Charlotte Brontë wrote more things. Though I do still think Anne is the best Brontë (I have read both of her novels, Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and think she’s wildly underrated), I’m curious to read more from Charlotte. Because I do really like Jane Eyre.
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
If you want a spoiler for my year-end favorites, here it is. I absolutely loved this book! It’s definitely going to be hard to top, but we’ll see what happens with everything else I’m hoping to read this year. I went into this a little skeptical, because even though I adore all things Shakespeare (this is about his wife and son, Hamnet), I wasn’t a huge fan of the other Maggie O’Farrell book I’ve read (I Am, I Am, I Am). But I think her fiction definitely works for me, and now I want to read more. Happy to have this one on my shelves.
Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots
Full disclosure here: I accidentally purchased two copies of this. I ordered the hardcover from Book Outlet and it took forever to get here, so I forgot about that order completely and purchased the paperback. So this list is really thirty-two books. But whatever. This is about a woman who ends up being permanently disabled as the result of a run-in with a superhero, which ends up being her villain origin story. Does that not sound amazing? I obviously need to read this. Maybe even twice so I can justify me being dumb and buying two.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (10th Anniversary Edition)
I am a sucker for fancy special editions, especially of books I love. So when I was browsing books on Book Depository (mostly because I’m a bit of a snob and like to compare the British covers to the US ones because sometimes they’re better), I saw this one and knew I had to get it. I actually don’t know where my original copy of The Song of Achilles is, so until I find it, I can stare at this one on my shelves.
Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim
One thing I do want to explore more of is diverse historical fiction. This one is set in Korea, which is not something I’ve read a lot of (I think the only Korean books I’ve read are horror, which are great, but obviously not the only books that exist set in Korea). Anyway, this one sounded good. I did start it earlier this month, but wasn’t feeling the audiobook, so I might pick up the hardcover to see if that works better for me. I’m just feeling a little slumpy at the moment, but I definitely want to finish this in April, because it fits the Buzzword Reading Challenge prompt for this month.
Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space by Amanda Leduc
If Hamnet is the fiction book to beat for this year, Disfigured is easily my favorite nonfiction so far. This book is so, so good. I loved every second of it and filled it with tabs. It’s all about how fairy tales not only lack diversity – specifically when it comes to disability – most of them actually promote harmful stereotypes and are just generally hurtful. Leduc brings up so many points I hadn’t even considered before, and this was really illuminating and such a great read. Highly recommend.
Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century edited by Alice Wong
I picked this one up along with Disfigured and Hench because I am looking to read more books with disability representation, and have heard great things. This is a collection of stories by people with disabilities that are geared towards encouraging understanding and acceptance. So many people, including myself live with disabilities, many of which are invisible. Having a disability (or disabilities) is hard enough, we don’t need other people making it more difficult with their lack of empathy and understanding. I’m very excited to read this book and hear stories from other people because the experiences of disabled people vary so widely, and it’s important to understand that, too.
I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya
I read this book at the beginning of February as one of the books towards my goal of reading more books by trans or nonbinary authors this year. And I loved it! It’s a very short memoir about Vivek Shraya’s experience growing up and being bullied for being too feminine and developing a fear of men. I’m not trans, so this is definitely an experience very different from my own, but I found this book very interesting and just a lovely read. I actually enjoyed the writing so much, I went out an purchased two more Vivek Shraya books:
People Change by Vivek Shraya
This is just marketed as a little guidebook into embracing changes within ourselves. Whether it’s deciding to improve our mental health or getting a new haircut or coming out as transgender, people change. And it shouldn’t be something that’s scary, because it’s usually a good thing. I have changed a lot over the past few years, and I think it’s great. I am a much nicer and happier person now. And I just feel like this is going to be an interesting read.
Next Time There’s a Pandemic by Vivek Shraya
This is all about Vivek Shraya’s experience coming out of lockdown and hearing seemingly everyone else talk about how they learned a language or worked out every day or did all these amazing things while stuck at home. All while Shraya sat at home and basically did nothing. Which is very relatable (I did try to learn Norwegian, though, so attempts were made, but I mostly played Animal Crossing). This is all about what she wishes she would have done, especially knowing what we know now.
The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos by Judy Batalion
A while back I read We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter and was fascinated by the true story of one family, many of whom worked in the resistance in Poland during WWII. I was particularly interested to see just how many women played a large role in subverting the Nazis. Which is basically what this book is about, so obviously, I had to pick it up.
Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer L. Eberhardt
Over the past couple of years, I’ve been reading a lot of antiracism literature. Mostly in an attempt to become a better antiracist, and I have genuinely learned a lot. I’ve heard some great things about this book, so I immediately added it to my list. I was pleasantly surprised to see how short it is when it came in the mail. I am planning on including this in my reading for Nonfiction November, and I’m looking forward to seeing what this book has to teach me.
We Are Displaced by Malala Yousafzai
We all know Malala, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has read her book, I Am Malala about how she fought for girls being able to attend school and was shot in the head by the Taliban. She obviously survived, and now she’s back with a new book sharing stories of other people who were displaced from their homelands for whatever reason. This was one book I instantly picked up, because I love the idea of a book filled with a collection of refugee stories. I just think those are important stories to tell. Hopefully I get around to reading this one soon, but I know it’s going to upset me, so I’m waiting until the rest of my life is slightly less stressful so I can at least get out of bed after reading this.
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
This year, I am determined to finally read more Octavia Butler. I read Kindred a couple years ago and was completely blown away. I am hoping to get to this one in April, but I’m already very behind, so keep your fingers crossed for me.
The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear by Kate Moore
In case you didn’t already know (or couldn’t tell from this list), I am a huge history nerd. I actually do have a degree in history, and love learning about the untold stories. Lately, I’ve been trying to learn more specifically about the women in history that were largely ignored. I saw this one in the bookstore for half off, and couldn’t put it down, so it ended up coming home with me. It’s about Elizabeth Packard, who in the 1860s was committed to an insane asylum by a husband who was threatened by her intelligence. I am sure she wasn’t the only woman to face that fate, and it’s definitely a story worth reading. This one is pretty chunky, though, so I have no idea when I’ll get around to it, but I am glad it’s now on my shelves waiting for me.
The Sentence by Louise Erdrich
This one is probably not surprising since it’s on my reading list for 2022, I just decided to finally pick up a copy. It’s about a bookstore that is being haunted by the ghost of their most annoying customer. Which sounds amazing, and I’m excited to read it. It is currently in my bag to bring to work for lunchtime reading, so hopefully I get around to it very soon.
We are finally done! Thank you for making it all the way to the end of this post! I hope you enjoyed it. Which of these books do you think I should definitely read soon?
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