One of my goals for 2022 was to be better at picking up – and actually reading – the new releases I’m interested in. For the past couple of years, I have been collecting new releases and not actually reading them (my reading plans for this year include quite a lot of books that were released in 2021 because they are still sitting on my shelves, unread). I really want to change that this year. Partly because I obviously have a platform for talking about and promoting good new books (and warning you away from the bad ones). And partly because I feel like I lose motivation to read many of these books as they get collect dust on my shelves and I kind of forget about them. I also don’t want to feel like I have to keep playing catch-up on the previous year’s books every single year. So I’m trying to be better about actually reading them when they come out, while still having a good balance of new releases and backlist books.
I have a list of probably like sixty or seventy new releases that are on my radar for this year. Clearly, I will not be reading all of those. So I did just spend some time looking through the list and trying to decide which ones I want to prioritize and really try to read in 2022. I came up with seven books 2022 releases that I’m the most excited or curious about to put at the top of my list for this year. This post is mostly to guilt me into actually reading them, but I thought it might be fun to talk about them anyway. So here are the new releases at the top of my list this year:
Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
I loved Station Eleven when I read it years ago. It’s one of the books that really got me back into reading right around when I was starting this blog. So I always thought of Emily St. John Mandel as an author I’d really like. Last year, I read The Glass Hotel and didn’t really like it all that much. I didn’t hate it, but it was kind of meh. Looking back, I think I might have been a little generous with my three-star rating, because it feels like a two-star book in my brain now.
Either way, I did want to give Emily St. John Mandel another shot, because I loved Station Eleven so much. Maybe she’s one of those authors who I only read certain books by, just the ones that sound good to me. And Sea of Tranquility is definitely giving me Station Eleven vibes, so this might be the one. It’s something about art, love, and the plague (definitely Station Eleven, right?) and takes us from Vancouver Island in 1912 to a moon colony three-hundred years later. And it’s still somehow only like two-hundred and fifty pages. Hopefully it’s going to be as good as it sounds.
You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi
Akwaeke Emezi is another author who I follow closely, despite the fact I’ve only read one of their books. Freshwater completely blew me away, and I need more (don’t worry, The Death of Vivek Oki is on my list this year as well – hopefully it’s happening before the end of April, so keep your fingers crossed). I’ll be completely honest here: what pushed me over the edge into preordering this one was the title. It’s a lyric from a Florence + The Machine song, and I can’t help sing it in my head every time I see this book.
But also, I just loved Akwaeke Emezi’s writing and style in Freshwater, and this book seems so different than both Freshwater and The Death of Vivek Oji and I’m really curious to see where she takes it. Just based of the synopses of her books, this one seems like the one I’ll like the least out of the three, but I feel like she’ll take it somewhere good. So I definitely want to give it a try. And since I already bought it, I might as well read it this year instead of having it sit on my shelves forever, right?
The Maid by Nita Prose
The hype for this one has already kind of died down, but I feel like this book was everywhere when it was released back in January. It’s about a hotel maid who is on the spectrum and also really loves her job because she gets to be so neat and orderly. But all that is kind of thrown into chaos when she finds one of the hotel guests dead in his room.
It sounds like a fun thriller. I like that we have a neurodivergent main character. But I also think this is the kind of book that I’ll probably forget about and then never read if I don’t get to it soon. I’m kind of going through a quirky thriller phase, so maybe I’ll attempt to read it soon.
Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin
I hadn’t even hear of this author before I came across this book. And the title – combined with a very interesting cover – immediately caught my eye. Once I read the synopsis, this was immediately on my to-read list. It’s a post-apocalyptic dystopian novel, which I really don’t read much of anymore. But this one is a little bit unique in that it follows trans men and women as they struggle to survive… by hunting feral men and harvesting their organs, all while avoiding the murderous TERFs.
Tell me this doesn’t just sound like a really fun horror novel? One of my goals this year was to read more books by trans and nonbinary authors (or with trans/nonbinary characters) and this one definitely fits the bill, and I can’t wait.
Hide by Kiersten White
We are not going to talk about the fact that I own four Kiersten White books and have yet to read any of them. Or that the book I am actually planning to read is not one of those four books (I don’t think this one is out until the end of May). But for some reason this one is the one that’s speaking to me right now (I did purchase the other four books back when I was buying basically any book everyone else was talking about, even though I wasn’t particularly interested).
This book is a thriller involving a game, which isn’t something I read a ton of, but I do have fun when I occasionally pick one up. This one has some sort of supernatural element (which I’m not super sure about, but it could be fun) and is basically high-stakes hide-and-seek set in an abandoned amusement park. I think the reason that interests me is because it’s reminding me a little bit of Zombieland, and I think it’ll be fun to read a book that’s maybe a little bit similar. I might save this for October – when I read all the spooky things – so I’m curious to read more reviews once they start coming out.
The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness by Meghan O’Rourke
This one is a very recent addition to my reading list, but I immediately picked it up after reading the synopsis. It kind of reminded me of Disfigured by Amanda Leduc, which I read last month and absolutely loved. Both of them are about health issues, but have a little bit of memoir thrown in. And while Disfigured is about disability representation in fairy tales, this one is obviously more about chronic illness. As someone who has a chronic illness that is also a disability, this obviously speaks to me.
This book has also been getting excellent reviews, so I’m very excited to add this to my nonfiction reading this year. The synopsis says this book gives hope to chronic illness sufferers and also talks about how people with chronic illnesses, and especially women and people of color, are treated by the healthcare system (from personal experience, it’s shockingly bad and easily the worst part of being chronically ill for a lot of people, including myself). Definitely reading this one!
There are still a lot of other books coming out this year that I really want to get to, but I think I’m pretty happy with the list I was able to narrow it down to. Are there any 2022 releases you’d really like to see me read this year? Which ones are you most excited to read?
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