Top 10 books of 2022
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This was the year I found myself ready to challenge myself as a reader again, after so many years all I wanted was comfort food. I greatly enjoyed the narrative that confronted me: with my personal failures in friendship, with my own unease, and with new ways of thinking about art. The 10 books I loved the most this year aren’t DifficultExactly – or at least they aren’t All Difficult. But they all worked at the peak of their intellect, spoke in a slew of difficult, even solitary voices, and rewarded attentive reading with access to minds quite different from mine.
[You can also read Slate book critic Laura Miller’s top 10 list here.]
By Sarah Thankam Matthews. Viking.
The heroine of this first novel is a twenty-something queer American Indian living alone in Milwaukee, working a menial corporate job that eats away at the young soul she has left. With thorny and nostalgic maneuvers, Sneha weaves her way through good and bad friends, good and bad lovers, and parents she can never understand–and who she will never understand. Leaves understand it. Can society save her, or will she find a way to screw that up too? nominated for the National Book Award, All this could be different is a gritty portrait of the fragility and solidarity of the late Obama era, fueled by a narrator who demands our respect and rejects our pity.
By James O’Reilly. Little Brown.
A lively family memoir of growing up without a mother in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. Syams and his tithe? ten!The siblings make their way through the ’90s and beyond, supported by a father quietly unwilling to let the family fall apart. It sounds like it should be sly, but O’Reilly’s fiercely observant comic voice undercuts the drama. What a burden it was on Mother’s Day, he notes, with teachers and neighbors “bobbing around me like I was a sad little gingerbread mine.”