12.16.22 The No Judgment 2022 List of Books

All sorts of outlets publish “best of” or “favorite” lists of books this year, and as someone who had a book come out this year it’s not awesome to find your book hasn’t made those lists. But also, it’s not really a competition: I published Tune in Tomorrow this year in August, and it takes time for people to read it, it was from an independent (if well-respected) publisher, and everyone has their own tastes!

So rather than do a “favorites” of the year, I’m going to share with you the full list of all books I completed in 2022. It averages out to about two a month, and considering everything else I’ve been working on — short stories, novel revises — I’d say that’s a  decent-sized list.

I loved some of these more than others, but for the most part every book on this list was fascinating and well-done. I can heartily recommend that they’re all good books for someone you know — maybe even you.

So here’s my 2022 list of books, no judgments included! (Asterisk: Not all that I picked up may be included; I could have forgotten something.) Be sure to post your own recommendations in the comments below!

The No-Judgment Book List, 2022

Big Girl, Meg Elison
Short fiction with a bite and a strong point of view.

All Systems Red (Murderbot Chronicles 1), Martha Wells
A robot that’s an explorer and a defender who also loves soap operas.

The Blade Between, Sam J. Miller
Spooky goings-on in small-town upstate New York, where rot has set in.

Dava Shastri’s Last Day, Kirthana Ramisetti
The final days of a powerhouse matriarch, and how her secrets unfold.

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land
Non-fiction that underscores how hard it is to get out of the abyss of being poor.

Hex, Thomas Olde Heuvelt
More spooky goings-on in upstate New York, told with an unflinchingly dark eye.

The Snow Child, Eowyn Ivey
Beautiful, haunting magical realism, with a fox.

Blackwater, Michael McDowell
Six novellas put under one roof: The epic story of a southern family with a swamp monster in charge.

The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron
Breezy high fantasy with a sense of humor and a living wink of a thief.

The Middling Affliction by Alex Shvartsman
Some folks have magic, some can only use it … and some may actually be gods.

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi
People. Portal. Monsters. Chaos erupts and that’s when the fun begins.

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
A girl stops eating and her small Irish town thinks she’s divine. But it’s not so simple.

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Multiple points of view tell the story of a teen who’s died … so is one of them responsible?

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
A sprawling, very long tale of magical realism and connection between two people who’ve never met. Lots of cooking scenes.

A Sinister Quartet by Mike Allen, C.S.E. Cooney, Jessica Wick, Amanda J. McGee
Four novellas/novels by four dark fantasy experts who fashion wild worlds with words.

The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich
Pulitzer Prize-winning story of Native Americans trying to save their tribe in the 20th Century, without losing their souls.

Get Carter by Ted Lewis
Dark, vicious, dated and definitely not PC, a hitman comes back home to settle scores.

Number One Fan by Meg Elison
Famous author kidnapped by hack writer who wants to steal her ideas, and her soul.

The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz
Out in 2023; I read an ARC. A handful of young female authors are invited to a retreat run by a famous scribe who turns dark and deadly.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
A society girl shows her mettle while trying to save her cousin from a poisonous family, and house.

The Fairy’s Tale by F.D. Lee
Bea’s a fairy who just wants to control the story, but humans keep getting in her way.

What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher
A retelling of The Fall of the House of Usher with a scientific spin and a clever spin on gender.

Hooked by A.C. Wise
Captain Hook has his own horrifying story of Neverland, and needs Wendy to help him break free.

Outside by Gustavio Bondoni
Half of humanity moved to the stars; the rest put themselves into a permanent cyberspace. When they reunite, things do not go as planned.

Esprit de Corpse by Ef Deal
Sisters: One’s a mechanical genius, one’s a part-time wolf. Together, they’re gonna figure out why people are using spirits to animate robots, so help them!

The Extra by Megan Walker and Janci Patterson
Gabby’s a twentysomething who’s Jack (Jane?) of all trades, master of none. But acting as an extra on a soap opera and reconnecting with an old crush could turn all of that around.

The Stone Serpent by Nicholas Kaufmann
Dr. Laura Powell escaped zombifying mushrooms in The Hungry Earth, only to face down snakes whose bite will petrify you! Life near Sakima, New York is never boring.

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor
With a strong homage to Stephen King (a character named Halloran?!), this murder mystery is nearly police-free, but led and investigated by best friends as children and adults.

Wicked Wonders by Ellen Klages
Short stories that are both heartfelt and have satisfying turns and roundabouts (if not twists), most with a speculative element.

OK, what did I miss? Let me know in the comments what books you loved this year, and what books I should be reading in 2023 … I’ve got stacks of TBR piles, but you never know!

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  1. Ef Deal on 12/16/22 at 3:09 pm

    Hoping I get enough Amazon gift cards to buy some of these!