2022 Top Reads

Not necessarily released in 2022, but, of the books I read or listened to during the year, these are the ones I particularly enjoyed.

Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout
Lauren Redniss
WOW! Amazing story and presentation. Science history and biography of Marie Curie. Well told and love love LOVE her use of words and images and color.

Draw Your Weapons
Sarah Sentilles
Interwoven strands of memoir, history, literature, theology – examining the personal and political, responses to violence, and how art might re/make the world.

Rise: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now
Jeff Yang, Phil Yu, Philip Wang
Essays, interviews, graphic essays from a wide variety of contributors, organized by decade. Great tour – in some cases reminders of things, in others an introduction/jumping off point to things I missed the first time around.

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking
T. Kingfisher
Being able to make bread rise and gingerbread men dance is seen as “minor” magic, but it’s still enough to get 14-year old Mona targeted for extermination along with the other wizards and magic folk in her city. An adventure story that also explores topics of prejudice and scapegoating, believing in yourself and making the best of your abilities, but not in a preachy way. And don’t mess with the sourdough starter!

this is not a book about benedict cumberbatch
tabitha carvan
It is, as the subtitle sums up: The Joy of Loving Something–Anything–Like Your Life Depends On It. Both an exploration of a specific fandom, and allowing oneself (particularly as a woman of a certain age) to feel passionate about something.

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman
Lindy West
Listened to this as an audiobook, read by the author, which was great! Memoir of her experiences with misogyny – particularly in comedy – and fat shaming. Very real, and raw, no BS.

Erosion: Essays of Undoing
Terry Tempest Williams
Another one I listened to that was read by the author! Great writing, and very passionate about her subjects – it’s collection of essays about various undoings/changes – the death of their dog, her brother’s suicide, climate change, loss of public lands – which sounds pretty depressing, and, yes, it’s not light subject matter, but the essays are about bearing witness, and being with the terrible things that happen in the world, and how that is also somehow hopeful.

Let Me Be Frank: A Book About Women Who Dressed Like Men to Do Shit They Weren’t Supposed to Do
Tracy Dawson
The subtitle pretty much sums it up here too. Some of the women profiled I had heard of, but many were new to me. Yay to learn new things, but also how am I only hearing these stories now?!

Activities of Daily Living
Lisa Hsiao Chen
Interwoven stories about creativity/working on projects, the life of the narrator, the life of Tehching Hsieh and his 1980s performance art pieces, being an immigrant, the passage of time, the narrator’s (step)father’s aging/dementia, and death. A lot of perhaps totally unrelated seeming subjects, but somehow it all fits together – I suppose something like life…

On Tyranny Graphic Edition: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
Timothy Snyder, illustrated by Nora Krug
A guide for resisting the authoritarian trends in the USA in the Twenty-First Century, based on the rise of fascism, Nazism and communism in the Twentieth Century.

Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights
Karen Blumenthal
History of birth control and abortion, and then the Roe v. Wade case itself, as well as post Roe decisions. Lots of information I did not know. Very clear/well-written, interesting sidebars, glossary, timeline (geez, wasn’t that long ago..), list of Supreme Court cases on Abortion and Reproductive Rights. Also extensive Bibliography and notes. Unfortunately we’re now into the post Roe world.

Secret to Superhuman Strength
Alison Bechdel
Another fantastic graphic memoir from Alison Bechdel, this one about her lifelong fascination with exercise. It explores not just the fitness fads that have ebbed and flowed over the past sixty years, but other approaches to and struggles with self-improvement.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
Sherman Alexie
Short stories about reservation life/being an American Indian. Somewhat interlocked, as far as having a recurring characters and locations. A new prologue for the 20th anniversary edition, plus family pictures at the back. Really engaging writing, and the stories – the importance of stories… what we tell ourselves and how we do it.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org and will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Wonder Woman Electric to the Rescue: Memoir, Essays and Short Stories by a Trailblazing Tradeswoman
Molly Martin
Again, what the subtitle says! Her personal experiences of working in the trades, being a feminist and labor activist, coming out/being lesbian. In some ways not that long ago, and in some ways very different, but/and/also in some ways things haven’t really changed.

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