The past 12 months have been incredibly liberating in terms of my reading material. From Dec 2015 to Dec 2021, I read nothing but books I could recommend to my students. Since leaving the school library/classroom and moving into the world of academia, I decided to read only that which got me super excited. Don’t get me wrong, during my 6 years of reading YA books, I discovered some of my favourite authors, but there was something freeing about no longer being tied to YA books only. Thinking about this and how my reading habits have changed in the past year has made me more interested in research around reading identity and reading privilege. Perhaps I will write more about that at another time. In the meantime, I thought I’d share a bit more about how my reading has changed and why I think it has. I’m also going to include a list of my favourite books from 2022!
Firstly, I want to acknowledge that reading for pleasure and reading academically is a difficult thing to balance. I have always acknowledged this and empathized with my students when they struggled with this. There have been times over the past 14 months where the last thing I wanted to do was sit down and read a book. I even failed to finish my Goodreads goal of 52 books in 2022 – the first time this has happened since starting to track my reading goals in 2016. I was a little ashamed of my failure at first, but a reality check helped me to see that this goal was just a number, and that just because I hadn’t met it, didn’t mean I hadn’t enjoyed my time reading throughout the year. I think I ended up reading about 44 books in 2022, so definitely not something to scoff at, but it wasn’t what I’d planned. This year, I’ve changed my goal to 30 books in 2023, knowing that I’ve got a big year ahead of me. I guess the point I’m making here is that some reading is better than nothing; a point that I think most people, young and old, must make their peace with too.
In 2022 I read a lot of adult fiction; specifically romance novels. Many of my recommendations came from BookTok and bookstores with displays based on BookTok recommendations. I have mixed feelings about this, which perhaps I’ll write more on at a later date, but it certainly has provided me with some great reads throughout the year (and some terrible ones that I finished anyway because I was still sucked into the story despite the terrible writing). At first, I was embarrassed by reading romance novels. There is so much stigma around this type of fiction, but as the year progressed and most people reacted kindly or with interest to what I was reading, I got more and more confident in telling people about what I was reading. I remember having a similar experience when I first started exclusively reading YA and with time and practice, I got more confident in expressing why I read and enjoyed YA. I assume the same will be true as I read more romance novels.
So, what were my top five books from 2022?
1. Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Top book of 2022 for me has to be Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon. My Goodreads review:
This book. THIS BOOK! I have NEVER read a book that describes my experience with depression quite like this one. Honestly, Solomon put into words feelings I couldn’t identify, let alone discuss. I cried multiple times. This book is perfect. I have nothing more to say.
2. Book Lovers by Emily Henry
I read three of Emily Henry’s books in 2022, and this one was definitely my favourite. I thought the characters in Book Lovers had the most depth out of all her books, and I enjoyed the relationship between the sisters.
3. Digging Up Dirt by Pamela Hart
Digging Up Dirt by Pamela Hart was such a pleasant surprise for me this year. It’s an Australian murder mystery and I picked it up on a whim at my local library. My Goodreads review:
Read in a day. Easy to read, un-put-downable. I liked the main character and the behind the scenes look at the way tv magic happens. The mystery is clever, with lots of potential suspects.
4. The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake
This book was such a surprise. I’d place this in the New Adult category – fantasy with mystery and a little spice mixed in. My Goodreads review describes it as “clever, dark and twisty” and I stand by this!
5. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson is a YA novel and I loved it. I chose to read it because even though it’s YA, it’s all over socials and I can see why! A clever murder mystery with likeable characters.
2022 Book Stats
In looking through my list of read books on 2022, I noticed that I have read:
- 16 YA novels = 36% of books read
- 21 romance novels = 48% of books read
- 6 adult fantasy novels = 14% of books read
- 1 adult murder mystery novel = 2% of books read
Average star rating for 2022 was 3.5 stars out of 5 stars. I’m fairly strict with my ratings, and I think this is on par with previous years. For me, a 3 star rating means it was a “good” book so an average of 3.5 stars is pretty good for a year’s worth of reading!
Overall, I really enjoyed what I read throughout 2022. I’m proud of branching out and exploring new genres. I’m proud of keeping up with my reading for pleasure alongside a significant increase in academic reading. Here’s hoping I can continue this throughout 2023 too!