On a plane or train, in a tent or hotel room, or simply from the comfort of my living room couch at home, I love travelling through different lives, times and worlds in the magical form of books. This year, I tracked how many books I read and rated every single one. I flipped through memoirs, fantasy, sci-fi, romance, thrillers, essays, mysteries and true crime stories. Out of 56 tomes, I only awarded five a perfect score (5/5 stars). Here are my favourite books from 2022 to add to your shelf:
1. Five Little Indians by Michelle Good
I’ve been meaning to read this book for awhile, so I was delighted when a friend lent me her copy. I felt all the emotions reading this book: happy, sad, encouraged, devastated, angry, hopeful and guilty. Living in Vancouver, I could picture many of the locations, which may have made some of the stories more impactful for me, but I believe every white Canadian would benefit from reading this book. Although it is fiction, the stories are based on real experiences of survivors of the Canadian Indian residential school system.
2. All Systems Red by Martha Wells
I never thought I’d be so entertained by the voice of a robot. Murderbot, as it calls itself, is somehow a loveable, although dangerous, protagonist. This book is funny, relatable and starts off unconventionally with this sentence: “I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then I realized I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites.” Who wouldn’t choose mind-numbing TV over the effort of slaughter? I enjoyed the second installment and will finish the series soon.
3. The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
This novel follows the lives of three very different women who worked as code breakers during the Second World War. Although it is fiction, it is based on real-life people. If you enjoy The Rose Code, I highly recommend picking up The Alice Network, another of Quinn’s historical fiction novels. That one tells the tale of admirable women fighting in a spy network against betrayal, Nazis and lies.
4. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I’d like this book. The description didn’t catch me—so I won’t expand on it here—but I gave it a chance due to its wild popularity. I ate this book like cake. It was glamorous, complicated and kept me turning pages late into the night.
5. Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover
Read by the cracking fire in Tofino, British Columbia, this book transported me to a town full of secrets and stereotypes. I enjoyed wandering through the shades of black and white. The protagonist, who was recently released from jail, is searching for her daughter. This contemporary romance had me rooting for the endgame, even if it was a tad obvious. I didn’t enjoy Hoover’s Ugly Love, but I’m going to try her splashy thriller Verity next.
Honourable Mention: BioShock: Rapture by John Shirley
Written in the hedonistic tone of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and blended with the distracted society in Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, this dystopian book takes you underwater to the world of entrepreneur Andrew Ryan, who has created his version of a utopia beneath the sea. However, all is not perfect… and soon, the cracks in the façade begin to show.
There you have it! Five of the best books to read when you’re looking for a literary escape.
I’m not going to keep track of how many books I read in 2023, although I plan to keep indulging in fantasy, fiction and non-fiction throughout the year. If you know of any books I should add to my shelf, please comment below!