Before writers ever put pen to paper, they fall in love with stories by reading. Although I definitely think of myself as a writer, I’m a reader first and foremost. And everything I read shape the stories I write. So let’s have a look at what I filled my head with this year.
(PS: If any of these books interest you, please consider using my affiliate links. They won’t cost you any extra, but I will get a small commission to fuel my book-reading habit. Thanks!)
Books on Writing and Marketing
I’ll always try and up my writing skills, but I’ve made a deliberate decision to read less about writing and to write more instead. Intuitive Editing turned out to be a fantastic read, and I would highly recommend it to any writers out there, no matter where you’re at in your writing journey. The Negative Trait Thesaurus is also a pretty handy resource. I was incredibly excited to learn more about writing short stories, but unfortunately Taking the Short Tack, although great if you’re fresh into writing, didn’t teach me anything new.
Other Non-Fiction Books
This year, I challenged myself again to read 12 non-fiction books. Some of them were fairly disappointing, while others were absolutely fantastic.
I loved Jane Austen’s World, a gorgeous coffee table book that managed to give just enough information about the Regency period to entertain rather than bore. Likewise, The Great-Scientists in Bite-Sized Chunks was a short and succinct overview of the most important scientific minds since people had time to think about things (and it even sparked one of my favourite flash fiction stories this year) and if classic world exploration is more your thing, The Book of Marvels was just as delightful. If you’re a tree hugger like me, then you should definitely get your hands on a copy of Into the Forest as well! For Tolkien fans, The Song of Middle-Earth gives some great insights into the themes of his beloved tales. And lastly, Simon Reeve’s memoir, Step by Step, was just riveting.
Books that were Okay
Meh. Most of these books were fine, but just not enough to get me excited. I liked the short stories in the Sticky Fingers 2 collection, but the endings of most of them fell flat for me and left me unsatisfied, unfortunately. And although I really like Neil Gaiman the writer, I just don’t care much for his stories. Likewise, all the other books in this group fell short of my expectations in one way or another. I’m sure there are people who loved them, but they just weren’t for me.
Books that I Liked
If you enjoy literary Gothic or atmospheric books then Pandora and The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock won’t disappoint. I actually also quite enjoyed The Great Gatsby (although I think the movie was better – I know, sacrilege!). However, my favourites in this category are hands-down A Darker Shade of Magic and Rivers of London, both of which are series starters but can be read as standalones. One day I might take them up on that promise.
Books that I Loved
It’s not often that this category contains the most books! I discovered JA Andrews this year and went on a little reading binge: I actually started with her epic fantasy prequel series, The Keeper Origins, and was hooked from the start. Then I moved on to her first fantasy series, The Keeper Chronicles, and I loved them just as much, and then I ended off the year with her Christmassy short story, The Candlelight Gifts.
After many years of them moving up my TBR pile, I finally also read The Winternight Trilogy, fantasy based on Russian mythology. It started off very slow for me, and I nearly put the first book down after an arranged marriage, but I’m so glad I persevered! The series as a whole was amazing, and I really want my own Solovey!
But my absolute favourite books this year were The Witch’s Heart (a feminist retelling of Norse mythology from a lesser known character), The Keeper of Lost Things (so cosy and feel-good), and Ninth House (gritty and dark and delicious!), with book of the year going to The House in the Cerulean Sea (cosy and feel-good, but with fantasy and myths – what more could a girl want?!). You should read all of them!
You can also have a look at 2021’s books here.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? What was your favourite book of 2022? Do you have any recommendations for books I should read in 2023?