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Get ready to fill those “Want to Read” shelves on Goodreads with these 10 best books of 2022.
This selection includes all of 2022’s most anticipated books, including historical fiction, romance, science-fiction, as well as some memoirs and poetry. There are some very exciting titles lining up, both new releases by big-name writers — Hanya Yanagihara, Patrick Radden Keefe, and Elena Ferrante to name a few — and debut novels by authors sure to become fan favorites.
We’ll be updating this list as 2022 goes along as new books are released and additional titles are announced, so stay tuned! These are the best books of 2022 (so far), with something for fans of every style and genre.
Best Books of 2022:
1. To Paradise, Hanya Yanagihara
After the heart-wrenching A Little Life, Hawaiian author Hanya Yanagihara returns to the literary scene with another highly emotional novel.
This extraordinary work is divided into three distinct sections set 100 years apart in alternate versions of America. The book is one part historical fiction set in 1893, part present-day chronicle set in 1993, and part futuristic, dystopian sci-fi story in 2093.
Tracing three touching narratives across these timelines, To Paradise tells the tale of multiple characters who find connection through the space of a townhouse in Washington Square Park, New York City. Those of you who consumed Yanagihara’s most celebrated work will not be shocked to know that this book is interested in grief and suffering more than happiness and thrill. Yet, this is also a book full of magnificently painted scenes and profound connection — and despite all its painful turns, one that upholds an unshakable hope for the possibility of love.
Release date: January 11
2. Rogues, Patrick Radden Keefe
Journalist Patrick Radden Keefe has collected prizes ranging from the Orwell Prize to the National Book Critics Circle Award for his meticulously reported, engaging work. And let’s not forget the 2021 Goodreads Choice Award for his absolute masterpiece Empire of Pain. After calling out the Sackler family and the Troubles in Ireland, the decorated journalist now turns to scammers.
In his latest nonfiction work, Keefe investigates all the ways that people behave badly, bringing together twelve notorious and enthralling examples. You get to learn the difficulties of forging wine; meet a whistleblower who exposed money laundering at a famous Swiss bank; spend time in Vietnam with Anthony Bourdain; get a closer look at a death penalty attorney who defends the worst criminal minds of our time.
As Keefe says in his preface, these stories “reflect on some of my abiding preoccupations: crime and corruption, secrets and lies, the permeable membrane separating licit and illicit worlds, the bonds of family, and the power of denial”
Release date: June 28
3. Violeta, Isabel Allende
Bestselling Chilean American author Isabel Allende returns with historical fiction of epic proportions.
This transportive novel tells the story of Violeta del Valle, a woman whose life spans 100 years and that has therefore witnessed the greatest disorders of the twentieth century. She remembers it all: the aftershocks of the Great War, the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression. The Women’s Rights Movements, the rise and fall of dictators, and ultimately not one, but two terrifying pandemics.
Violeta recounts her story evoking times of overwhelming heartbreak and passionate love affairs, poverty and prosperity, horrific loss, and enormous joy. And through the eyes of a strong woman whose determination, and unexpected sense of humor carry her through an era of emotional rollercoasters, Isabel Allende brings a whole new perspective to our troubled times.
This will be one of the best books of 2022.
Release date: January 25
4. Manifesto: On Never Giving Up, Bernardine Evaristo
Bestselling fiction author Bernardine Evaristo makes a remarkable nonfiction debut with her memoir, Manifesto: On Never Giving Up.
With her typical wit and humor, Evaristo describes her childhood as one of eight siblings. Daughter of a white Catholic mother and Nigerian father, Evaristo soon grow up to support Britain’s first Black women’s theatre company and write books that were nonexistent in the literary world around her. An in-depth meditation on her life as a Black woman, writer, and activist, Manifesto also provides a new point of view to contemporary conversations around feminism, race, class, sexuality, gender, and aging.
In the end, Manifesto is an inimitable reminder to us all to persist in doing work we profoundly believe in and keep on pushing even especially when we feel overlooked or ignored.
Release date: January 18
5. How High We Go in the Dark, Sequoia Nagamatsu
Another pandemic roams the earth. Yet this time it’s 2030, and the new plague is unleashed by melting Arctic ice.
While suffering, fear, and destruction span the planet, several stories are told as humanity tries to plan new ways of living in the face of tragedy – whether it’s by seeking a cure, embarking on an interstellar mission to locate a new home planet, or finally finding the time to fall in love. A prophetic warning of an all-too-plausible future and a testament to human creativity in the face of disaster, Nagamatsu’s impressive, poignant debut novel reveals the arrival of a brilliant new voice in science fiction.
Release date: January 18
6. Fiona and Jane, Jean Chen Ho
Set across evocative settings in Los Angeles, Taiwan, and New York, Jean Chen Ho’s debut novel explores the complex depth of female friendship.
Bonded by their shared experience of coming of age in immigrant families, Fiona and Jane’s friendship is tested over the years by distance, secrets, and romantic relationships. Yet, as we get to know through shifting perspectives, Fiona and Jane are constant presences in each other’s lives as they experience heartache, desire, and the challenges of our world.
While an intimate portrait of friendship, the novel also tackles themes around sexuality, social class, family history, mental health, and Asian American identity. Jean Chen Ho’s writing is sharp and evocative, suffused with humor, wit, and a hint of sadness. On top of all that, she writes about California with a specificity that is both very interesting and unknown in fiction.
A brilliant and compelling debut novel from a very talented writer that definitely deserves a spot on every ‘best books of 2022’ list.
Release date: January 4
7. In the Margins: On the Pleasures of Reading and Writing, Elena Ferrante
Arguably Italy’s most praised contemporary writer, Elena Ferrante — author of the adored Neapolitan Novels, The Lost Daughter, and The Lying Life of Adults — offers a rare glimpse into her life and writing process.
Though the true identity of the author stills remains unknown, nosey fans can now learn more about Ferrante’s influences and battles from the genius herself. She writes about her development as both a reader and a writer, her latest considerations on modern literature, and her appreciation for talents like Emily Dickinson, Ingeborg Bachmann, and Gertrude Stein. The most emotional passages deal with the intricate legacy of women writers, a topic that Elena Ferrante no doubt knows personally.
As per usual, her voice is passionate and her mind is able to take every thought forward to its most deep-seated nuances.
Release date: March 15
8. Time Is a Mother, Ocean Vuong
Ocean Vuong, a 2019 MacArthur “genius” grant recipient, plumbs the depths of personal loss with his second volume of poetry collection, Time is a Mother.
Written after the death of Vuong’s mother, this volume depicts with both courage and vulnerability the struggle to come to terms with this terrible event. Stories of personal loss are masterfully woven into memories that touch difficult subjects — family, addiction, war, racism, death. As is On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, Vuong gracefully traverses these themes while experimenting with form creating a work of rare beauty. His voice is tender, sensitive, and tinted by the occasional touch of cynical wit.
Yet, despite its obvious technical talent, the most outstanding characteristic of Vuong’s writing is his hopeful, hauntingly beautiful heart in the face of life’s cruelties.
Release date: April 5
9.The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan
Debut author Jessamine Chan’s sci-fi story blends parental anxiety and surveillance obsession into a sinister dystopian nightmare. Jessamine Chan’s novel—like all truly frightening nightmares —starts off in an ordinary, recognizable way: an extremely exhausted mother, in a moment of sleep-deprived misery, makes a terrible yet understandable mistake while caring for her daughter.
In the future where the story is set, the government monitors all new mothers and reprimand even the slightest mistakes. Frida Liu finds herself in the worst possible situation when she’s separated from her child and sent to a government reform program known as the School for Good Mothers. While the custody of her daughters remains uncertain, Frida must prove at all costs that she can be redeemed.
Release date: January 4
10. Olga Dies Dreaming, Xochitl Gonzalez
Xochitl Gonzalez provides a vigorous dose of tough love with her debut novel Olga Dies Dreaming.
The novel dives into the complex family history of Olga and Prieto Acevedo, a pair of adult Nuyorican siblings living in New York. Prieto is a lawmaker on the rise and Olga is a high-profile wedding planner to Manhattan’s elite. One day, their perfect lives are turned upside down when their estranged, activist mother Blanca returns to the gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood where they grew up. With their mother back in town, Olga and Prieto must revisit their family’s traumas in order to create a new healthy path for their future.
Gonzalez’s story is one of many women seeking happiness, career, and love at the same time, but also amounts to a chronicle of the American Dream, with moments of raw honesty and humor throughout.
Release date: January 4
What’s your favorite 2022 book on this list? Which are, in your opinion, the best books of 2022?
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