2022 Year in Books

By Terri M. Butler

31 December 2022

Here comes my annual post about the books I’ve read throughout the year. 2022’s list is a bit different. I lost an election in May, got covid in June & had a lot of time at home this year, so I had much more time to read comics than in previous years. So I’m starting this year’s list with comics and going from there.

Bitter Root, Brown/Walker/Greene/Dodgson/Cowles: the Sangerye family tries to fight and/or heal people who have become monsters born of trauma, pain, racism, and hate, based in the Harlem Renaissance, and drawing on the events of the Tulsa Race Massacre. In addition to the comments each of the trades includes a series of essays about horror noire, black speculative arts, generational trauma, creative resistance, and related topics. A friend put me onto this. Strongly recommend.
I re-read X-Factor, the entire Peter David run from vol 1 to vol 21, from the mid-2000s. I read these when they came out, buying them at the comic shop an Annerley regularly. Love the art, love the writing. Probably my favourite comics run. I also read David’s precursor mini series Madrox: Multiple Choice (good), and Multiple Man: It All Makes Sense in the End by Matthew Rosenberg (didn’t love).
I re-read a fair bit of Brian K Vaughan’s run on Runaways, which is like comic book comfort food.
I read pretty much every comic in the whole Hickman era X-Men run. Love Krakoa. Still, glad they had Kurt feeling icky about their ‘resurrections’.
I read various other comics, most of which I had read before, including the Whedon run on Astonishing X-Men (problematic, has not aged well), Days of Future Past (a classic), Deadly Genesis, House of M, Messiah CompleX (which I had not read before), the Deadpool storyline about the Mithras from the 90s (which I read at the time, bought them at the shopping centre at Vincent when they were still in newsagents, shout out to any Townsville comics fans) the whole Civil War crossover, and quite a few of the post-Hickman books.
I read at least eight Terry Pratchett books this year. Very fun to revisit the ones I had read before, and to read some more.
My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Ottessa Moshfegh: really enjoyed it. Not sure about the ending. Not to everyone's tastes.
The Dry, Jane Harper: I picked this up after enjoying some other Australian noir books (Chris Hammer's series). Good crime fiction set in Australia. Love the water/fire ideas in Australian noir including in this book.
Perfect Pitch: 100 pieces of classical music, Tim Bouverie: very short essays on ‘classical’ music that the author likes, written during lockdowns & restrictions. Fascinating vignettes about composers’ lives, plus inspiration to revisit pieces or listen to unfamiliar ones.
The Origins of Totalitarianism: a classic read, highly relevant. A dense text covering a lot of ground about anti-semitism, Hitler & Stalin, and the societal conditions that preceded their rise. I’ve read parts before but this is the first time I’ve read the whole work. I thought it would be a good precursor to reading Van Badham’s book, QAnon & On, which is first on my list for 2023.
Ain’t I a woman, bell hooks: a classic, good to read it shortly after the de Beauvoir, to get a critical but still feminist perspective.
Adults in the room, Yanis Varoufakis: so wide-ranging, so detailed, so angry, so enjoyable.
Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, Roland Barthes. I love his writing. This is a good book for anyone who wants to think about photography and meaning.
Girl walks out of a bar, Lisa F. Smith: who doesn’t love a sobriety memoir?
The Social Association, Mel Kettle: such a helpful book.
The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir: again, a book from which I have previously read excerpts, but it was my first time reading the whole thing. Still uncomfortable reading.
Ecrits, a selection, Jacques Lacan: Lacan had come up in conversation a lot in 2021 and I wanted to go back and read some of the primary material. Worth it.
A Woman’s Work, Harriet Harman. This had been a gift, and I finally read it over last summer. Loved it so much.
The Audacity to Win, Plouffe. A nice read if you’re interested in how American campaigns worked back then.
That’s it. Thanks to everyone who has been in touch this year. Happy New Year & happy reading.