Sunday, January 1, 2023

In angulo cum libello... (2022 Reading Wrapup)

"In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nunquam inveni, nisi in angulo cum libello."  (I looked for quiet everywhere and never found it, except in a corner with a book.) 
-Thomas à Kempis


How can I ever find any quiet when you keep chasing me around with that flashy thing?

2022 Year in Review

Last Book of the Old Year: Tony Hillerman's Hunting Badger. The 14th in Hillerman's series of Navajo police procedurals. A reread for me, one of the best in the series. And all the detectives! Joe Leaphorn, Jim Chee, and Bernie Manuelito.

First Book of the New Year: Brigitta Olubas' Shirley Hazzard: A Writing Life. At least that's what I'm reading today and I expect it will be the first book completed of the new year unless some mystery slips in. Likely to lead to the second and third books being Shirley Hazzard rereads. (The Transit of Venus, The Great Fire).

Number of Mystery and Spy Novels Read in 2022: 20. Gardner, Stout, Hillerman (father and daughter both), Ambler, MacInnes, Van Dine, Allingham, some others, and closing out the year with Wentworth for Dean Street December.

Number of Rereads: 32 

Percentage of Books from the Toronto Public Library: 37%

Best Way to Boost Those Numbers Read: I went on graphic novel binge in the spring. A Five Books interview listed the first Ms. Marvel graphic novel by G. Willow Wilson as one of the best South Asian-American novels, and I'd read and liked another from that Five Books list. The first half-dozen or so were all pretty good; the later ones seemed to be trying too hard to tie into the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which I know nothing about. I then went on to read her Cairo--very good, I thought--and her Air series, good, but not as good. Then a bunch of other graphic novels until I burned out on those for a bit.

Short (70 pages or so) volumes of poetry are also good number-boosters, too, even if I don't typically read them in one sitting.


Number of Chunksters in 2022: 15. This included S. A. Chakraborty's Daevabad Trilogy, (chunksters all and pretty good!) plus some other fantasy tomes. There were even a few bricks that got posts.

Best Chunkster-y Classic That Should Have Gotten a Post, but Didn't: Alain-René Lesage's Gil Blas. It wasn't on my Classics Club list, and I'd already written a Spain book post for my European Reading Challenge. But it was pretty fun. Which brings up...

Challenges: What have become my normal two: European Reading Challenge and Back to the Classics. And I completed them both! Plus some other classics from my Classics Club list.

European Country I Visited (via books) that I Most Wish I Visited for Other Reasons than Why I Did: the Ukraine, of course. Four novels by Andrey Kurkov, including Grey Bees, his most recently translated, and the one I might very well have thought the best, but didn't post about. Then I tooled around the rest of the Black Sea countries for a bit as well.

European Country I Visited (in person): Spain. Yay! Traveling again!

Other New Releases I Liked a Lot: (although I'm not much of a new release reader...) Magnificent Rebels by Andrea Wulf, The Strudlhof Steps by Heimito von Doderer, and from some of those short poetry books: My Hollywood and Other Poems by Boris Dralyuk (also translator of Grey Bees), and Hail, The Invisible Watchman by Alexandra Oliver.

One New Release I Was Disappointed By: The Candy House by Jennifer Egan. I was quite looking forward to this, too. It made several best of the year lists I've noticed, but I was unimpressed. (Sequels!) And after I'd reread A Visit From the Goon Squad in preparation, which I found equally good on rereading.

And One New Release European Chunkster by a Nobel Prize Winner That I Got a Copy Of and Will Read Soon (Honest!) But Haven't Yet: The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk. I mean it. Really I do!

Total Number of Books in 2022: 164. I'm pretty chuffed about that number. I'm usually north of 100, but that's a personal best, even if it does include 20 or 25 graphic novels. Woo-hoo!

Happy New Year to all! How was your reading year? What are your plans for the new year?


  1. I love how you broke down your year in reading in this post. 164 books is awesome! And I hope you get to do more real traveling in 2023. Happy New Year! :D

    1. Thanks! We've already started thinking about trips...

  2. Wow! 164! That's amazing! I can hardly speak. I particularly love that Thomas à Kempis quote. I must write it down. I'm going to try to boost my total this year by reading some children's books. At least I think I am. I still can't get over how many books you read. Just wow!

    1. It also helps to be retired... ;-)

      I didn't look up the quote in an actual book and I don't know if it comes from Imitation of Christ or one of his other books. The Internets sometimes says libello and sometimes libro. I went with libello on the basis of lectio difficilior...

  3. A nice total, well done, and I hope you have a lovely 2023 of reading!