Best Fiction: The Fifth Annual Karissa Reads Books Literary Awards

Hello and Welcome Back to the final installment of the Fifth Annual Karissa Reads Books Literary Awards! Undoubtedly, most of what I read is fiction so this final category is the Big One. I have my top 5 below but some other titles I greatly enjoyed reading in the past year are (in no particular order):

Once Upon a RiverDiane Setterfield (Bond Street Books, 2018)

When We Lost Our Heads – Heather O’Neill (Harper Collins Publishers, 2022)

Nicholas Nickleby – Charles Dickens (Everyman’s Library)

Normal People – Sally Rooney (Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2018)

The Sentence – Louise Erdrich (Harper, 2021)

Beautiful World, Where Are You? – Sally Rooney

Astra – Cedar Bowers (McClelland & Stewart, 2021)

And my Top 5:

Our Missing Hearts – Celeste Ng (Penguin Random House, 2022)

This novel set in a not impossible future rings true and relevant in so many ways. Ng tackles the very real issue of anti-Asian racism and she does it in the way she’s tackled other topics on her previous books. By focusing on family, on mother-child relationships in a way that feels so honest and real.

Books of Jacob – Olga Tokarczuk (Riverhead Books, 2022)

I’ve already raved about The Books of Jacob when I awarded it Best Translation for the year but it also functioned as one of the best books I read this year and one I keep thinking about. I’m glad Tokarczuk won the Nobel Prize simply because I imagine it convinced her publishers and editors to allow her the leeway to publish this massive, complex, and wonderful novel.

The Eighth Life – Nino Haratischvili (Scribe, 2019)

That’s right, I’m choosing 2 translated books over 900 pages in my top 5 reads. And even though I awarded Tokarczuk the best Translated Book, I’m choosing Haratischvili’s novel as just a hair more enjoyable. While The Books of Jacob was more focused on an entire society and the unique formatting of the book itself, The Eight Life focused in on one family and the characters within it and for this reason I found it an easier and more engaging book to sink into.

Circe – Madeline Miller (Little Brown and Company, 2018)

There have been a lot of re-tellings of Greek history and mythology in recent years and I’ve enjoyed several of them. But Circe really is the standout. There is a passage at the end of the book about life and the choices we make and if the book was nothing but those pages, I think I would still set it here at number 2.

Burntcoat – Sarah Hall (Faber & Faber, 2021)

I plucked this off the shelf at the library, having never heard of it before, and was absolutely blown away by the beauty of Sarah Hall’s writing. I haven’t written a review of the book because I still don’t quite know what to say about it. It’s a. book about art, about love, about human nature. It’s a book about a pandemic that is not quite ours but very, very close, and it’s a book about the years after a pandemic and what is lost in a society that has experienced such a thing.

Have you read any of my favourites? Tell me your very favourite book of 2022!

9 thoughts on “Best Fiction: The Fifth Annual Karissa Reads Books Literary Awards”

    1. Do it! I think you would like it. I got through it in two weeks by focusing on reading only this book and making sure I read a certain page count every day.

  1. I really liked Madeline Miller’s Song of Achilles, though I know part of that was the audiobook narrator was AMAZING. Like, seriously immersive. I loved it.

    I’m glad you enjoyed The Sentence so much, as that one is on my TBR. I think I’ll add it to my list of books to read with Biscuit.

    And I’m always happy to see Charles Dickens on a list! However, I have not read Nicholas Nickleby, so I’ll have to re-read your review.

    1. Song of Achilles was really good! But I liked Circe as a character even more.

      The Sentence would be a good book club pick, I think. Especially for an inter-generational perspective.

      I do love Dickens. There are still several of his I haven’t read, which is sort of delightful because I know I’ll enjoy them when I get to them.

  2. everyone seems to just rave about Circe, I really do feel like I’m missing out by not having read it! I enjoyed many of your favourites here, some of them I don’t remember very well like the Diane Setterfield, but I think I enjoyed that one too. It’s so fun to go back and review the highlights of our reading 🙂

    1. I wonder if it was your review of the Setterfield book that first inspired me to add it to my TBR?

      I’m not overly interested in Greek mythology but Miller’s writing is so beautiful and you really don’t have to know anything about her characters prior.

  3. I’ve only read two of these–Astra and The Sentence–neither of which are in your top 5! But I have just added a couple to my list, thanks to you! 🙂

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