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 River – Diane 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!