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Favorite Fiction Books of 2022

Jan 17, 2023

I don’t often have a favorite favorite, but this year I do:

Horse:  A Novel by Geraldine Brooks. This book tells the beautiful story of an extraordinary relationship between a famous racehorse and his groom, a slave, before, during, and after the Civil War. That story is juxtaposed against a modern-day story of a paleontologist and a journalist who saves a remarkable painting of that horse from a neighbor’s trash heap. The three stories come together, providing insights and drama on multiple levels. I absolutely loved this book.

And below are the others, in no particular order. There are a few themes in these books. Many are about topics that normally wouldn’t interest me, but the stories and the characters are so compelling that it doesn’t matter. And I’ve also been enjoying books about women in history that played an important role, yet we haven’t heard of them.  It’s about time we did.

The Personal Librarian, by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher, is the story of the remarkable woman largely responsible for curating the prominent collection that comprised Andrew Carnegie’s famous library. Belle da Costa Greene, a black American woman forced to hide her identity, becomes a fixture in New York City society and a formidable negotiator on Carnegie’s behalf. Historical fiction at its best.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. I just loved the protagonist of this book, Chemist Elizabeth Zott. In the early 1960’s, she is just not taken seriously among her mostly male counterparts.  How she fights back is such a fun story and you will be rooting for her all the way. I think a movie may be forthcoming.

Black Cake:  A Novel by Charmaine Wilkerson, is a wonderful story of family inheritance, tradition, and cake. It’s hard to believe this is a debut novel, it’s that good. And it shows up on a lot of “best of 2022” lists.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin.  This is the story of a special friendship over many years and many ups and downs, based in the world of video game design. Who knew that I would love a book about gaming?

The Engineer’s Wife:  A Novel by Tracey Enerson Wood. An amazing story of the woman responsible for the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. I’m really enjoying reading the genre of historical fiction that features women who played prominent roles for which they didn’t get credit. I wouldn’t normally read a book about engineering, and I’m so glad a good friend recommended it.

2 Memoirs that should have been on the non-fiction list but read like fiction:

Left on Tenth:  A Second Chance at Life by Delia Ephron. I alternated between laughter and tears, as I read this book. While I normally avoid sad stories, I read this because it was recommended by a friend. Ephron’s writing is so wonderfully uplifting even in its sadness.  So worthwhile.

Nowhere Girl:  A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood by Cheryl Diamond.  The woman’s life story is so hard to imagine, and so far from my own experience growing up, that I was fascinated by it. It is a constant adventure of globetrotting, a dysfunctional family in flight, and an unlikely story of survival.



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