2022 reading journal

reading goal: 25 books - at least 5 non-fiction books

reading reality: 22 books - 3 non-fiction

if a single book spans more than one month of reading, it is catagorized in the month I finished it. I am doing away with ratings this year.


Cover of The Midnight Library.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig


book club pick

heard a bit of the adaptation on BBC radio 4 last year, picked it back up for book club. a good new year's pick and an engaging read. reached me at a good time for this kind of message.

the discussion surrounding depression is complex, and I don't think this book is interested in that kind of complexity. but I do think it offers an accesible way of conceptualizing how much both our choices and our perspective can shape our lives.

additionally—I just started a creative writing program, and this book is a great introduction to structuring chapters. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the chapters are all titled (gosh do I miss chapter titles) and though they are short, many of them end on cliffhanger or moment of suspense. it is easy for chapters to feel somewhat arbitrary, or just representative of a change in time/place. Matt Haig's chapters end with anticipation for the next. it seems simple, but this is the real art of the page-turner.


Cover of There's No Such Thing As An Easy Job

There's No Such Thing As An Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura translated by Polly Barton


started in may 2021 and was enjoying it, but reading slowly; didn't finish before my loan had to go back to the library. picked it back up in january. finally finished it in february!

as you might have guessed from how long it took me to finish, this book didn't have a firm grasp on me. but as the jobs took our protagonist into increasingly absurd situations, I became increasingly interested. how interesting something appears stems from how much attention we pay to it. our protagonist, being who she is, can't help but get overly involved, and so even the most seemingly mundane jobs can become strange and wonderful adventures.

Cover of The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett


book club pick

read this in fits and starts, never disappearing into it. an enjoyable, complex read. it builds layers of complexity as we go, watching the twins grow up, then their girls. and that's how life goes, starting off simple even when it's hard, then getting complicated even when it's good.


Cover of Braiding Sweetgrass.

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer


book club pick

thanks to sarah, I am reading another science book. one a year seems like a reasonable number! but for real, this book appeals to my sensibilities as a storyteller and does what I think all great books do: gives me a new lens through which to look at the world. a lens which can sharpen our focus on gratitude, reciprocity, and empathy.


Cover of The Hobbit.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien


book club pick

after three book club picks that dealt with some heavy stuff (suicidal ideation, racism and colourism, the lingering impacts of colonialism), we have opted for a lighter read. so off I go, into a land of hobbits, dwarves, trolls, dragons, and adventure.

the mixed reaction to this book in our club meeting was amusing. I enjoyed it, for superficial reasons, and that's pretty much exactly what I was hoping for in this month's pick.


Cover of Persuasion.

Persuasion by Jane Austen


book club pick

A re-read of my favourite Jane Austen novel thus far (having read Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, and half of Pride and Prejudice).

Cover of Her Body and Other Parties

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado


I am on a mission to read and write more short stories this year. there is a vein of fantasy, sensuality, and horror running through Machado's work that I find totally delicious.


Cover of Trick Mirror

Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino


book club pick

essays about internet culture, modern life, and the lies which distort our view of our lives.


Cover of Good Riddance

Good Riddance by Elinor Lipman


cute, contemporary rom-com involving a much-annotated yearbook, a nosy documentarian, and a charming next door neighbour. sweet.

Cover of All Flesh is Grass

Doctor Who: All Flesh is Grass by Una McCormack


in true wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey fashion, I picked up this novel at the library on a whim along with a couple other Doctor Who books, only to realize that is part of the big transmedia Time Lord Victorious storyline, and the second novel to boot. lol. anyway, you've got the Tenth Doctor trying to defeat death, the Eighth Doctor paired up with Daleks, and the Ninth Doctor in league with vampires. also an Ood assassin.

this made me want to go back to the Fourth Doctor/Sarah Jane novel I was writing.

Cover of The Future for Curious People

The Future for Curious People by Gregory Sherl


on the shelf, next to Robin Sloan's novel Sourdough (which I read in 2020 and loved), was this book with a charming title and intruiging summary: "What if you could know your romantic future? What if an envisionist could enter the name of your prospective mate into a computer that would show you a film of your future life together?"

friends, I was so thoroughly charmed by this book 💚 this is a book that believes in true love. not naively, but earnestly. it is quirky and whimsical and though I know it was just a coincidence of surname, it absolutely belongs on a shelf next to Sourdough.

Cover of Magic for Liars

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey (narrated by Xe Sands)


recommended by E

I listened to this audiobook on a recommendation from my brother, and it, uh, surprised me. the pitch is solid: a non-magical private investigator is called in to investigate a gruesome murder at the magical academy where her sister teaches. but the actual unraveling of that mystery takes us to some dark places. like, this book takes trauma seriously.

it's a slight spoiler to say—but this is not a book interested in giving you a happy ending. but I guess...when did a P.I. ever get a happy ending?


Cover of The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan


book club pick

a book I hadn't read since grade six. it holds up! the pace is great, the characters are well drawn, the imagining of the gods to suit the 21st century is probably part of the reason I grew up to love American Gods.


Cover of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows


book club pick

I have a fondness for epistolary novels. this was no exception. some of the discussion in book club surrounded whether or not we enjoy stories where most of the primary action is related to you after the fact. I love this mode of storytelling. thumbs up from me.


Cover of I'm Glad My Mom Died

I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy


I am the right age to have grown up watching Jennette on screen. she's not that much older than me. even setting aside the various pressures of being a child performer, re-evaluating your childhood and your relationship with your parents once you become an adult can be deeply painful and complicated. but you have to own your story.

Cover of Sea of Monsters

Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan


second in the Percy Jackson series. since we read the first in book club, I thought I'd continue. Sea of Monsters does a good job continuing the story, raising the stakes, and introducing new elements. not sure I'll continue the series, but it's still an enjoyable one.


Cover of Stardust

Stardust by Neil Gaiman


book club pick

haven't read this one in years; great to revisit it. made me want to revisit the film. I love both for different reasons. the story of the film is a bit more conventional, some of the nuances ironed out, but does have a humour and romantic charm all its own. but I love those nuances in the book. I love how the witch simply fades into an old woman, I love Una's royal haughtiness, I love Yvaine's harshness and loneliness. I love the ending.


Cover of A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens


book club pick

book club 2022 coasted to an easy finish with this Christmas classic, still a pleasure to read after 180 years.

Cover of The Ex Hex

The Ex Hex by Erin Stirling (narrated by Caitlin Davies)


selected on a whim when I needed to clean the house. a breezy, magical, sexy sort of read. thoroughly enjoyable.

Cover of Milk Fed

Milk Fed by Melissa Broder (narrated by the author)


recommended by tumblr

an endorsement from Carmen Maria Machado is good enough for me. I challenged myself this year to write about pleasure, and found it dizzingly complicated. I'm interested in why and how we deny and allow ourselves pleasure, something explored in this book through food and sexuality. content warning for some fairly intense disordered eating stuff. Rachel's obsessive food tracking in the first few chapters was comforting and upsetting in equal measure, intense and all-consuming in a way I'm only too familiar with.

Cover of Beautiful World, Where Are You

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney


my first Salley Rooney novel (I read her short story "Mr Salary" just a couple weeks previously). has me thinking about narrative distance. very, very unlike my style of writing. compelling. took me a long time to finish, but the last third particularly brought things together in a satisfying way.

Cover of I'm Thinking of Ending Things

I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid


had the pleasure of hearing Iain Reid speak to my creative writing program. watched the trailer for the film and then decided I wanted to read the book first.

“Every story is made up. Even the real ones.”

yeah, you're gonna want to read this one twice. there's a reason Kaufman did the film adaptation.

Cover of Twilight

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer


book club pick

I read the Twilight books back in high school so I could be well-informed in my criticism of them. I see why people enjoy these books. just not my thing!

Cover of Savage Season

Hap and Leonard: Savage Season by Joe R Lansdale


book club pick

this book has everything: sex, guns, the n-word. it's got that noir tone that reads smooth and objectifies women. this book knows what it is, and I know it's not for me. but made for a fascinating book club discussion.