Nov. & Dec. 2022 Reading Recap

I’m not sure if I will do a separate full year reflection post, but I am proud of the fact that I stuck with these monthly reading recaps for 2022. I had never blogged very consistently before this year. I quickly realized that the reading recaps took quite a bit of time, which meant time away from the thing I love, reading. I was committed to writing them to track my progress toward 100 books read in one year! I ended the year with 110 books read.

I finished 3 books each month in November and December. I didn’t have any 5 star reads either month. It felt kind of like a quiet/sad way to end my reading year for 2022. Fortunately, things picked up in January 2023 and I have enjoyed several great books in early 2023.

The Edge of Winter by Luanne Rice

This book was on my radar since 2020 when I started working on my goal to read a book set in every US state. The book takes place in Rhode Island and the natural landscape is important to the book. Of all the books I read in November, this was probably my favorite. The themes were similar to many Elin Hilderbrand novels: family drama, relationships, a little bit of a mystery. Some of the main characters are high school students so the book felt a little bit like Young Adult at times. One other interesting part of the storyline of this book was birding.

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

I listened to this book on audio and I’m glad that I did because it was LONG, 512 pages in print. It took me a while to get hooked on the story and I almost gave up a few times early on. I’m glad I kept reading because the characters were interesting. I was a little surprised that I enjoyed the baseball parts of the book. The writing reminded me a little bit of Wallace Stegner’s Crossing to Safety. Overall, I have mixed feelings about this book. Hopefully not too much of a spoiler, one of the main characters has an affair with a high level university administrator. I was uncomfortable with the implications of this affair. The power dynamics were inappropriate and I felt like the author writes this affair as true love.

The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger

In a month where I only read three books, it is funny that two of them feature school as an important part of the book. I had The Gifted School on my radar since it was published in 2019. I finally read the book quickly over two days in November. The quick reading pace was not an indication of adoring the book. I nearly stopped reading several times. I generally don’t like books told from multiple perspectives and I had not realized The Gifted School was that format. I also usually struggle with unlikeable characters and almost everyone in this book was a bad person.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Mystery and horror are not my genres of choice, but this was a book club selection so I persevered and finished this slim volume. Considering the book is only 252 pages, it took me a while to get through it because I never became invested in the characters. It seemed like an unreliable narrator so I was apprehensive while reading. Our book club was originally meant to read this around Halloween in the spooky season. I think the rest of our book group enjoyed this book more than I did.

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

Continuing my off-season spooky reads, I finally read this YA book from my shelves. I heard that the storyline was based on William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, transported to 1920’s flapper era and set in Shanghai, China. While I really enjoyed the premise, I felt like the pacing was off and the book moved way too slowly. 

Migrations: a novel by Charlotte McConaghy

The final book I read in 2022 was basically a case of mistaken identity. I had a memory of a friend who had a book with a similar cover to the cool blue icebergs on the cover of Migrations. It turns out the book I was remembering is Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez. I thought that Migrations was a book of nature writing. It was actually more of a mystery/post-apocalyptic novel. Another unreliable narrator and it was a trifecta of mediocre books for December!

The day I finished reading Migrations, I resolved my cover confusion dilemma and purchased a copy of Arctic Dreams from my favorite independent bookstore. I’m reading it now and love the descriptive writing about the beauty in nature.

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