With the year almost over, it is time for book lovers to revisit their reading lists. Whether you intend to indulge in reading more, or you just want to entertain yourself, there’s always a novel for your situation. Let’s introduce a caveat. 2022, like every year, has had its share of new publications across genres. Finding the right novel to read can be a task, therefore. Let’s help your cause with a thoughtfully curated list of the best novels to read in 2022. The point is to help you do away with the monotony of life and fulfill your literary hunger.
Top 10 Novels to Read in 2022
1. Detransition, Baby
Debut novel of Torrey Peters, Detransition is an amazing storyline giving you a peek into the world of gender fluidity, transgenders, and everything that defines it. The novel is all about a detransitioned man who ends up impregnating his boss who is a cis female. Unable to understand the situation, he approaches his ex-girlfriend with the proposal to help him in raising the child. Guess what, the ex is a transgender female who desperately wishes to be a mother.
The storyline is appealing and mind-numbing, making you empathize with each character as they experience turmoil and mental suffering. This progressive novel forces the reader to come to terms with the uncomfortable facets of life regarding family and gender. Also, it explores how the so-called third gender suffers in lack of rights and social acceptance, and how it impacts humanity at large. The intricate, compelling plot and presentation make Detransition one of the best books to read in 2022.
2. White Feminism: From the Suffragettes to Influencers and Who they leave behind
Former Vogue executive-editor, Koa Beck explores the historical relevance of gender-based rights with detailed analysis from the National Organisation for Women to other such activist organizations. The novel points out the fact that all such organizations were formed to support the privileged under the pretense of a front that will champion the cause of every oppressed being – be it females, transgenders, or other such groups.
She focuses on the evil front that not just created a so-called revolutionary idea but gave it a negative turn, handing it over to capitalist fronts and manipulating the oppressed to act as vagrants. Per the author, the organizations maintain an insidious pretense that just humiliates the very identity and existence of the oppressed.
This hoax of femininity and rights gave way to extremist ideas and created a culture to prey on the already oppressed. Beck’s book brings to light these obvious and manipulative campaigns that tore apart the idea of inclusivity. The focus is on telling how humanity should learn from this and make way for a wholesome environment while uprooting the current ideas of mainstream feminism. White Feminism is a must-read for those who wish to educate themselves about capitalism, mainstream feminism, and its impact.
Penned by Nuala O’Connor, this fictional storyline surrounds Nora Barnacle Joyce, just like her previous female characters, Emily Dickinson and Belle Bilton. Nora is perfect for James Joyce who sees her as a muse. The book elaborates on the unhealthy love that Nora holds for ‘Jim as they both move from country to country. The storyline explores Joyce’s uselessness as a lover and his toxic traits, such as obsession and filthiness.
The main character lives in a cloud of gloom and slowly explores the person she loves. She, unlike her partner, fosters pure love that is not dependent on her needs but hangs on her shoulders like a responsibility. Nora Is a hidden and invisible wallflower that blooms as the story progresses. For the reader, she evolves into something more than a wife or mother. As one of the best novels to read, Nora knits an intricate, dependent relationship set in gloom and an unsatisfactory life seeking meaning. The storyline pulls readers in as it unfurls more of the main character, making the novel a must-read.
The debut novel of Nadia Owusu, Aftershocks is a memoir focusing on the ripple effect of a natural calamity. It revolves around the author’s struggle in a suffocating culture and the painful, untimely demise of her father. The book focuses on societal pressure thrust upon the protagonist as the daughter of a UN official, and her troubled relationship with her mother that eventually fell through with her father’s death.
The author describes her troubled childhood and how her stepmother went through hardships to raise her. The book knits a spectacular tale of an abandoned existence as it fights for its being suffering from the aftershocks of a life-changing event. The author weaves nostalgia and pain into her words and readers feel like they are reliving the torment of an abandoned child whose whole entity is doused in turmoil and struggle. The exceptional characterization and twists in the plot make it one of the best novels to read.
5. Let Me Tell You What I Mean
Penned by Joan Didion, this small book encompasses a collection of essays that Didion wrote in the 1960s for various reputed newspapers like the Saturday Evening Post, The New York Times, and the New Yorker. These essays are filled with her staple writing styles that brutally force readers to come face to face with twists and turns in a heartless and rhythmic manner.
Didion takes the readers on a journey through the 60s, detailing incidents in an eye-opening manner. As such, it’s almost impossible to keep the book down. This unique book is a must-read for people who love reading non-fiction or wish to relive the past. Her writing style makes her small stories and essays seem palatable, covered in nostalgia as she explains incidents of her life.
6. Milk Fed
A compelling fiction by Melissa Broder, Milk Fed knits a world of passion and turmoil. It encompasses a character struggling with eating disorders and her unhealthy obsession with weight. The book contains everything from love, to obsession and even frozen yoghurt. Based in Los Angeles, the novel follows two women and their undeniable passion for each other.
Other than erotic scenes, the author has weaved a complex web of turmoil as the main character fights with herself and questions her sanity. This book is not for the weak-hearted as it leaves behind an aftertaste of anxiousness. It compels the reader to look into the complexities of eating disorders and how individuals suffer through the journey to overcome them.
By Chang Rae Lee, this fictional storyline follows the protagonist’s travels from one place to another, moving into a completely new country. He comes into contact with a woman and her kid who seemingly have had a rough past. The storyline revolves around a series of varied heart-wrenching moments that create a sense of sympathy for the protagonist as he lives in an alien atmosphere slowly finding comfort and a sense of belonging.
The book is neither a romance novel nor just a journey. It is an amalgamation of various genres like non-fiction, satire, and romance to build a world that slowly grows on you with each word. As the turmoil and journey of characters slowly unfurl, a sense of comfort and belongingness grows within the reader. The protagonist settles ‘abroad’ until the sense of alienation forces him to shift to the comfort of home. The book is undeniably unique, expertly written to capture the sympathy of even the heartless of people.
8. We Run The Tides
“We Run the Tides” is an effort of Vendela Vida. Think of it as a coming-of-age mystery book revolving around two young girls who have fallen out after being best friends for a long time. As their falling out progresses into a bullying movement, the protagonist is tormented by the bullies and her former friend until all communication recedes and the relationship almost breaks. However, the storyline escalates with the missing of the best friend and the protagonist is thrown into a whirlwind of chaos.
Based in San Francisco during the 80s, the story explores various facets of childhood, how young friendships slowly erode over trivial matters, and how the whole idea of innocence also fades away. Most importantly, the storyline presents how the whole idea of exploring someone with time seems futile. No matter how close we are to a person, preempting his/her behavior is simply impossible. What makes “We Run the Tides” one of the best novels to read is the plot that takes us into the world of children and how it slowly corrodes them crack by crack until they are just a hollow shell of their innocent selves.
9. Gay Bar
Written by Jeremy Atherton Lin, this heartwrenching novel depicts the gay bar culture and the lack of safe queer spaces. The author takes readers on a journey into his youth days and the nightlife of the LGBTQ+ community, as they found comfortable environments to explore themselves as individuals and to grow together as a community. He explains the loss of queer spaces because of the pandemic and empathy of the government.
The author mourns the loss of culture while elaborating on the historical significance of these ‘gay bars’. With increasing police violence, gentrification, and other factors, the community has suffered. And, the author rightly focuses on the lack of such spaces as they were the safety net around the community allowing the members to interact freely. It is one of the best novels to read for those interested in the culture and history of the LGBTQ+ communities.
10. Tom Stoppard: A Life
Authored by Hermoine Lee, the book depicts the journey of legendary playwright Tom Stoppard. With Leopoldstadt, the wartime-refuge-turned playwright announced the end of his writing career. The play suffered huge losses because of the pandemic and turned out to be the last full-length work of his career. Hermoine Lee refers to his tumultuous love life fleetingly and focuses more on explaining each of his plays. The author skillfully dissects his work and life from an outsider’s point of view while being attached to his identity.
The author’s understanding and unique description of the plays make for a compelling and nostalgic read. Lee has written about Stoppard’s work in a remarkable way to make each piece stand out as a remarkable achievement in his career. She also explores his personal life only to a certain extent and slowly brings to life a character who is not just a renowned playwright but also an author reliving his experiences while penning impactful stories. If you love plays, “Tom Stoppard” is among the best books of all time in its genre.
Best Novels to Read: Honorary Mentions
Other than the above-mentioned options, you can also explore other best novels to read. This includes Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro, Love like that by Emma Duffy, The Fourth Child by Jessica Winter, and Mona: A Novel by Pola Oloixarac.
Books are like the perfect window to peek into the life and its journey through an outsider perspective, allowing you to dip your toes into exciting and gloomy life stories. So, these were the 10 best novels to read in 2022. If you are unable to determine your favorite genre, feel free to experiment with various genres and zero in on what appeals to you the most.
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