My preferred metaphor for genres (and I include literary fiction here), is that they are conversations. Great long-running conversations between authors alive and dead, and also between readers and critics… As with any groups, these conversations develop their own jargon. Their own in-jokes, references, and concerns. Some books speak only to one conversation. Other books to multiple ones.
I hate subscriptions for the same reason companies love selling them: recurring expenses. However, I am a heavy fiction reader and am planning to self-publish. Both from a user standpoint and prospective author side, I wanted to try out Kindle Unlimited.
I read and write romance, which is popular on KU, so there is a large catalog to choose from. In particular, I’m interested in science fiction romance, which is poorly represented by trad publishing and primarily concentrated (currently) in self publishing. I also wanted to read a lot of self-published works to understand the market.
How much I read from KU
I tried Kindle Unlimited for two months this spring. I previously tried it for several months in 2022.
This year, over two months:
- I read 20 KU titles
- I DNF’d 11 KU titles
Last year, over five months:
- I read 38 KU titles
- I DNF’d 9 KU titles
Unite Against Book Bans
1269 ATTEMPTS TO BAN LIBRARY BOOKS IN 2022
Unite Against Book Bans is a national initiative to empower readers everywhere to stand together in the fight against censorship.
Get your fucking religion out of our public institutions.
2022 Year-End Reading Review
What I Read in 2022
I read 212 books in 2022, compared with 175 in 2021.
- All the books I read
- My 20 favorite books from the year
2022 Reads by Type
- 122 novels
- 32 novellas
- 39 non-fiction books
- 7 graphic non-fiction books
- 12 graphic novels and art books
2022 Fiction by Genre
Of the 154 novels and novellas I read, here’s the breakdown by genre:
- 141 romance
- 27 contemporary romance
- 53 sci-fi romance
- 23 fantasy + paranormal romance
- 38 historical romance
- 5 I missed when I counted and I’m not doing it again
- 2 sci-fi
- 6 fantasy
20 favorite books I read in 2022
I’ve chosen my favorite 9 novels, 5 graphic novels and art books, and 6 non-fiction books that I read during 2022. Presented in no particular order. Links lead to my reviews.
Jump to: sci-fi books | romance novels | non-fiction books | graphic novels
Most of the fiction I read is romance, with some fantasy and sci-fi thrown in. I’ve chosen favorites based on enjoyment level, as well as how memorable they’ve proven and some judgment about whether I thought they were doing interesting things.
Sci-fi and Fantasy
Two men are forced into a telepathic connection and plunged into a treacherous, unexplained quest. One is plagued by self-loathing, the other driven by duty and honor. One is an agent of chaos, the other a master of regulations. The balance between them, and the trust they grow, lets them survive and accomplish more than anyone expected they could. I also liked how it explores familial love and obligation.
This is in the same universe as Winter’s Orbit (which is quite different tonally but also recommended), but is a standalone with no character or storyline overlap. It’s on the border between romance and sci-fi, though I think falls more on the side of sci-fi with a strong romantic element because it doesn’t quite follow the usual strictures of a romance story.
Read this if you liked Murderbot or Saga.
A Spindle Splintered
This novella reimagines fairy tales as a multiverse, and follows one Sleeping Beauty jumping from her own timeline into another’s. She wishes so badly she could change her own timeline that she’s determined to give another the happily ever after they both deserve. I enjoyed the meta level of storytelling incorporated here, and exploration of the roles we play in our lives and relationships. There’s a light secondary character romance.
Read this if you enjoyed This is How You Lose the Time War or No One is Talking About This.
The intense heroine takes zero shit and bows to no man. I found this challenging to read because I kept wanting her to play nice, but ultimately she forges her own path and draws others along with her. She’s a disruptor, refusing to bow to others’ expectations or diminish herself. The magic system is both interesting and infuriating, and the way the pairings of fighters connect to their mechas is cool.
This breaks the YA mold by making the seemingly mandatory love triangle a triad 😱 And they’re all awesome. Warning: it ends on a cliffhanger.
Read this if you enjoyed Peter Darling or Hench.
Nettle & Bone
As always, T. Kingfisher’s heroine is down-to-earth and steadfast. I enjoyed the variety of magic described throughout, and the weight put on the cost of different magics. Pieces from this keep coming back to me months after I read it.
I found the beginning chapter a little confusing since it pulls a scene from midway through the book, but it quickly jumps back to a clearer start.
Read this if you enjoyed Ten Thousand Stitches or Across the Green Grass Fields or Nimona.
Online shop of photo books
The value of deep learning
Short-form content is the spark that gets you to care about something. Yet it’s long-form content (like books) that will give you deep understanding.
[Y]ou can do more when you know more.
A link between depth and intentionality: choosing what you want to learn about, pursuing answers to specific questions. Broad curiosity followed by more focused quests for greater understanding.
Ties back into my general complaint about the internet: there’s a vast sea of 101 (and even lower junk) content dotted by archipelagos of richer material.
Content marketing has become hollow signaling
I’ve always acquired books individually, without consideration for the rest of my collection; I’m intrigued by this perspective shift of personal library versus book collection as a thought experiment. I’m not sure what I would change by thinking of my books as part of a whole.
My books currently fall into a few categories:
- Art books
- Graphic novels, comic books, and zines
- Hiking and travel
- Gardening and plant / wildlife reference
- Personal growth and productivity
- Design and writing craft reference
- Assorted nonfiction
- Assorted fiction
This balance reflects what I like to read in hard copy, what I want to have handy for reference, and what isn’t available at the library so I need to buy it to read it 😉 (Another metric I’ve added for keep/discard in my thirties, after giving away dozens of indie comics: how hard it would be to replace or access elsewhere.)
A personal library can serve as:
- a store for memories… a way to rediscover and revisit ideas and feelings…
- a tool for research, which lets you encounter new ideas; and
- a source of various pleasures: entertainment, escapism, solace, beauty, inspiration, and surprise.
Sometimes I feel like I could dump a bunch of the graphic novels, which I basically never reread, but this article’s suggestion of a store for memory perhaps fits my reasoning for keeping them around.
For years my personal allocation of books was whatever fit on this bookshelf; I purged and donated books (too) aggressively. I have disappointed people who know how much I read with the paucity of my physical collection 😂
But I have been buying more books in recent years, especially during the pandemic. So I said my Collected Sandman doesn’t have to fit. Then I granted myself an allowance to store comic collections in boxes (Fables, Lucifer, Transmet, Saga). Then I let myself put my husband’s books in a box — he can get his own bookshelf 😉 Then I started to squeeze books in horizontally. All this to say… I need a second bookshelf 😂 Part of a collection is presentation and ease of access, and right now they’re packed to the gills, the divisions visually unclear because I mostly can’t fit bookends, and not very inviting to peruse or use.
Romance and Apocalypse
Tune in to our Live Stream Virtual Event with Kit Rocha to celebrate their third Mercenary Librarians novel, Dance with the Devil. They will be in conversation with Alyssa Cole and Courtney Milan to chat about all things romance!
- Community after the apocalypse — tool libraries, community gardens
- It’s about not waiting for permission, but seeing what is needed and doing something that will help — like these authors organized Romancing the Vote to raise money for Fair Fight in like 12 hours
- Hope isn’t lame — why are we all so scared we’ll be made fun of for thinking something good might happen?
- Preppers have no long-term plan — need community, can’t just stay in your commune
- Historical fiction actually isn’t that much more research than other genres
- A lot of dystopias never actually consider food production and logistics — food (especially tasty food) becomes leverage / power
- Our current food systems and supply lines are not resilient — need to grow a variety of crops as a community because no one has room to grow enough of everything
- Interesting when writing mirrors real life — writing dystopia during dystopia sucks 😂 — Alyssa was getting dx’d with ADHD at the same time (unintentionally) she was writing A Duke by Default with an ADHD lead
- Themes arise organically during writing… maybe before you’re ready to process a problem but getting started will work their way into the book
Realized that not all books are unlocked so only linked to ones currently accessible:
Marginalized Internet Communities
Virtually Amish: Preserving Community at the Internet’s Margins
The Digital Closet: How the Internet Became Straight
The Politics of Rights of Nature: Strategies for Building a More Sustainable Future
Effective Advocacy: Lessons from East Asia’s Environmentalists
Bridging Silos: Collaborating for Environmental Health and Justice in Urban Communities
Flint Fights Back: Environmental Justice and Democracy in the Flint Water Crisis
Making Futures: Marginal Notes on Innovation, Design, and Democracy
Design Justice: Community-Led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need