Top Ten Tuesday #401

Hi everyone! Happy New Year, I hope the start to the year has been treating you well. My end of 2022 was a little chaotic, what with a 23 hour flight back from Melbourne over Thursday and Friday of last week, but I did have a very nice New Year’s Eve. I went to the matinee performance of Newsies at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre, which was absolutely FANTASTIC. It’s on until April, so if you’re in London and you have a chance to see it, I highly recommend going, the cast are phenomenal, the dancing is out of this world and the in-the-round staging is really cool. I’d seen the filmed Broadway version on Disney+ so it was cool to get to see the live version in London and see how they had made it their own. I had a very quiet evening in bringing in the New Year, just me, a slightly too large plate of party food and the TV, but I’ve never really been one for a big fuss on New Year’s so that worked out great for me.

Anyway, today’s TTT, as always courtesy of Jana from That Artsy Reader Girl, is another Top Ten Tuesday annual classic: our Favourite Books Of 2022. I have to admit, I didn’t read as much in 2022 as I would have liked, so this is going to be a slightly shorter list than usual, as I only read 20 books last year, I decided to do a Top 8 rather than a Top 10 for you all, as I wanted the list to truly reflect my absolute favourites and not just add on two more books to make up the numbers. So here we go, my Top Eight Books Of 2022:

  1. Know My Name-Chanel Miller-5 stars

My only five star read of the year was actually one I read way back in February, so I didn’t have to wait till the absolute end of the year for a five star read this time. Know My Name is one I’d been meaning to read for ages but kept putting off because I knew I would find the subject matter challenging (Miller is the woman who was raped by Brock Turner on Stanford University’s campus back in 2015). I’m so glad I finally read it though, it was an incredibly powerful memoir and it was so great to listen to Chanel’s story in her own words and hear her reclaim her story and identity in such a strong way. It wasn’t always an easy read, but it definitely felt like an incredibly necessary one.

2. Looking For Jane-Heather Marshall-4 stars

This book hit me hard in so many places, it certainly wasn’t an easy read given the subject matter (forced adoption and maternity home abuses in the 1960s and the underground abortion network in Canada in the 70s and 80s) but it was an incredibly timely and necessary one, and was so well done. I absolutely loved the characters Evelyn and Nancy and felt for them so much the whole way through the book, they were so well drawn and you were just rooting for them to succeed. The only thing that slightly let the book down for me was Angela’s parts, which didn’t seem to fit for a lot of the story and she seemed like more of a device to bring Evelyn and Nancy back together in the present day than a well drawn character in her own right, I think without her parts, the book may have been a 5 star read for me. This is one that I’ve been recommending to my friends and family because I thought it was just so well done, and I learned so much about a part of history I definitely wasn’t familiar enough with.

3. The Diamond Eye-Kate Quinn-4 stars

Kate Quinn does it again, is it a surprise to anyone that her most recent release made my top books of 2022? I fell absolutely in love with Lyudmila Pavlichenko, she was such a fascinating woman, it sucks that so many brilliant women throughout history have not been highlighted as much as they should have been! I did find it a bit of a book of two halves, the parts with Mila on the Eastern Front during the war were much stronger than the US tour sections for me, otherwise I think this might have been a five star read. Saskia Maarleveld once again hit it out of the park for me with her narration, I swear, the fastest way to get me to listen to any audiobook now is to see that she is the narrator!

4. The Librarian Spy-Madeline Martin-4 stars

After enjoying The Last Bookshop In London last year, Martin’s newest release was high on my radar for this year and I’m happy to say that I enjoyed this one even more. I loved the main characters Ava and Elaine so much and Martin created such a vivid picture of 1940s Lisbon and Lyon that it felt like you were there. The emotional impact of this book was also huge as the characters, especially Elaine go through so much and it was impossible not to feel for her, and be utterly in awe of her resilience as she kept fighting for the Resistance through all of her painful personal losses. I’m so excited for Martin’s new book next year as it sounds like another incredible one: this one about the Nazi occupation of Poland.

5. Talking As Fast As I Can-Lauren Graham-4 stars

I’ve been saying I was going to read this one for years, and I finally got around to it this year. It was exactly what I needed at the time: as you can see from my list of favourites up to now, it’s been quite a heavy reading year, so a light, fun read was just the ticket for me after a string of wonderful but quite heavy reads! I loved listening to Graham’s stories of her life as an actress and as a Gilmore Girls fan, it was a treat to hear the stories from the set.

6. Dog Days: A Year In The Life of Olive and Mabel-Andrew Cotter-4 stars

I started off 2022 on a fun note, listening to yet more exploits of Andrew Cotter’s Labradors, Olive and Mabel. This one was basically a diary of the year following Olive and Mabel becoming unexpected lockdown superstars and as with his first book, it was an incredibly funny, engaging and quick read and just what I needed to start the year off right.

7. Fix The System, Not The Women-Laura Bates-4 stars

Whilst I didn’t find this one quite as good as her previous book, Men Who Hate Women, it was still an interesting, insightful read about the systemic problems which lead to misogynistic violence, and definitely one that I think a lot of our leaders could use reading before they suggest that things like increased street lighting and undercover police in clubs are going to do anything to change the systemic issues that are causing violence against women and girls. I did feel like though it was interesting, it didn’t necessarily tell me anything I didn’t already know, I feel like this book is honestly something men need to read more than women really to understand the true extent of systemic misogyny that women have to face on a daily basis! But it was still a good read, and I look forward to seeing what Laura Bates puts out next.

8. The Mad Girls of New York-Maya Rodale-3.5 stars

Based on the true story of reporter Nellie Bly and her undercover stint in Blackwell’s Insane Asylum in the 1880s, this was an enjoyable read about a fascinating woman. If you’ve not heard of Nellie Bly or her work, I would highly recommend this book, Nellie was an absolute powerhouse of a woman and she really made this book for me and her story really doesn’t require all that much fictionalising, much of the detail in the novel is taken from Nellie’s own work. I did find it a little slow in places, hence the slightly lower rating, but all in all I really enjoyed the book and hope that Rodale writes more about Nellie in the future.

So there we go, my Favourite Books of 2022! My entire list this year was either historical fiction or non-fiction which doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, given that’s where my reading interests mostly lay this year. I think historical has probably overtaken fantasy as my favourite genre at this point, and I’m going with it since I’ve read so many great books and I’m still really enjoying them. What were your favourite books in 2022? Have you read any of mine? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back next week with another Top Ten Tuesday, it’s another annual topic, we’ll be talking our Most Anticipated Releases For The First Half of 2023. I will admit, I don’t have a huge amount of 2023 books on my radar just yet, so this could be interesting, but we’ll see how it goes! I read six out of 21 books on my most anticipated lists last year, which isn’t a huge amount, but better than previous years, so let’s hope for an upward trend this year. In the meantime, I’ve still got a couple of 2022 reviews to get up, so I’m hoping those will be coming your way over the next week or so.

104 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday #401

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