Taking Stock of 2022

I owe my favorite book of 2022 to the Hugo nominators who got Light from Uncommon Stars onto the finalist list, and the publishers who generously provided an electronic copy to all voters. Without those two groups of people, I would have missed out on a wonderful book and never been the wiser. The book revels in its weirdness, respects its characters, and trusts its readers to come along for the ride.

Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

The year turned out to be a good one for books in translation, with thirteen in total, if occasionally in funny directions. I didn’t plan on it, but Polish to English was the most common pairing with four: two memoirs, one historical novel, and one contemporary novel. I read two books translated from Russian into English, and they could hardly be more different: the next to last in a modern detective series, and The Brothers Karamazov. I read a book translated from Russian into German, as part of the Süddeutsche Zeitung‘s series on global metropolises. That same series led me to read a book translated from English into German. I figured that a book about Tehran by a person named Tirdad Zolghadr would have been written in Farsi, but no. I also read a book translated from German into English, though the author was born in Tbilisi and the book is all about Georgia. Eight hundred pages were simply easier in English. I read single books translated from French, ancient Greek, Norwegian, and Dutch.

I re-read four books: two by Fritz Leiber, one by Shakespeare, and one by William Gibson. This year I read seven volumes of poetry, including Macbeth as a drama in verse, and a new translation of The Odyssey. I am nearing the end of my project to read all of Seamus Heaney’s major collections, with two more to go. I read five books in German, all of them in the first half of the year. I finished up the Süddeutsche series of books concerning Munich, and I closed an odd gap in my German education by finally reading The Sorrows of Young Werther. I had hoped to mark more reading in the Süddeutsche‘s set of great novels of the 20th century by using a picture of me with a statue of Jaan Kross that I took in Tallinn this summer, but the book hasn’t grabbed me yet. Thirty-eight of the books I read this past year were written by men; 29 by women.

The Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson

Best title and author pair that my kids insisted on turning into a single phrase: Say Goodbye, Lewis Shiner. Best bits of French surrealism: The Man Who Walked Through Walls, Marcel Aymé. Best challenge to received wisdom in the theory of international relations: Before the West, Ayse Zarakol. Best new look at medieval Europe’s place in the world: Medieval Ethiopian Kingship, Craft and Diplomacy with Latin Europe, Verena Krebs. Best look at superheroes and their consequences: Hench, Natalie Zina Walschots. Best homage to Saturday mornings: Meddling Kids, Edgar Cantero. Best large feline carnivores: When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain, Nghi Vo.

Full list, roughly in order read, is under the fold with links to my reviews and other writing about the authors here at Frumious.

Say Goodbye by Lewis Shiner; Encore
Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
The Long Sunset by Jack McDevitt
Swords in the Mist by Fritz Leiber
To the Land of Long Lost Friends by Alexander McCall Smith
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
The Haw Lantern by Seamus Heaney
The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischvili
The Triumph of Achilles by Louise Glück
Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Man Who Walked Through Walls by Marcel Aymé
Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch
Selected Poems 1966–1987 by Seamus Heaney
A Trail Through Time by Jodi Taylor
Black City by Boris Akunin
How the Word is Passed by Clint Smith
Wir sind Gefangene by Oskar Maria Graf
Inhuman Land by Jozef Czapski
The Invention of Russia by Arkady Ostrovsky
Heißer Sommer by Uwe Timm
Butler to the World by Oliver Bullough
Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells
Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
Reading Backwards by John Crowley
Ms Marvel: Civil War II written by G. Willow Wilson
The House on the Embankment by Yuri Trifonov
Die Leiden des jungen Werthers by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Black & White by Lewis Shiner
Ms Marvel: Damage Per Second written by G. Willow Wilson
Softcore by Tirdad Zolghadr
When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo
Native Realm by Czeslaw Milosz
Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard
Elder Race by Adrian Tchaikovsky
A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers
A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow
The Past is Red by Catherynne M. Valente
Seeing Things by Seamus Heaney
Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire
Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki
No Time Like the Past by Jodi Taylor
Swords Against Wizardry by Fritz Leiber
She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan
Count Zero by William Gibson
How to Raise an Elephant by Alexander McCall Smith
The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers
On the Field of Glory by Henryk Sienkiewicz
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Aspects by John M. Ford
A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine
Medieval Ethiopian Kingship, Craft and Diplomacy with Latin Europe by Verena Krebs
A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark
Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch
Exit Strategy by Martha Wells
Lessons from the Edge by Marie Yovanovitch
Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots
Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Before the West by Ayşe Zarakol
The Grief of Stones by Katherine Addison
The Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson; Premature Evaluation
The Spirit Level by Seamus Heaney
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Winter by Karl Ove Knausgaard
Electric Light by by Seamus Heaney
The Best of Connie Willis by Connie Willis
The Electric State by Simon Stålenhag
Primeval and Other Times by Olga Tokarczuk
Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman
Sandman: The Kindly Ones written by Neil Gaiman

From Page to Screen: The Tragedy of Macbeth
Reading Munich — München erlesen
Hugo Awards 2022: Best Short Story
Hugo Awards 2022: Best Novelette
Something of a Milestone
Hugo 2022 Chat

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