Viget's Favorite Books of 2022
For the fourth consecutive year, Viget has compiled a list of its favorite books of 2022.
As another year comes to a close, it's time for a roundup of our favorite books. These aren’t necessarily books published in 2022 — just books folks at Viget read and enjoyed this year. Without further ado, our 2022 favorites:
I dove deep into Octavia Butler's work this year and read all of her published novels. Dawn (part of a trilogy called Lilith's Brood / Xenogenesis) was my favorite.
In this book, written 35 years ago, Octavia Butler makes salient points about our exact present-day existence while building a world that barely resembles it. While Butler is pretty much known for doing that ^, Dawn stuck out as hitting on both of those extra hard, creating a story that was impossible to imagine yet easy to see how humanity could get there.
As you can probably tell, I thought about Dawn for weeks afterward. One of the major things that stuck out (albeit not the novel's focus) was how Butler described what it would be like for a human to come face-to-face with a being whose existence we could not even comprehend. That was pretty cool and new to me, even as a sci-fi fan.
People who like science fiction, this is for you! (And so is the rest of Butler's work :D )
Recommended by Lexie Garcia
A wonderfully meditative sci-fi story about a monk who makes tea and a robot who wants to understand what humans need. This is as much a philosophical treatise as a story. I also enjoyed Chamber's exploration of a post-capitalist society living in harmony with nature. (I don't think the follow-up works as well, but I enjoyed both books.)
Recommended by Jackson Fox
Memoirs are often not what you expect them to be, and in Dave Grohl's "The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music," that is certainly the case in the greatest of ways. One part journey of life mixed with one part rock documentary, Grohl doesn't so much as peel a curtain back into his famed life, but the stories that have helped shape him along the way. If you've always wanted to sit around a campfire with Dave Grohl, this is the next best thing.
Recommended by Steven Hascher
TAYLOR JENKINS REID
I think you'll enjoy this book if you are into band documentaries. It reads like you are watching a documentary. I really enjoyed how the author humanized every character. The overlapping storytelling and different perspectives make it very unique. She did a great job illuminating the intricacies and nuances of interpersonal relationships.
I think it is easy for books to feel like they take place in a cinematic world or Hallmark-esque universe. But I like that Taylor Jenkins Reid's books feel grounded in reality - this one included!
Recommended by Mary Rose McAndrews
EDUARDO BERTI, DANIEL LEVIN BECKER (TRANS.)
Recommended by Max Fenton
A fictional story filled with magical realism, "Caul Baby" is centered around a Harlem family known for their caul—a layer of skin with powerful healing properties. Without revealing too much, the novel is a page-turning story about interconnected families and the power of tradition. I recommend the novel to anyone interested in literary fiction, strong female characters, and coming-of-age stories.
Recommended by Rachel Heidenry
I inhaled this in one sitting, immediately returned to the beginning, and started it again. Enemies to lovers romance? Check. A book about books? Check. Humorous escapades? Check. If you want an uplifting page-turner that will leave a smile on your face, look no further.
Recommended by Laura Sweltz
The School for Good Mothers
A new mother in Philadelphia has the worst day of her life and, as a result, is sent to a government reform school to determine if she, in fact, can be a "good mother." Although the surveillance state aspect might seem futuristic, it also seems plausibly inevitable for the future of parenting in a world that already devalues mothers.
Heartbreaking, intense, and at times incredibly infuriating, this is not an easy read, especially for mothers with young children. But I can say that I've never connected with a book more deeply. There were many, many tears — more than I've ever shed reading before — so bring some tissues and maybe a friend or two with whom you can talk this through.
Recommended by Liz Quann
JONATHAN GRAZIANO (AUTHOR), DAN TAVIS (ILLUSTRATOR)
My father loves reading to my niece; he also has a lazy old pug who she adores. I purchased this book for him for his birthday so he could read it to her, and I almost kept it for myself. This short picture book is the cutest story of the love we share for our pets and a great reminder to live your best life, even if your best life is having a no bones day where you simply need to stay in bed all day and not do a thing.
Recommended by Aubrey Lear
The Peacekeeper describes the alternative landscape of a North America that Europeans never colonized, told through the lens of an Ojibwe detective's journey to solve two murders that are intimately intertwined with his life. Grappling with identity, family and community roles, and the meaning of restorative justice, The Peacekeeper, paints a picture of what life in the U.S. and Canada might be like today had a radically different history unfolded before our time. The book's sequel, The Mother, describes the parallel alternative of a present-day Britain that never colonized the world or committed atrocities that went hand in hand with the expansion of its empire. It is anticipated in May 2023.
Recommended by Lauren Sheridan
The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future
It's a fantastic modular system for journaling. It is for anyone who wants a better grasp on their life and to live it more intentionally. The act of journaling can often be too fluffy to have a concrete impact, but the system presented in the book is focused on tracking your life in a meaningful way so that you can reflect on it with objectivity.
Recommended by Nevin Morgan
A history of the late 20th-century revival, after 600 years, of long-distance Pacific canoe voyaging and the cultural impact that had on Hawaii and the Pacific. Author Sam Low was there, and his relationships —particularly with Nainoa Thompson— put him in a unique position to share that history as specific thoughts and events remembered by some of the individuals involved.
It's a book about astronomy, sailing, exploration, modern Hawaii, and the traditional culture renaissance. But it's about more than that; you don't have to be already interested in any of those topics to enjoy it. The personal stories shared deal with dedication, perseverance, following the things that are right for you, and working with others to create something bigger than an individual can on their own.
Recommended by Henry Bley-Vroman
Cackle was one of my favorite reads of 2021, so I was excited to pick up Such Sharp Teeth when it was released this fall. It may be described as “a werewolf novel,” but more than anything, it’s the story of a woman trying to find her place in the world. Harrison has a knack for bringing nuanced female characters to life and crafting character-driven tales without forsaking the plot. This is especially fun to read during the spooky season.
Recommended by Laura Sweltz
If you’re interested in purchasing one of these books, we encourage you to order it from an indie bookstore. If you don’t already have a go-to indie, you can check out some of our favorites here. Happy reading!