This year’s Freedom to Read Week took place from February 20 – 26 and there is no better time to think about and honour our freedom to read! Similar to Banned Books Week in the U.S., Freedom to Read Week encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed them under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
This topic has been weighing on my mind lately as news reports out of the States mention more and more books being banned in student classrooms. While this is not a new or novel idea, as book banning goes together with the concept of books themselves, it has definitely been something that I have been thinking about lately.
The start of a new year always brings about a time of reflection and optimism. It is usually when people set reading goals but with the stress of the past couple of years, it is no surprise that more and more people are advocating to not set goals at all but rather to enjoy books without guilt. My agreement with this trending regarding our mindset around reading led me to wonder: what other reading trends will we see this year? I took a look at some of last year’s trends to help me answer this curiosity!
One thing that is clear is that social media will continue to affect book sales, or at least book interest. In Scribd’s Year in Review for 2021, they noted that books that were popular on #BookTok (a.k.a TikTok videos about books) were also popular on their platform. This is no surprise to me, as someone who has screamed about books on various social media platforms for years, but I think it is still fascinating to see. I do not think the popularity of BookTok will disappear any time soon, but I hope to see a variety of books getting more popular this year. While I love romance and am excited to see its popularity online, I am hoping that more underrated authors will get their limelight soon as the books that are popular are written by New York Times best-selling authors and while those books are great, I always love to see new authors being discovered. Some of my favourite reads that are also BookTok favourites includeThe Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid and Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston.
The end of the year always brings about a time of reflection. As with last year, we wanted to look back at the year and share some of the best books that we’ve read and think you should add to your 2022 reading piles!
All blurbs and book covers include links to the VPL catalogue where you can request and borrow these books for yourself! Happy reading!
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke:Piranesi was the first book I read in 2021 and it’s still the best one. This slim little novel is a departure from author Susanna Clarke’s gargantuan previous work Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, but it still manages to spin its own labyrinthine magic (because it’s about a labyrinth, you see). In this latest novel, a man who is not technically named Piranesi but whom we shall call Piranesi documents his time in a spacious, dreamlike house that includes endless halls, statues, birds, and tides that bring in periodic floods. It’s his job to explore this house, and to help a mysterious visitor called The Other, who is researching a Great and Secret Knowledge. None of this makes any sense, but Clarke’s careful unfolding of narrative clues turns a vague and confusing plot into a compelling mystery. Who is The Other? And just what is Piranesi’s real identity? (Fun fact: he is named after the 18th century artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi, known for his Imaginary Prisons etchings. A clue!) Piranesi was recently awarded the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction.