December Reading Challenge

December Reading Challenge: Read A Book Published in 2022

There are a few reasons why I look forward to the month of December. The holidays, the time spent with family, the time spent at home… and looking at the best of the best from the past year! Once the beginning of the month hits, I start scouring my favourite magazines, websites, and cultural sources to see their yearly round-ups and find out what I might have missed. If you’re a movie or music lover, it’s a bit easier to stay caught up over the course of the year, or to quickly catch up later. But book lovers, like us, have it a bit harder. I’m sure we can all agree that to read a book is a solid commitment that takes just a bit longer than a movie – or even a movie trilogy. To have read all the top books of any given year you need to never choose a book ‘incorrectly’ or read only books from this current year – no time to catch up on last year!

Instead, I like to take a more leisurely approach, and choose my reading material based on what interests me at the time (or whatever the monthly Reading Challenge is). But once December rolls round, you can look at summaries of the year, and choose your reading material based on that. Even better, the holds lists will have gone down and you’re more likely to get the book you want, when you want it.

So with that in mind, our December Reading Challenge is simple – read a book published in 2022! It doesn’t even need to be one of the ‘best books of the year’ (since that is of course very personal and contentious anyways). But if you do want to read something that’s been deemed the best book of the year you have lots of lists to guide your choices.

The cover of the book Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo

I’m partial to the NPR Book Concierge, which doesn’t discriminate based on genre and lets you mix and match appeal factors as they recommend one of 403 books published in 2023. For example, if you’re looking for ‘Book Club Ideas’ that are ‘Eye-Opening Reads’ and about ‘Identity and Culture’, the NPR Book Concierge recommends you read Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo, among other choices. This is the Zimbabwean author’s second novel – and her second to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize as well. It’s a fictionalized send-up of the fall of Mugabe, set in an animal kingdom called Jidada. As you can imagine, it’s sort of a folk or fairy tale in the style of Animal Farm. It’s relentlessly satirical but also heartbreaking at times, as you read about reality for the average person living under this totalitarian regime. Other books recommended by the NPR Book Concierge includes Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez and Yinka, Where Is your Huzband? by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn.

Or maybe you would like to take your book advice from a trusted news source, like The New York Times? The New York Times publishes two lists every year – Their 10 Best Books of 2022, and a longer list of 100 Notable Books of 2022. You can’t go wrong when choosing a book from either of these lists. From the list of 100 Notable Books by the NYT, The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is set in 19th-century Mexico, and as you might expect, it’s a reimagination of The Island of Doctor Moreau by HG Wells. This is a atmospheric, character-driven novel about the horrors of colonialism, as well as a compelling coming-of- age story. Other books on this list includes How Not To Drown in a Glass of Water by Angie Cruz and The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan.

If you are more interested in taking your reading advice from fellow readers rather than critics, definitely look at the Goodreads Choice Award winners from 2022. They bill themselves as the ‘only major book awards decided by readers’. And while you could argue that the winners are inevitably just the books that were read the most that year – well, that’s also saying something, isn’t it? If you’ve never read poetry before, the stirring Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman is a great choice here as the winner of Best Poetry for 2022. You may recall seeing Gorman read her poem at President Joseph Biden’s inauguration in 2021 – now, you can read this and many more poems in this stirring new collection. Other winners from this year include Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel for Science Fiction and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin.

Finally, for some more recommendations of books to read that were published in 2022, try our Bibliocommons list specifically made for this challenge! Ultimately, this month is a great catch up month – no restraints, just read something (that ideally you will love and enjoy) published this year.

As this brings us to the end of our first Year of Reading Challenges, we would like to thank everyone who followed along with us for the past 12 months. Look out for the next year of challenges, which will be posted on social media and advertised in our branches, in the new year!