February 9th, 2023
Home | Log in!

On Top Shelf
Mary Ellen TaylorMary Ellen Taylor
Fresh Pick

New Books This Week

Latest Articles

Video Book Club

Fresh Fiction Box

Slideshow image

Since your web browser does not support JavaScript, here is a non-JavaScript version of the image slideshow:

slideshow image
Anti-drug activists are being sabotaged by the very substance they abhor. Kindle Unlimited

slideshow image
The homicide cop with a passion for justice returns!

slideshow image
First in new series

slideshow image
A bomber on the loose, are they the next victims?

slideshow image
Her deal with the tycoon from her past will save her from destitution!

slideshow image
A fun foray into the London Season; Her lessons in flirtation…Could work too well!

Sweet Reads in February

Barnes & Noble

Fresh Fiction Blog
Get to Know Your Favorite Authors

Debbie Wiley | My Favorite Books of 2022

The passing of an old year and the start of a new one is always a time of reflection on my various book journeys over the old year. Some years I've gravitated towards one particular genre or theme while other years have been more eclectic. In 2022, I gravitated towards historical fiction, particularly fiction that educated and enlightened me on things I never learned in history classes rather than heavily reading my usual plethora of cozy mysteries and urban fantasies. I also spent some time revisiting some old favorites and catching up on series I've woefully fallen behind on. The history of mental health and the treatment of women was a consistent theme for me this year as women's issues were at the forefront of the political debate this year. No matter where one stands on the current issues, it's always informative to see where we have come from. As George Santaya said so eloquently, "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

The Lost Melody by Joanna Davidson Politano

It's usually difficult to pick a favorite book out of all the amazing ones I've read throughout the year. However, I can easily say that THE LOST MELODY is hands down my favorite book of the year! Joanna Davidson Politano's tale of a female musician trapped in an asylum gave insight into the darker times of mental health treatment, a profession I deeply care about and am thankful to see has changed for the better. I love that we get some insight into the power of music to heal the mind, even as we see Vivienne's faith help her through some of the darkest times in her life. Similarly, Maya Rodale's THE MAD GIRLS OF NEW YORK is a historical fiction retelling of the very true story of Nelly Bly and her undercover reporting in Blackwell's Island, an asylum whose horrors are also depicted quite thoroughly in DAMNATION ISLAND by Stacy Horn. Maya Rodale and Joanna Davidson Politano vividly describe the conditions experienced in the asylums, while also offering a glimmer of hope in different ways. In the same vein is THE WOMAN THEY COULD NOT SILENCE. Kate Moore's tale is nonfiction, telling the story of Elizabeth Packard whose husband wanted her incarcerated in an asylum for the crime of being inconvenient and not agreeing with his religious views. THE MAD WOMEN'S BALL by Victoria Mas is equally horrifying, as women in Paris were put on display in elaborate and grotesque displays and dances so that folks could mingle with the insane for a walk on the wild side. Each one of these books portrays a darker side of history as well as a cautionary tale about power and the powerless.

The Women's March by Jennifer Chiaverini

Dolen Perkins-Valdez also explores another aspect of history and the horrors perpetrated on the powerless. TAKE MY HAND focuses on women of color in my lifetime and features two young sisters who were given birth control and then sterilized via federal funding- and without their full understanding of what or why any of it was happening. While TAKE MY HAND is fictional, it is based on the true court case of Relf vs Weinberger as the law at that time allowed for any woman to be sterilized without full consent. For those who think this is a thing of the distant past, the author notes it is still legal due to a 1927 US Supreme Court Case ruling, Buck vs Bell, that federally protects the compulsory sterilization of "unfit" inmates in public institutions. THE WOMEN'S MARCH by Jennifer Chiaverini is a powerful story detailing the struggles women had to fight for the right to vote, and gave me a whole different view of some well-known figures such as Woodrow Wilson and Jane Addams. I also learned about Maud Malone and Ida Wells, who should be taught for their heroic efforts just as we learn about Jane Addams in social work textbooks. These are the kind of stories I relish, even as the details horrify me as it reminds me that no matter how bleak things may look at times nowadays, the past was worse as we've made huge gains towards equality, empathy, and basic human decency.

We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride

While WE ARE NOT LIKE THEM by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza isn't historical fiction, it focuses on best friends whose friendship is tested by the shooting of a black teenager. I don't want to say much more than that, but it's the kind of read that challenges every perception you have, no matter your skin color or personal beliefs, as Christine Pride and Jo Piazza dig into all the nuances of relationships that exist beyond just the headlines we see on tv and in the news. It's definitely a must-read!

The Maid by Nita Prose

On a lighter but no less enjoyable note, THE MAID by Nita Prose is a fascinating mystery- but it's not like the other mysteries you're read. Molly Gray's struggles with social cues along with her dedication to her job cleaning the hotel make for a quirky, likable character and it was a joy to watch the story unfold through her eyes. REMARKABLY BRIGHT CREATURES by Shelby Van Pelt is my surprise hit of the year, and perhaps my second favorite read for 2022. After all, who can't help but love a tale that involves periodic narration by an octopus?

Sleep No More by Jayne Ann Krentz

Jayne Ann Krentz was my go-to author this year. I delved into her Amanda Quick books and reread the Jayne Castle books, as she was my cure for the book reading slumps this year. SWEETWATER AND THE WITCH and SLEEP NO MORE were two of my favorites, but honestly, I think Jayne Ann Krentz could make a dictionary enjoyable to read as she just has a knack for writing stories that combine all the elements I love in a book!

Vanishing Hour by Laura Griffin

There were so many other stories that delighted me this year! VANISHING HOUR by Laura Griffin was my last read of the 2022 year and has sent me off on a Laura Griffin reading spree. Alma Katsu's THE WEREWOLF and THE FERVOR are outstanding, as is UNCANNY TIMES by Laura Gilman and A DEATH IN DOOR COUNTY by Annelise Ryan. I can't leave out J.D. Robb and her In Death series or Anne Bishop's CROWBONES and my favorite cozy mystery read of the year is A DISH TO DIE FOR by Lucy Burdette. The best audios for me this year were DOOKU: JEDI LOST by Scott Cavan and IMPACT WINTER by Travis Beacham, both of which have rocketed onto my favorite of all-time audio reads.

Overall, 2022 was a phenomenal reading year for me! While my total reading numbers were less than some years, the quality was superb. What were some of your favorite reads of 2022? Do you see a theme or trend in your reading over the last year?

Debbie Wiley is a senior reviewer at Fresh Fiction. You can find more of her articles and reviews here.




2 comments posted.

Re: Debbie Wiley | My Favorite Books of 2022

Interesting list. Thanks for sharing. Appreciate it!

(Kory A 6:17pm January 7)

Creative Biolabs is a global company that focuses on
microfluidic chips development. With our extensive
experience and advanced platform, we can provide
comprehensive development services of microfluidic chips for
Digital polymerase chain reaction (PCR) systems. We are
dedicated to assisting our clients with the most
satisfactory data to meet any requirements of your projects.
microfluidic partitioning
(Bella Smith 5:44pm January 28)

Registered users may leave comments.
Log in or register now!


© 2003-2023 off-the-edge.net  all rights reserved Privacy Policy