Tuesday 3 January 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favourite Books of 2022

So, I've never done a Top Ten Tuesday post before but it seemed like an excellent way to do my 'favourite books of last year' post so here we go. (And who knows, I may continue to do Top Ten Tuesday posts after this as they always seem like a lot of fun.)


This weekly meme is hosted by That Artsy Reading Girl.

Today's theme is My Favourite Books from 2022.  It'll be a miracle if I can restrict this to 10 because I have 107 books to choose from this year.

Well here goes, and in no particular order.

First up, The Search by Nora Roberts. I read three books by Roberts last year and enjoyed them all far more than I thought I would. It was hard to choose between them but in the end the lovely dogginess in this book won the day.

Next, Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. This book reminded me how much I love good science-fiction and this year I want to read a lot more. Best character in this: Rocky!

Another science-fiction book I loved was The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. I read a couple by this very popular author this year, A Psalm for the Wild-Built didn't work quite so well for me but I thought this one was wonderful, a real feel-good, StarTrekky type sci-fi yarn but without the uniforms.

Another crime yarn with a dog was Killing Trail by Margaret Mizushima. This one had the mountains of Colorado as a setting which I absolutely adored, and I also loved reading about the start of Mattie and Robo's journey as dog handler and police tracking canine.

The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow imagines how the life of Mary, the bookish sister from Pride and Prejudice, could've panned out. I thought this was fantastic, so beautifully written and so poignant.

Another Austen spin-off I absolutely loved was Miss Austen by Gill Hornby. This imagines the story of how Jane Austen's sister, Cassandra, goes about finding the possibly incriminating letters Jane wrote to a relative. Beautifully written and very much underlining the plight of single women of very little means in Austen's time.


Next, The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths. This excellent crime yarn features the detective, Harbinder Kaur, as she goes about trying to discover why an elderly resident of a retirement complex has been murdered, aided and abbetted by the old lady's carer, an ex-monk and an elderly ex-BBC employee. I loved this so much! 

The Necessary Aptitude by poet,  Pam Ayres seems to be the only non-fiction that's made the top ten list this year. Strange when I read rather a lot, none of it bad, but there weren't many that really stood out. This autobiography blew me away with its brilliant account of a childhood in Berkshire in the 1950s. Pam's poetry is so funny, especially when she's reading it, but this is on another level and I loved it.

My next choice is Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher an exquisitely written book that's as much about a house in Scotland as it is about the people who gravitate towards it. My first book by Pilcher but certainly not my last.

And last but by no means least is Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce. This story, set during World War two, is narrated by Emmy who wants to work for a national newspaper but ends up with a women's magazine instead 'helping' people via an agony column. It's hilarious and very sad all at the same time. Emmy shines off the page and reminded me very strongly of Sam from Foyle's War. 

So those are the ten books that made the cut. But there're loads of honourable mentions:

The 4.50 From Paddington by Agatha Christie

Because of Sam and Dear Hugo by Molly Clavering

After by Bruce Greyson (non-fiction about near-death experiences)

Mansfield Park and Persuasion by Jane Austen

Death Walks the Woods by Cyril Hare

A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie

I could go on and on, it was a good reading year for me: I hope it was for you too.


Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

There was I, feeling pretty smug because I had managed to limit myself to adding three books from your top ten selection, to my own list! Then you decided to give 'honourable mentions' to a few other titles and that was another three on my pile!!

I must have missed a couple the first time around, as I don't remember seeing the Cyril Hare book before. Another new to me author, but one of those classics that I can't resist.

Have a great reading year in 2023! :)

Kay said...

Cath, I'm having a good time visiting so many 'Top 10' lists! And I bet you would like participating in this meme occasionally or every week. I used to do it a while back. I've read two books on your list, WINTER SOLSTICE and DEAR MRS. BIRD (loved both of them). THE POSTSCRIPT MURDERS is a mystery book group selection for my group here in Kerrville for April, I think. I'm really wanting to read BLEEDING HEART YARD (Griffiths' newest), but I've got to get that previous one read first. I've got others on your list on my Kindle already. I'm reading THE ROSE CODE by Kate Quinn right now for a book group on Thursday. Don't think I'll get it finished, but it will be fun to see what others think.

Margot Kinberg said...

Such a great variety of books here, Cath! I'm very glad you enjoyed the Griffiths so well; I think she's so very talented, and she's so prolific, too! I have no idea how she does it. In any case, here's to a great new year of reading!

Vallypee said...

Happy New Year, Cath! What a lot of books you manage to read, Cath! I must try and get the Pam Ayer’s memoir (mostly what I read) and also the Elly Griffiths. They both sound like my thing! I shall look forward to reading more of your posts this year. Are you still on Twitter? I haven’t seen you there for quite a while.

Lark said...

The Search has just gone onto my TBR list, as has The Other Bennett Sister. And you know how much I love Margaret Mizushima's Mercy books. (Or should I say Robo reads?) Dear Mrs. Bird is one I really liked, too. Have you read the sequel to it? Great TTT list, Cath! :D

TracyK said...

Several books (or authors) on your list are ones I already am planning to read because of your reviews. Specifically books by Becky Chambers and Rosamond Pilcher. The two Austen-related books sound good and are on my radar, especially Miss Austen. I am also interested in Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir, but I want to read some of the books of that type on my shelves first.

On your honorable mentions list, I am planning to read The 4.50 From Paddington this year and looking forward to it.

Nan said...

Margaret's mother-in-law reads Nora Roberts, and at a recent get-together at her house, I asked her about the author. Margaret has read some, too, and I'd like to try one this year.
And I did a ttt also because I saw your post.

CLM said...

I really loved Dear Mrs Bird and although I just did my "2022 Favorites" I am not sure I enjoyed any of them as much as that book!

I read Miss Austen because you recommended it and I liked it a lot, although not in my top ten.

The Postscript Murders was very good and I think better than the Osman book (although I haven't read the second in that series yet).

I just began a Deanna Raybourn, Killers of a Certain Age. Maybe I needed something more inspiring to use as cleaning background. Oh well.

Bill Selnes said...

An interesting list. I am going to try to read the Griffiths book. Now that I am a senior I appreciate crime fiction with "mature" investigators.

Cath said...

Yvonne: LOL! Sorry to have added six books to your 'want to read' pile. Other people's books lists are always a terrible temptation for me, and this time of year is especially bad.

The Cyril Hare was a really excellent traditional vintage crime story and surprised me. That's always nice.

Cath said...

Kay: It's huge fun visiting all the 'Best of' posts isn't it? Doesn't do a great deal to bring down the tbr pile though I notice...

Oh, I think you will enjoy The Postscript Murders. It was huge fun with all the 'helpers' aiding the case.

I just looked The Rose Code up and it looks excellent. The kind of thing I might like.

Cath said...

Margot: Thanks! Elly Griffiths is easily in my top ten of favourite crime authors, probably top five. She's so consistently excellent and I definitely plan to read her third Harbinder Kaur book this year.

Yes, here's to us all having a really great reading year.

Cath said...

Val: The Pam Ayres memoir really took me by surprise. So many celeb autobiographies are full of name dropping and how brilliant they are. This one was so different in that Pam was really producing a piece of history writing on what it was like living in a small village in the English countryside in the 1950s. She has commented that that was what she was trying to do and boy did she nail it.

Yes, I'm still on Twitter, posting pretty much every day but only bookish stuff. I thought we spoke a couple of weeks ago, when I commented on something Lally said. Of course the way I am that could've been months ago! LOL

Cath said...

Lark: Both The Search and The Other Bennet sister were standout reads for me last year. I expected The Bennet Sister book to be good but not so much The Search. No I haven't read the sequel to Dear Mrs. Bird yet, but I have it on my Kindle ready for sometime this year. I have so many good books lined up that I'm expecting a stellar reading year in 2023. :-)

Cath said...

Tracy: It seems to me that there's been a resurgence in the popularity of science fiction reading and that authors like Andy Weir and Becky Chambers are leading the charge. I now have pages of sci-fi and fantasy recs that I've written down after watching YT vids and there seem to be some amazing new authors, a lot of them female I notice. I'm hoping to explore a few of them in 2023.

The 4.50 From Paddington was an absolute 'joy' and the Joan Hickson dramatisation is well worth a watch if you can find it.

Cath said...

Nan: I think Roberts' standalones are the best but be careful as one or two are quite violent. The Search was delightful for the dogs I thought and the Oregon setting was gorgeous.

I'll look for your TTT!

Cath said...

Constance: Look forward to your 2022 Favourites post! Dear Mrs. Bird really took me by surprise and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel, a friend says it is also really good.

I haven't read the second Osman book either. Weird to see him on TV every night and realise he's the author of these hugely successful books.

The Deanna Raybourn I read was good, but perhaps her books vary. I'll probably continue on with the series I started, Veronica Speedwell, but how far I'm not sure.

Cath said...

Bill: I'm of a certain age too and always appreciate an older protagonist in books. I get a little tired of so many teenagers and twenty somethings in books when the world is full of people older than that with stories to tell. Thanks for stopping by to comment!

Les in Oregon said...

Popping over from Nan's blog... I love these lists and see that you read one of my favorite novels - Winter Solstice. I adore Rosamunde Pilcher's books and am currently reading Coming Home, which is becoming another favorite. I loved The Shell Seekers and September, so do give those a read, too.

Fanda Classiclit said...

The Seven Dials Mystery is one of my favorites from Christie. For me it stood out from the rest with its witty humour. So refreshing to read!
Miss Austen sounds like a charming book. I'll check your review later.

Cath said...

Les: Thank you for popping over from Nan's blog and welcome!

I was completely charmed by Winter Solstice and I read it bang on the right time, in December. I have The Shell Seekers and September in mind for next year and I'll add Coming Home to the list too. Thanks the recommendations.

Cath said...

Fanda: I really wasn't expecting The Seven Dials Mystery to be quite so entertaining. I didn't realise it was one her plucky heroine type books, like The Man in The Brown Suit and They Came to Baghdad. Huge fun.

Cathy said...

Great list, Cath! I can never pass by anyone's Best Years list even if we don't share the same genre preferences. I think it's the latent librarian that still lurks beneath the surface.

One book on your list that I agree 1,000% with is Project Hail Mary. It was a perfect audiobook listen. In fact, non-re-reader that I am, I wouldn't mind listening to it again!

Cath said...

Cathy: I love best years lists too. No least because I see books on them that might take me out of my comfort zone and those go on my list of books to read, 'one day'.

Project Hail Mary was the book that made me want to read more science fiction. I'd forgotten how much I like that genre, it was my first real bookish love in my childhood. I wonder what Andy Weir will come up with next.