In this post, I’ve picked twelve 2022 releases that I am particularly looking forward to, then, as always, added a further eighteen books that I want to read in 2022, whether they are new this year or not. There are a few I didn’t read from my 2021 list that I’m still keen to get to, so those are included in the last eighteen.
Hanya Yanagihara, To Paradise (January 2022). This was on pretty much every ‘most anticipated’ list that I looked at, but there’s a reason for that. I loved Yanagihara’s first two novels, The People in the Trees and A Little Life, and I love the blurb for this one: it presents three narratives, two set in alternative versions of 1893 and 1993, the third set in an imagined 2093, joined by themes of illness, race and power.
Sequoia Nagamatsu, How High We Go In The Dark (January 2022). Much like Yanagihara’s latest, this debut also promises an epic, near-future narrative about a fictional plague – in this case, a disease released from melting Arctic permafrost in 2030.
Tochi Onyebuchi, Goliath (January 2022). I’ve not read anything by Onyebuchi before, but I love the sound of this: we’re (once again!) in a near-future Earth, this time in the 2050s, when the wealthy have fled to colonies in space, while the poor are left behind to survive on a dying planet. I was attracted by its range of disparate narratives that will explore this world.
Pankaj Mishra, Run and Hide (February 2022). This sounds like a thoughtful thriller, following Arun and his friends, who are determined to make their way out of their small town in India and will do anything to succeed – but will their past catch up with them after they make it big? This marks Mishra’s return to fiction after twenty years.
Elaine Hsieh Chou, Disorientation (March 2022). I’m not convinced by the cover but I love everything else I’ve heard about this debut: a Taiwanese-American PhD student is researching a canonical Chinese poet when she stumbles across a revelation in the archives. Alexander Chee thinks this is ‘a deeply original debut novel that reinvents the campus novel satire as an Asian American literary studies whodunnit’.
Julia Armfield, Our Wives Under The Sea (March 2022). Again, on lots of people’s lists, and it sounds great. It combines a lot of my personal favourite things in fiction: deep-sea exploration, lesbians and horror! Also, the cover is epic.
Emily St John Mandel, Sea of Tranquility (April 2022). I was excited about St John Mandel’s last book, The Glass Hotel, even though it didn’t sound like my sort of thing, because I loved Station Eleven so much. The Glass Hotel was one of my favourite reads of last year, and now this comes along, which definitely does sound like my sort of thing: once again, it skips between the future and the past, and features time travel, metaphysics and a moon colony. I CAN’T WAIT.
Nghi Vo, Siren Queen (May 2022). I like novels about film-making, and this promises a great twist on the usual formula; it follows a Chinese-American actress in a speculative version of Old Hollywood, where ancient magic is running the show.
David Santos Donaldson, Greenland (May 2022, US). I just love the blurb for this: ‘A dazzling, debut novel-within-a-novel in the vein of The Prophets and Memorial, about a young author writing about the secret love affair between E.M. Forster and Mohammed el Adl—in which Mohammed’s story collides with his own, blending fact and fiction.’
Sandra Newman, The Men (June 2022). All men mysteriously disappear from the face of the earth. SOLD.
Morgan Talty, Night of the Living Rez (July 2022, US). Spotted on Rachel’s list. This debut collection of short stories is set in a Penobscot community in Maine, and sounds like it could be brilliant.
RF Kuang, Babel (August 2022). I’ve wanted to read this ever since I first heard the premise; it’s a dark academia set in early nineteenth-century Oxford, which deals with ‘student revolutions, colonial resistance and the use of translation as a tool of empire’! SO EXCITED.
The Rest Of The List
Kristen Schilt, Just One Of The Guys?: Transgender Men And The Persistence of Gender Inequality. From my 2021 list, but I’m still keen to read this exploration of trans men’s experiences.
Julianne Pachico, The Anthill. From my 2021 list. I loved The Lucky Ones so am looking forward to this.
Quan Barry, We Ride Upon Sticks. How have I not heard about this before? Teen witch field hockey drama in the 1980s!
Kate Folk, Out There (April 2022). NetGalley ARC. A debut short story collection that sounds like it presents a series of fascinating speculative premises about ‘the voids in life’.
Gabrielle Zevin, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow (July 2022). NetGalley ARC. Two kids bond over their love of video gaming when they meet in 1987, then eight years later start building games together. I rarely play computer games but love novels about them!
Jennifer Egan, The Candy House (April 2022). NetGalley ARC. I read my way through almost all Egan’s work back in the day but was very disappointed when I recently re-read A Visit from the Goon Squad (my original review; my re-read). Still, I’m happy to give her another chance, and I like the sound of this; a linked narrative that explores a world where our memories are no longer our own.
Lucy Caldwell, These Days (March 2022). NetGalley ARC. I usually avoid all fiction set in the Second World War, but I have a bit of a soft spot for fiction set specifically in the Blitz, plus this has lesbians and is not set in London: ‘[follows] the lives of sisters Emma and Audrey – one engaged to be married, the other in a secret relationship with another woman – as they try to survive the horrors of the four nights of bombing which were the Belfast Blitz’.
Kathy Wang, Imposter Syndrome (May 2022). NetGalley ARC. This sounds fun; it deals with Julia, a Russian intelligence agent in Silicon Valley, and Alice, a first-generation Chinese-American working at the same company. I like corporate thrillers, especially when they involve tech.
Lee Cole, Groundskeeping (March 2022). NetGalley ARC. This is ‘A love story set in the foothills of Appalachia about two very different people – Owen, from Kentucky, and Alma, the daughter of Bosnian immigrants – navigating the entanglements of class and identify in an America coming apart at the seams’. I was attracted by the Appalachian setting and the fact that Owen is taking a writing course where Alma is the writer-in-residence.
Charlotte McConaghy, Once There Were Wolves (January 2022). NetGalley ARC. I adore Sarah Hall but I was disappointed by her 2015 novel The Wolf Border, which focuses on a woman piloting a scheme to reintroduce wolves to the British countryside. Fortunately, this one has the same premise, though it’s set in Scotland, not Cumbria! I hope it lives up to its promise.
Xochitl Gonzalez, Olga Dies Dreaming (January 2022). NetGalley ARC. This is ‘the tale of a status-driven wedding planner grappling with her social ambitions, absent mother, and Puerto Rican roots—all in the wake of Hurricane Maria’. It’s a long time since I requested this but I think I was attracted by the New York high society setting plus the Latinx characters.
Kei Miller, Things I Have Withheld. I liked Miller’s novel Augustown a lot and this collection of essays sounds fascinating.
Iain Pears, Stone’s Fall. This is told in reverse chronological order and I’m currently fascinated by novels that use this device!
Tasha Suri, The Jasmine Throne. The first book in an epic fantasy trilogy, this promises lesbian romance set in ‘a world inspired by the history and epics of India’.
Octavia E. Butler, Bloodchild and Other Stories. I loved ‘Bloodchild’ so am very keen to read more short stories from Butler.
Nicola Griffith, The Blue Place. After how much I’ve liked everything else by Griffith I’ve read, I had to try this, though I’d never have picked it up based on the blurb alone!
Safiya Umoja Noble, Algorithms of Oppression. This has been on my Goodreads TBR for far too long, so hopefully this will be the year I finally read it: it promises to explore how search engines like Google reinforce societal racism.