My 2022 in books
Looking a few years back...
A few years ago I felt back in love with reading again. I've always been a reader, but for a long time I prioritized other hobbies. The social web and easy to digest content occupied most of my leisure time for many years. But the desire nostalgia for experiencing fantasy put me again on the right track.
Don't get me wrong, I still spent time on YouTube and reading about other stuff, books are only a part of the amount of things I experience in life, but they are a very important one for me. Reading challenges are a fun way to make sure I don't forget this. They are not a mandatory task, but a pleasant reminder of how much I enjoy it.
Because life is hard, it's tricky sometimes to remember what we should do day-to-day, our mind travels to far places, places that are the total opposite of nice fantastic lands. And when we are in those obscure places, we often forget about the nice things we already have.
Ignoring a very rough 2019, I've been reading more and more every year. This is mostly because I found an author that resonates with me like nothing before, Brandon Sanderson. You can see how the way I talked about fantasy changed when I discovered him. When I decided to pause The Wheel of Time I was about to enter a hiatus on reading again. But thankfully, I gave Mistborn a try, and oh my, was I lucky discovering my favorite novel yet!
So after that, I started devouring the Cosmere, the fictional universe where most of Sanderson's fantasy novels happen. That took me from 2021 to 2022 and I can say now that I finally caught up with the Cosmere and I've even been able to enjoy for the first time a new book launch with The Lost Metal!
2022 in books according to Goodreads
25 books! That's quite a lot for me! The number doesn't really matter, everybody reads at different speeds and kinds of books, what matters is how much enjoyment it brought me!
8,517 pages! It's funny how that gets to an average of only 340 pages per book. When my impression is that I read way lengthier books, and I do, but I've also read a bunch of short stories that pull that number down. From 25 pages of The Hope of Elantris to the 1248 pages of Oathbringer.
My average rating is 4.2/5. That's basically because I only read things that I kinda now I will like, and because I've been reading a lot of Sanderson and, for now, is very rare I don't like something from him.
It would take me too long to write all my thoughts about the different Cosmere books, so I will only highlight a couple. If you are curious, I keep a thread in Twitter with my Sanderson reading and you can see my reviews in Goodreads.
As a side note, with everything that has been going on with Twitter, one thing I would love to do is to move all these reading updates and book reviews to my domain. We'll see if I can get that done.
The Emperor's Soul has been, with no doubt, the nicest surprise of all. A short story about art, in the same world as Elantris, that I still keep thinking about.
All the other smaller stories in the Cosmere (Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, Sixth of the Dusk, etc) are something that many won't bother to read, and you don't really need to, but I love the inter-connected facet of Sanderson's writing so I've put a lot of effort in reading them in what I consider the best order possible for my personal enjoyment. And I have to say that it has paid dividends! I should write about that someday.
Mistborn Secret History is one of these things that you can only enjoy once in a lifetime. It's a short story that you should know anything about. Really, anything you read or see, by small, it's a major spoiler. And the experience I got while reading it and discovering things... I can't describe it.
Mistborn Era 2... what can I say about this. I've been able to finish it with the rest of the fanbase and it has been an experience! It's a very distinct style than the first Era, something that put many people out, but I still like it a lot. The mix of western with new tech and humor worked very well for me. And the ending... what an ending! A new era for the Cosmere begins!
The Stormlight Archive is with no doubt my favorite epic fantasy series of all time. It pulls the best of Sanderson for sure. This year I've continued the series and caught up with it and yes, now I'm waiting the last book of the first half like everybody else. With excitement but also fear. I have no clue how things will go. Well, of course I have many theories like everybody... it's a hot topic of conversion with my friends, BUT Sanderson can pull plot twists that even after paying attention and commenting all potential solutions with friends, nobody saw coming.
This is the only non-fiction book I've read this year. I don't really do non-fiction with books since I spent most of my day to day reading it by other means already. But this one was a recommendation to understand better the psychology and mental health of people. It's eye opening to see what others go trough and makes you be more attentive and willing to help.
From watching Brandon Sanderson and Dan Wells on their podcast I ended up being very curious about Dan work. I picked up Partials as an introduction to his work, and I have to say I enjoyed it. Is a bit too YA for what I was looking for, but it has many interesting details. I still have book 3 pending, which I'm hoping to finish next year.
This is a book about the universe of Runeterra, full of artwork and short-stories. I really loved the stories, and the art is astonishing. Runeterra is probably in my top 3 of fiction worlds and I wish people paid more attention to the multitude of stories and characters in it.
Many people discards it because it has the League of Legends brand associated with it, "it's just a game". And that might have been true many years ago but Riot has been working on this universe for so long that it has quickly become a rich world that doesn't have to envy anything from others. I mean just look at this beautiful map.
My favorite part is how nicely in pulls together seemingly incompatible themes and environments. In Runeterra you can find anything you like: Horror and ghosts, pirates, a land of magic and nature, empires at war, ancient dangers in the frozen north, a high-tech city, ancient Egypt like, jungle and elemental magic, and a mountain to ascend to godhood.
I'm still fascinated by how all of this can match in a very nice and coherent way. That is Runeterra. Seriously, visit their site and discover a new Universe.
This year I finished reading the DM's guide to D&D. Of course, being a guide it means I flipped through its pages way more than once, but I still wanted to go trough it in sequence to enjoy the fiction in it.
Reading tabletop game guides is an enjoyable experience for me. It engages not only with my "game mechanics" brain but also with the fantasy literature part thanks to all the lore and adventure suggestions in them.
I started Sandman after watching the Netflix tv show and I have to say I enjoyed it a lot, way more than expected. Neil Gaiman storytelling is so peculiar that makes Sandman an incredible experience way beyond what the plot could give.
I've just finished Act 2, the last thing I will read this year, and there some stories in it I can't wait to see adapted on television. I'm amazed how Gaiman takes folk-tales and religious stories that we all have heard about and gives them a twist integrating them into the Sandman world.
The Law - The Dresden Files #17.4
Okay, this is a weird one. If anybody did what I did here with the Cosmere I would tell them the big mistake they made. I'm not sure how important is with Dresden but I know I was taking a risk. You see, Amazon Prime gave an offer with free access to their Kindle Unlimited books, and even tho there is a lot of content there was not much that I found interesting to jump into.
But I've been hearing about The Dresden Files for ages, and is a series I really want to read sometime, so when I saw this short story I just took it. I knew I was risking huge spoilers since is the 17th book of the series, but I risked it anyway.
And I'm glad, now I'm more curious about Dresden and its world. It seems like a mix that I could enjoy a lot. So it went up on my priority 😜
The Three-Body Problem
Because it was in Kindle Unlimited and I wanted to change a bit to sci-fi, I jumped in the first book of the Remembrance of Earth's Past Series. I had plenty of good things about this book so I was eager to enjoy it. And I have to say... it was difficult to finish.
It's true that when I was done, I appreciated the story and its complexity, and I'm curious to see how it continuous. But I don't know if it's because it is too hard sci-fi and is not for me, or because the different author culture (seriously, having to read footnotes every two pages is not good...) but it didn't pull me in the story much.
I actually started the second book, The Dark Forest, but it's still in progress because is taking me even more to get into. There is simply too much text. I actually switched to Sandman Act 2 to disconnect from it and I finished that one in 2 days 😂 so it's not that I don't want to read! We'll see if I come back to this series.
A couple more...
I've read other books that, for one reason or another, are not in Goodreads. I've posted them as "general updates" on the site, but of course that doesn't count as a book.
This is another reason I would love to find an alternative to it.
Aether of Night, an unpublished novel by Brandon Sanderson
After having caught up with the Cosmere I was eager for more and didn't want to wait for The Lost Metal release. So I started looking at what other things Brandon had done around the Cosmere, I knew there was some unpublished work and that seemed like an ideal way to keep the Cosmere alive in my head.
Aether of Night is an unpublished novel, a draft, that he wrote years ago but never published. He has transformed the ideas in it into other published work. Even knowing that is non-canon and that the writing was in draft form, I really enjoyed the reading.
Seeing some of the early versions of some things that happened in other books was fascinating to me as a hobbyist writer. And know more about, a version of, the Aeathers, something that we are just starting to see in the Cosmere, was a delightful gift.
Indie Microblogging by Manton Reece
With everything that happened in Twitter this year, and the move to Mastodon, I've been paying more attention to the indie-web. I think the social network boom has helped in some aspects to move society to a more connecter world, but I really miss the times of blogs and RSS.
Manton Reece is part of the indie-web movement that tries to protect the openness of the web. The book talks about his solution, micro.blog, but is not a sell pitch for it. It's very recommended if you are curious about the dangers that are risking the web as we know it.
My goal for 2023 is to keep enjoying reading as much as I did this year, no matter how many books I read.
I already have 4 that are clear thanks to The Year of Sanderson that will start on January 1st! After that, I may try to finish some open series and look at others on my pending list.
Happy new year of reading!
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