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  • Writer's pictureHannah R. Palmer Author

2022 Book Awards 🏆

Normally, at the very beginning of the year, I sit down and ruminate on my favourite books of the previous twelve months. Admittedly, we're nearly at the end of January, so I'm a touch late getting round to this, but I still wanted to chat about my favourite books of 2022.

To spice things up a bit this time round, I’ve decided to do things a little differently and create a whole load of fake awards that I’ll be giving the books that I’ve enjoyed, and possibly not enjoyed, over the last twelve months.

So, without further adieu, the seven awards for my reads of 2022 are:

Best in Show


Which book absolutely blew me away this year? Which one is still on my mind months after having finished it?

✨ Babel, R F Kuang ✨

Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution. You can see why it's shortened to Babel most of the time, it's not got the most memorable title. It does, however, have what I think are some of the most memorable characters and contents of any book I read in 2022.

Babel follows Robin and a group of new students at Oxford University as they learn the powers of silver in this alternate 1800s England. What starts off as relatively clearcut dark academia soon turns into a complex and creative analysis of language, colonialism and the abuse of power. Waterstones referred to Babel as 'incendiary' and frankly, I can't think of a better descriptor.

Biggest Ick


Which book caused me physical ick to the point that I wasn't able to finish it?

✨ Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov✨

On the other end of the spectrum is this award, for the book that I simply found impossible to read.

Lolita, not surprising really if

anyone out there has managed to read it.

I don't know how much airtime I want or need to give to this book. It's infamous for its contents of Humbert Humbert and Lolita herself, but honestly, I wouldn't recommend you read this. And if you have to read it for school or university, my thoughts are with you!

Emotional Damage


The type of book that leaves you sitting there, motionless, staring at the floor once you've finished it.

✨ Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro✨

I hope that everything I read of Kazuo Ishiguro's has this impact on me. So far, it has.

I was introduced to Ishiguro in 2020 when I read Klara and the Sun and bloody loved it. Since then, I've been slowly collecting his back catalogue and have, so far, loved everything he's created.

Never Let Me Go was what I needed from The Promised Neverland, but never got. It's dark and twisted and harrowing and wonderful. If you like a mega dark dystopia, then I strongly recommend it.

Comfort Read


Which book would I hypothetically re-read whilst wearing my comfiest jumper and drinking tea?

✨ Infamous, Lex Croucher ✨

Infamous is Lex Croucher's second novel and certainly doesn't fall prey to the second novel curse that plagues authors.

Infamous follows Ed, a young poet trying to find their way in the world whilst growing up and experiencing rapidly changing relationships and priorities. It's a little bit Bridgerton, a touch Mean Girls and a healthy dose of Lord Byron.

If you're after a lighthearted regency rom-com with wonderful representation, definitely give this a go.

Biggest Hum-Dinger


Which book, without a shadow of a doubt, was the biggest flop?

✨ Verity, Colleen Hoover ✨

This book was everywhere. It had TikTok and Instagram in a chokehold and everyone and their mother was shouting about it. So obviously, when it came up temporarily for free on Audible, I had to give it a shot.

Credit where credit is due, I liked the narrator! And the first half or so of the novel was decent, if you can get past the ridiculousness of the opening scenes.

I do appreciate that this book has done very well and lots of people have enjoyed it, but the ending 'twist' was a step too far for my suspension of disbelief to take. I can't really divulge much more without massive spoilers, so you'd best give it a go for yourself!

Best All-Rounder


We've got best in show, so which book was a close second and ticked all of the right boxes?

✨ If We Were Villains, M L Rio✨

The Secret History is one of my all-time favourites, so the second a new release is compared to Donna Tartt's masterpiece, I'm there quicker than you can say 'who killed Bunny?'

If We Were Villains is a delicious dark academia novel with huge chunks of Shakespeare, some delightfully exaggerated, horrible personalities and a dash of murder.

And last, but by no means, least...

Biggest surprise


Which book was I most surprised at this year?

✨ Careless, Kirsty Capes✨

I don't know what made me pick up this book. It could have been the cool, minimalist cover, or the fact that I read more contemporary fiction last year than ever before, but either way, I'm glad I took a punt on this.

I'm not sure what gave me the impression that this would be quite light and airy, but it really isn't. It's the story of a young, adopted girl who gets pregnant, and proceeds to 'fall through the cracks' in society. Capes deals with classism, racism, sexism and a load in between in such a conversational way that makes this book actually quite easy to read, without losing the gravity of the subject matter. I bloody loved it.

What were your favourite reads of 2022? Any surprises in there? Let me know!

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