My Thoughts on All of the Books I Read in 2022


Ian Johnson, Editor

In 2022 I did not have a specific goal for how many books I wanted to read. All I knew is that I needed to spark my passion for reading again. Here are my thoughts and opinions on all the books I read in 2022. 

 The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: ⅖  stars

“I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”

– Fitzgerald F. Scott, The Great Gatsby.

Before I get attacked just hear me out. The Great Gatsby needs to be a lot longer than 208 pages for me to bump it up to 3 or even 4 star rating. The concept is great and the plot has amazing potential. I just really don’t believe it was executed well because of how short the book is. However, I do enjoy the theories readers have come up with regarding Nick and if all that he says actually happened or not.  

Grendel by John Gardner:  ⅗ stars

 “Nevertheless, something will come of all this,”

— John Gardner, Grendel

Overall this was a great book, and it was written well. My only complaint is that it was hard to grasp just because it was read as a class, and I was not able to read at a consistent pace. Other than that, I enjoyed the symbolism and connections to both astrology and religion. As a theology and religion nerd, it made my brain happy. Grendel was good but I would not put it in the favorites category. 

Circe by Madeline Miller: ⅘ stars

 “But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me.”

― Madeline Miller, Circe

Madeline Miller is one of my favorite authors, so this book is definitely up there with my favorites. The story is beautiful and shows a different side of Greek Mythology that is not often seen in the academic world. You do not need to know a whole lot about the gods and goddesses of Greek mythology in order to enjoy the beautiful literature it inspires. This one takes you through twists and turns emotionally.

 I 100% recommending giving this a read but after reading The Song of Achilles. There are some references to the main characters there that make Circe even better. Circe also gives us a deeper look into the lives and stories of some of the secondary characters in The Song of Achilles. Its not mandatory to read that before Circe, but I believe it makes the reading experience a lot more enjoyable.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Iain Reid: ⅘ stars

“Getting to know someone is like putting a never-ending puzzle together. We fit the smallest pieces first and we get to know ourselves better in the process.”

― Iain Reid, I’m Thinking of Ending Things

I’m thinking of ending things is… different but in a really good way. As you read further and further into the novel you kind of start to feel like you are losing your mind. As things start to piece together you progressively start to get more confused somehow and the panic plus tension combo rises inside. Watching the movie did not help at all, and the film honestly had the potential to be done a lot better than it was. After analyzing it a bit more at the very end of the book, it all makes sense, and you start to realize what the author was trying to accomplish. Let’s just say Iain Reid definitely did that for me. 

Looking For Alaska by John Green: ⅘ stars

“We need never be hopeless because we can never be irreparably broken.”

― John Green, Looking for Alaska

In not too long of a book John Green was able to open my eyes to the endless value of friendship. Looking For Alaska will have you laughing, crying, and eager to turn the next page.

More Than This by Patrick Ness: ⅘ stars

“You said we all want there to be more than this! Well, there’s always more than this. There’s always something you don’t know.”

― Patrick Ness, More Than This

More Than This is odd. The beginning is very slow until about 100 pages in.  After that the ball is rolling and rolling, and you are left wondering, “is there more than this?” The characters go through trials and tribulations in a deserted afterlife type of world which makes the slow beginning bearable if you are prepared to read a great resolution.

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green: 5/5 stars

“no one ever says good-bye unless they want to see you again. ”

― John Green, Turtles All the Way Down

2022 was filled with a lot of John Green. If you are a psychology nerd and into true crime then I think you would enjoy Turtles All The Way Down. Readers get to see how the main character deals with OCD and other mental health issues all while dealing with relationships and solving a missing persons case.

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison: 5/5 stars

“There are dead girls to mourn, and living girls who will struggle for years to adjust to life outside the Garden, if they even can. He still counts this as a good day.”

― Dot Hutchison, The Butterfly Garden

If you thought this was going to be a fun and pretty story you would be astronomically wrong. After reading The Butterfly Garden I cannot look at Butterflies the same. Dot Hutchison deals with a lot of heavy topics in this novel, so if heavy mentions of sexual abuse, kidnapping, and other graphic content is not your kind of thing I would not recommend reading it.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller 5/5 stars

“He is half of my soul, as the poets say.”

“In the darkness, two shadows, reaching through the hopeless, heavy dusk. Their hands meet, and light spills in a flood like a hundred golden urns pouring out of the sun.”

― Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles is perfect for anyone who was a Percy Jackson kid in elementary school and anyone who enjoys some romance as well. Despite Achilles being in the title of the story, The Song of Achilles is written from the perspective of Patroclus. Scholars have debated whether or not Patroclus and Achilles were in a relationship or if they were just good friends. In this case, Madeline Miller is going with the first of those two options. You will blush, you might even cry, but most importantly, The Song of Achilles will show you the side of a story that does not always reach people.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanigihara: 5/5 stars

“And so I try to be kind to everything I see, and in everything I see, I see him.”

“You won’t understand what I mean now, but someday you will: the only trick of friendship, I think, is to find people who are better than you are—not smarter, not cooler, but kinder, and more generous, and more forgiving—and then to appreciate them for what they can teach you, and to try to listen to them when they tell you something about yourself, no matter how bad—or good—it might be, and to trust them, which is the hardest thing of all. But the best, as well.”

Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life

The characters in A Little Life did in fact not have a little life. Words cannot even describe exactly how I feel about this 800 page book. It took me the longest to read because there were times when I needed to take breaks from it. It is heavy, and it can get really intense while overall not containing much action. Reading this changed my perspective on a lot of things, and I felt seen for the first time in literature.