Thoughtful Thursday: What’s the best book you read last month/year?

What's the best book you read last month? Giveaway! Fantasy and Science Fiction book and audiobook reviews.It’s the first Thursday of the month. Time to report!

What’s the best book you read in December 2022 and why did you love it? If you like, you can also tell us about your favorite book of 2022.

It doesn’t have to be a newly published book, or even SFF, or even fiction. We just want to share some great reading material.

Feel free to post a full review of the book here, or a link to the review on your blog, or just write a few sentences about why you thought it was awesome.

And don’t forget that we always have plenty more reading recommendations on our Fanlit Faves page and our 5-Star SFF page.

One commenter with a U.S. mailing address will choose one of these prizes:

  • a FanLit T-shirt (we have sizes M, L, XL)
  • a book from our stacks.
  • a $5 Amazon gift card (this is the only option for non-USA addresses).

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  1. My best fiction book in December was Network Effect by Martha Wells (really the whole run of the Murderbot series which I read in a row the month)

    My best non-fiction book was Tenacious Beasts by Christopher J. Preston

    As for the year, don’t want to spoil our Best of 2022, so I’ll just name two fiction and two non-fiction: All the Seas of the World, The Spear Cuts Through Water, The Last Days of the Dinosaurs, and The Rise and Reign of the Mammals

  2. John Smith /

    “A Pleasure and a Calling” by Phil Hogan, which is about an upper-crusty estate agent in the UK who is also a stalker, a creep, and possibly worse.

  3. Kevin S. /

    Best book in December: “The Hollow Hills” (Arthurian Saga, #2) by Mary Stewart.

    My best book in 2022 is a very tough decision. My #1 is “Leviathan Falls” (The Expanse, #9) by James S.A. Corey. I love this series and this book was a fantastic ending. My #2 choice is a three-way tie between the three novels in the Shattered Sea series by Joe Abercrombie. All three books- “Half a King”, “Half the World”, and “Half a War”- are outstanding. I especially recommend them to new fantasy readers.

  4. Katharine Ott /

    I read four 5-star books in December: “Into the Wilderness” by Sara Donati, “Do No Harm” by Robert Pobi, “Tuesday’s Gone” by Nicci French, and “A Place to Hang the Moon” by Kate Albus. Hard to choose one, but I’ll go for Alix Harrow’s “The Ten Thousand Doors of January” as a 2022 favorite. I already have a sci-fi and a fantasy book finished in 2023, so hopefully more of those ahead. Happy New Year!

  5. Avshalom /

    My best SF/F read in December – “14” / Peter Clines
    My best SF book of the year – “Sea of Tranquillity” / Emily St. John Mandel
    My best fantasy book of the year – “The City Guardians” / Rotem Baruchin (which is not translated to English unfortunately, but is an excellent book for anyone reading in Hebrew :)).

  6. SandyG /

    The only fantasy book I read in December was Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree. I enjoyed the idea of what happens after characters get tired of going on adventures

  7. Paul Connelly /

    Here is my year-end wrap-up, fwiw.

    For fiction read in 2022 (any year published), my favorite was Nicola Griffith’s Hild, a coming-of-age tale about the woman who would be remembered as St. Hilda of Whitby, a very intense novel whose unusual but believable heroine must, from childhood on, navigate dangerous court intrigues just to stay alive. Runner-up was Joe Abercombie’s The Heroes, a standalone set between his First Law and Age of Madness trilogies, focusing on one battle that’s fought over three days, with his usual cast of eccentric characters, black humor, and gritty violence. Outside of genre, I also loved L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.

    For fiction published in 2022, my four-way favorites tie: Fevered Star by Rebecca Roanhorse, second in her series set in a Mesoamerican type fantasy world; Nona the Ninth, the third in Tamsyn Muir’s necromantic Locked Tomb series and just as wildly different as the preceding two; Deathless Gods, penultimate volume in P. C. Hodgell’s Kencyrath saga (begun 40 years ago!); and Dave Hutchinson’s Cold Water, with a new protagonist in his Fractured Europe setting. Monstress (Vol. 7) from Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda is probably first among the runners-up.

    The best nonfiction books I read in 2022 were probably: The Dawn of Everything (David Graeber and David Wengrow), about the not at all inevitable path that civilization took to arrive at our present mess; How to Change Your Mind (Michael Pollan), a history of how psychedelic drugs spread throughout the US after World War II and how they might be constructively used going forward; and The Dictator’s Handbook (Bruce Bueno de Mesquita & Alastair Smith), explaining how leaders behave in reality versus how we’d like to think they’ll behave. Some runners-up: Barbara Ehrenreich’s Natural Causes, a look into how the positive thinking industry displaces responsibility for social ills onto the individual; and A Short History of Progress (Ronald Wright), which says our global civilization was not arrived at by the steady progress we mythologize, and very predictably faces serious trouble ahead.

    I started 122 fiction works in 2022, had to DNF 6, finished the rest of the novels/novellas (just 1 re-read this year), and read over half the short stories in each of the short story collections (which is my goal for those). I also read 18 nonfiction books. Almost matched 2021’s pace overall, but got bogged down during a few books.

    Looking forward to in 2023: January – Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo, sequel to Ninth House, and Unraveller by the way underrated Frances Hardinge; March – Furious Heaven by Kate Elliott, sequel to Unconquerable Sun, and Salt on the Midnight Fire by Liz Williams, fourth Fallows sisters book; April – The Scourge Between Stars by Ness Brown, space horror; August – The Mirrored Heavens by Rebecca Roanhorse, sequel to Fevered Star, and Labyrinth’s Heart by M. A. Carrick, third in their Rook and Rose series; October – Alecto the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir’s delayed Locked Tomb finale, and Traitor of Redwinter by Ed McDonald, second in that series.

    • Katharine Ott /

      “Hild” was wonderful! The Rook and Rose series sounds intriguing.

      • Paul Connelly /

        There is supposed to be a sequel following Hild’s further life, but not sure when that’s coming out. The short novel Spear that came out last year is really not related, taking place several generations earlier but more in “mythic time”, where pagan gods are taking part in the narrative. Enjoyable, but lighter fare.

  8. The Distinguished Professor /

    In the next Foundation novel I read by Isaac Asimov, “Foundation and Earth” a seemingly idyllic time in the galaxy gives way to conflict between the First Foundation, Second Foundation and Gaia over who will rule the homeworld of humanity.

    • The Distinguished Professor /

      Ack, “Foundation’s Edge”, I mean. Not “Foundation and Earth”.

  9. Noneofyourbusiness /

    The first novel in the Babylon 5 trilogy The Passing of the Techno-mages is “Casting Shadows”, written by Jeanne Cavalos, who previously wrote the prequel “The Shadow Within”, and whom I met at one of the World Fantasy Conventions.

    While this is the third trilogy to be released after the TV series, unlike the Legions of Fire trilogy which is set post-series, this one begins back at the end of Season 1 / beginning of Season 2. The focus is on Galen, the techno-mage character prominent in the movie A Call to Arms and the spinoff series Crusade, and we learn a lot about the techno-mage training process and how Elric, from the episode “The Geometry of Shadows”, was Galen’s teacher, as well as how Galen and Isabelle met. Cavalos also follows up on “The Shadow Within” by having the Shadow vessel containing Anna Sheridan appear.

  10. Sethia /

    Brandon Sanderson’s first secret novel, Tress of The Emerald Sea.

  11. Lady Morar /

    “Op Verzoek van Onze Russische Vrienden” (“At the Request of Our Russian Friends”), a history by Feiko Postma in my native Dutch. It covers the story of thousands of women from Eastern European/Soviet Union countries who came to Holland after World War II, during which they had been so-called Ostarbeiterinnen (“eastern workers”) in Nazi Germany.

  12. Avshalom, if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks; a Tshirt, or a gift card, your choice of one. If your address is outside of the USA, you will get a $5 Amazon gift card.

    Happy reading!

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