In 2022 I read 34 books (-19% on last year).

In 2021 roughly a quarter of the books I read were written by women. I was determined to push that ratio in 2022, so I made an effort to try and only read books by women. I knew that I wouldn't manage that, but by trying to, I did get the ratio up to 58% (by page count).

I'm not sure what will happen in 2023. My to-read pile has some back-pressure from books by male authors I postponed reading in 2022 (in particular new works by Christopher Priest and Adam Roberts). It's possible the ratio will swing back the other way, which would mean it would not be worth repeating the experiment. At least if the ratio is the point of the exercise. But perhaps it isn't: perhaps the useful outcome is more qualitative than quantitative.

I tried to read some new (to me) authors. I really enjoyed Shirley Jackson (The Haunting of Hill House, We Have Always Lived In The Castle). I Struggled with Angela Carter's Heroes and Villains although I plan to return to her other work, in particular, The Bloody Chamber. I also got through Donna Tartt's The Secret History on the recommendation of a friend. I had to push through the first 15% or so but it turned out to be worth it.

a book cover for Shirley Jackson's 'We have always lived in the castle'
a book cover for Margaret Atwood's 'The Handmaid's Tale'
a book cover for Adam Roberts' 'The This'
a book cover for Emily St. John Mandel's 'Sea of Tranquility'

I finally read (and loved) The Handmaid's Tale, which I had never read despite loving Atwood.

My top non-fiction book was The Nanny State Made Me by Stuart Maconie. I still read far more fiction than non-fiction. Or perhaps I'm not keeping track of non- fiction as well. I feel non-fiction requires a different approach to reading: not necessarily linear; it's not always important to read the whole book; it's often important to re-read sections. It might not make sense to consider them in the same bracket.

My favourite novels this year were Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel, a standalone sort-of sequel to The Glass House but in a very different genre; and The This by Adam Roberts, which was equally remarkable. The This has an interesting narrative device in the first third where a stream of tweets is presented in parallel with the main text. This works well, and does a good job of capturing the figurative river of tweet-like stuff that is woven into our lives at the moment. But I can't help but wonder how they tackle that in the audiobook.