Adair’s Top 5 Reads of 2022

As 2022 comes to a close, our writers reflect on the titles that meant the most to them.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

By Gabrielle Zevin

“It’s tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. It’s the possibility of infinite rebirth, infinite redemption. The idea that if you keep playing, you could win. No loss is permanent, because nothing is permanent, ever.”

I’m sure everyone has been recommended this book by someone in their life and for good reason. Zevin brings to life a complex relationship between Sam Masur and Sadie Green in a setting I never imagined I would be interested in; video game design. The novel spans 30 years as Sam and Sadie’s relationship transitions from acquaintances, to friendship to strangers to business partners to found family. Their passion and drive to create beautiful and interesting games in an ever-changing business makes for the perfect backdrop to accentuate their similarities and differences as they discover who they see themselves in the world and what that means for their future as partners and individuals.

Crying in H Mart

By Michelle Zauner

“Love was an action, an instinct, a response roused by unplanned moments and small gestures, an inconvenience in someone else’s favor.”

I will state, I was not emotionally prepared for this book when I started it on a plane. I must humbly suggest that you don’t read this book on a plane, specifically if you like either of your parents because you will most likely cry in front of strangers and I cannot be held responsible. Michelle Zauner’s voice feels poetic as she reflects on her complicated dynamic with her parents as her family struggles with her mother’s cancer diagnosis. Zauner’s novel delves into the complicated nature of grief and how it expands as well as shuts down relationships and leads us to reflect on our choices and what we deem important. In a particular twist that I couldn’t predict, it is revealed that Zauner is the lead singer of the band Japanese Breakfast which I was ashamed at myself for not realizing.

Firekeeper’s Daughter

By Angeline Boulley

“I’m reminded that our Elders are our greatest resource, embodying culture, and community. Their stories connect us to our language, medicines, land, Clans, songs, and traditions. They are a bridge between the Before and the Now, guiding those of us who will carry on in the Future.”

A mystery, a scandal, a family. Firekeeper’s Daughter follows Daunis Fontaine, a biracial and unenrolled tribal member of the Ojibwa tribe. In the aftermath of the death of her best friend, Daunis is thrown into a criminal investigation that unearths secrets of her community and the deception of those around her. Boulley’s novel is a gorgeous study of tradition, identity and loss that kept me guessing until the bitter end.

One Two Three

By Laurie Frankel

“We don’t need something to have happened to talk about it, though. Teenage girls don’t get enough credit for this, their ability to see the potential import of everything, no matter how insignificant it seems, and analyze it endlessly. It’s written off—we’re written off—as silly, but it’s the opposite. We understand instinctively that change is slow. If you’re not paying attention, you’ll miss it.”

Mab, Monday, and Mirabel Mitchell are beloved  triplets living in Bourne, a town with a tragic past that is facing a new obstacle. Seventeen years prior, Bourne’s river turned green with chemical pollution courtesy of the local factory leading to the deaths of many residents and developmental difficulties for most of Bourne’s children. Now the factory is threatening to open once again. Frankel’s novel offers each sister’s beautiful narration as they uncover the mysteries of Bourne while trying to grapple with the fears of growing up. Frankel creates a beautiful story of sisterhood and community, allowing us to feel the hope of growing up and discovering yourself while still capturing the helplessness you feel as a teenage girl who is constantly being underestimated.

Sea of Tranquility

By Emily St. Mandel

“This is the strange lesson of living in a pandemic: life can be tranquil in the face of death.”

Emily St. Mandel has created a parallel universe that might be my favorite in modern literary fiction. Her novel Station Eleven blended our known reality, a pandemic (written pre-Covid which made it even more chilling) and a graphic novel that ties unlikely characters together. Similarly, Sea of Tranquility focuses on the connecting thread of several characters through time travel. In many ways it feels like a spiritual twin to her last novel, The Glass Hotel, as we return to many of the character’s stories where they were left off, but it blazes its own path as it connects the dots to one moment that changes the course of many lives and asks the question: Was it manufactured or was it destiny?

Honorable Mention:
This year I found myself devouring a majority of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novels. For those who haven’t been to a bookstore in 2022, Reid is the author of Malibu Rising, Daisy Jones & The Six, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Carrie Soto is Back (among others). Reid often interconnects her stories and has built a community of characters that expands decades and makes for delightful payoffs to emotionally invested readers.

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