Books I read in 2022
These are the books I finished reading, for the first time, in 2022. I’ve included a few notes.
Crossroads, by Jonathan Franzen. This was a good read.
Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee. This was my second favorite book of the year. It felt real to me, in what I might expect to feel in Korea and in Kansai and in Kanto during those times—actually quite a long time span covered by this novel.
Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier. I read this at around the same time I made a trip with a couple loops through this part of the country. The story kept driving along, and it had a few fantastical bits that seemed a bit out of place. But hey, it’s fiction, and looking back on it now, for that type of journey at that time, a bit of fantastical bits don’t seem so strange.
A History of Japan, by Mason and Caiger. I bought this book sixteen years ago and finally read it. Japan has a long history. It took me a long time to read this book.
The Guardians, by John Grisham. Every now and then I read a John Grisham book. And every time I do, my mind wanders back to reading A Time to Kill on a school break in Borrego Springs.
Ford County, by John Grisham. Ok, how to classify this one? I read it, and halfway through I realized that I’d actually read it before, maybe a decade or so ago. So this doesn’t quite count for my list of books I finished reading for the first time in 2022. But I thought I’d put it on the list anyway, because if I could read the first few stories and not remember that I’d read them before, well, I’m going to give myself credit for that.
Conquest: Montezuma, Cortés and the Fall of Old Mexico, by Hugh Thomas. This was my favorite book of the year. I had no idea that there was such a written record of this time. This book was extraordinary.
An Introduction to Environmental Biophysics, by Campbell and Norman. There’s all kinds of useful information in this book. I read it in the summer and made use of some of the environmental biophysics I learned from it immediately.
Novelist as a Vocation, by Haruki Marukami. I have enjoyed Marukami’s essays in the past and this book of essays was no exception. I particularly liked to read about his experience as an expatriate:
At a certain point in my career, I began to do a good deal of my writing abroad, the reason being that there were just too many trivial distractions in Japan. In a foreign country, I could focus on my work. It seems that for me, living elsewhere is especially helpful in the crucial early stages of a novel, when I am setting up my daily routine, establishing the kind of schedule I need to write. The first time I did this, in the late 1980s, I wasn’t sure at all I was making the right choice. Could I really survive under those conditions? I am a pretty nervy guy, but all the same I felt as if I were heading off to fight a decisive battle, burning bridges behind me as I went.
- The Master of Go, by Yasunari Kawabata. I enjoyed this one. It’s got lots of hot spring resorts. And it has a visit to the Kawana Hotel.