The Ultimate Best Books of 2022 List

Reading All the Lists So You Don’t Have to Since 2017

By Emily Temple


December 19, 2022 (lithub.com)

Another year of books comes to a close, and with it, the obligatory frantic listmaking—which at its best may inspire reminiscing, reconsidering, and excellent gift-purchasing, but at its worst may inspire hurt feelings, overwhelm, and doom-scrolling. But I’m not here to judge, or to save us. I’m just here to count.

So here at the end, as is annual Literary Hub tradition, you will find the big list of lists—aka the biggest popularity contest in books (probably). This year, I worked through 35 lists from 29 publications (yes, there are even more lists out there, but we’re all going to die some day), tallying a total of 887 books. 84 books were highlighted on 4 or more lists, and I have collated those for you here, in descending order of frequency. Read, enjoy, and try not to feel bad:

14 lists:

Hernan Diaz, Trust
Gabrielle Zevin, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
Ed Yong, An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us

12 lists:

Jennifer Egan, The Candy House
Jonathan Escoffery, If I Survive You
Namwali Serpell, The Furrows

11 lists:

Margo Jefferson, Constructing a Nervous System: A Memoir

10 lists:

Tess Gunty, The Rabbit Hutch
Hua Hsu, Stay True: A Memoir
Celeste Ng, Our Missing Hearts

9 lists:

Rachel Aviv, Strangers to Ourselves: Unsettled Minds and the Stories That Make Us
Kate Beaton, Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands
Julia May Jonas, Vladimir
Emily St. John Mandel, Sea of Tranquility
Kathryn Schulz, Lost & Found

8 lists:

Elif Batuman, Either/Or
Chloé Cooper Jones, Easy Beauty: A Memoir
Barbara Kingsolver, Demon Copperhead
Yiyun Li, The Book of Goose
Sarah Thankham Mathews, All This Could be Different

7 lists:

Amy Bloom, In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss
Jessamine Chan, The School for Good Mothers
Abdulrazak Gurnah, Afterlives
R.F. Kuang, Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution
Elizabeth McCracken, The Hero of This Book
Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Song of the Cell: An Exploration of Medicine and the New Human
George Saunders, Liberation Day
Stacy Schiff, The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams

6 lists:

NoViolet Bulawayo, Glory
Ada Calhoun, Also a Poet: Frank O’Hara, My Father, and Me
Bonnie Garmus, Lessons in Chemistry
Jennette McCurdy, I’m Glad My Mom Died
Leila Mottley, Nightcrawling
Meghan O’Rourke, The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness
Elizabeth Strout, Lucy by the Sea
Douglas Stuart, Young Mungo
Olga Tokarczuk, tr. Jennifer Croft, The Books of Jacob
Nghi Vo, Siren Queen
Elizabeth Williamson, Sandy Hook: An American Tragedy and the Battle for Truth

5 lists:

Claire-Louise Bennett, Checkout 19
Margaret A. Burnham, By Hands Now Known: Jim Crow’s Legal Executioners
Isabel Cañas, The Hacienda
John Darnielle, Devil House
Annie Ernaux, tr. Alison L. Strayer, Getting Lost
Xochitl Gonzalez, Olga Dies Dreaming
Pekka Hämäläinen, Indigenous Continent: The Epic Contest for North America
Ling Ma, Bliss Montage: Stories
Ian McEwan, Lessons
Lydia Millet, Dinosaurs
Sequoia Nagamatsu, How High We Go In the Dark
Maggie O’Farrell, The Marriage Portrait
Fintan O’Toole, We Don’t Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Modern Ireland
Imani Perry, South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation
Morgan Tatly, Night of the Living Rez
Yoko Tawada, tr. Margaret Mitsutani, Scattered All Over the Earth
Linda Villarosa, Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation
Kevin Wilson, Now is Not the Time to Panic
Javier Zamora, Solito: A Memoir

4 lists:

Kate Atkinson, Shrines of Gaiety
Isaac Butler, The Method: How the Twentieth Century Learned to ACT
Ingrid Rojas Contreras, The Man Who Could Move Clouds: A Memoir
Angie Cruz, How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water
Viola Davis, Finding Me: A Memoir
Rob Delaney, A Heart That Works
Akwaeke Emezi, You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty
Percival Everett, Dr. No
Jonathan Freedland, The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World
Kim Fu, Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century
Beverly Gage, G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century
Kerri K. Greenidge, The Grimkes: The Legacy of Slavery in an American Family
James Hannaham, Didn’t Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta
Emily Henry, Book Lovers
Adam Hochschild, American Midnight: The Great War, a Violent Peace, and Democracy’s Forgotten Crisis
Mieko Kawakami, tr. Sam Bett & David Boyd All the Lovers in the Night
Dahlia Lithwick, Lady Justice: Women, the Law, and the Battle to Save America
Cormac McCarthy, The Passenger
Joanna Quinn, The Whalebone Theatre
Deanna Raybourn, Killers of a Certain Age
Mary Rodgers and Jesse Green, Shy: The Alarmingly Outspoken Memoirs of Mary Rodgers
Katherine Rundell, Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne
Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa, His Name is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice
Dani Shapiro, Signal Fires
Emma Straub, This Time Tomorrow
Lea Ypi, Free: A Child and a Country at the End of History

List of lists surveyed:

The New York Times’100 Notable Books of 2022 • The New York Times’10 Best Books of 2022 • TIME’100 Must-Read Books of 2022 • Barnes & Noble’s Best Books of the Year 2022 • The Washington Post’50 notable works of fiction • The Washington Post’50 notable works of nonfiction •The Washington Post’10 Best Books of 2022 • Entertainment Weekly’Best Books of 2022 • Vulture’s Best Books of 2022 • The New York Public Library’s Best Books for Adults 2022 • Publishers Weekly’s Best Books 2022 • Kirkus’s Best Fiction Books of the Year • Kirkus’s Best Nonfiction Books of the Year • The New Yorker’Best Books of 2022 • Oprah Daily’s Favorite Books of the Year • The Chicago Tribune’10 Best Books of 2022 • The Los Angeles Times’20 Best Books of 2022 • Slate’s 10 Best Books of 2022 (Laura Miller) • Slate’s 10 Best Books of 2022 (Dan Kois) • BuzzFeed’s 25 Books From 2022 You’ll Love • USA Today’Best Books of 2022 • BookRiot’s Best Books of 2022 • Goop’s 6 Best Books of 2022 • Reader’s Digest’s 10 Best Books of 2022 • Vox’s 16 best books of 2022 • The Marginalian’s Favorite Books of 2022 • Powell’s Best Books of 2022 • Foreign Affairs’ The Best of Books 2022 • The Philadelphia Inquirer’Best books of 2022 • NPR’s Best Books 2022 (Maureen Corrigan) • NPR’s Notable books from 2022 according to our critics • Tor.com’s Reviewers’ Choice: The Best Books of 2022 • Amazon’s Best Books of 2022 • People’Top 10 Books of 2022 • and of course, Literary Hub’s 38 Favorite Books of 2022.

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