the editors of BookPage

Babel by R.F. Kuang

Set in an alternate Victorian Britain, R.F. Kuang’s standalone historical fantasy is an unforgiving examination of the cost of power.

Babel

Everywhere With You by Carlie Sorosiak, illustrated by Devon Holzwarth

Carlie Sorosiak and Devon Holzwarth’s flawless picture book rings with a tender truth: When you are with the ones you love, everywhere you go is home.

Everywhere With You by Carlie Sorosiak and Devon Holzwarth

Honey and Spice by Bolu Babalola

This enemies-­to-lovers romance set on a British university campus hums with Bolu Babalola’s energetic, intelligent voice.

Honey and Spice jacket

An Immense World by Ed Yong

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ed Yong’s nonfiction study of animal senses is an immersive, page-turning reading experience.

An Immense World book cover

In Love by Amy Bloom

Amy Bloom is known for examining the dynamics of intimacy in her fiction, but she has never gotten closer to the flame than in this memoir of her husband’s early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

In Love book jacket

Lolo’s Light by Liz Garton Scanlon

Liz Garton Scanlon’s compelling middle grade novel glows with empathy and understanding.

Lolo's Light by Liz Garton Scanlon book cover

Man o’ War by Cory McCarthy

This YA novel’s exploration of queer identity ferociously resists the idea that coming out is a simple or straightforward process.

Man O' War by Cory McCarthy

The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty

Despite its doomed Midwestern setting, Tess Gunty’s debut novel makes storytelling seem like the most fun a person can have.

The Rabbit Hutch book jacket

Trust by Hernan Diaz

Hernan Diaz’s second novel is a beautifully composed masterpiece that examines the insidious disparities between rich and poor, truth and fiction.

Trust book cover

Winter Work by Dan Fesperman

Dan Fesperman’s intense post-Cold War mystery savvily addresses both the personal and political pressures facing an East German spy.

Winter Work book cover

Discover more of BookPage’s Best Books of 2022.

2022 brought innumerable literary wonders, but as far as the year’s very best, we’ve narrowed it down to 10 outstanding titles.

Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah

The engrossing 10th novel from Nobel laureate Gurnah is filled with compassion and historical insight.

Afterlives book cover

All This Could Be Different by Sarah Thankam Mathews

Bitingly funny and sweetly earnest, Mathews’ debut is one of those rare novels that feels just like life.

All This Could Be Different

The Book of Goose by Yiyun Li

Not since Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend has a novel so deftly probed the magical and sometimes destructive friendships that can occur between two girls.

The Book of Goose

Calling for a Blanket Dance by Oscar Hokeah

When your heritage and ancestry are the reasons for your oppression, to whom can you turn in order to survive, but to family? Hokeah’s exceptional debut novel follows a Native American man’s life through the many leaves of his family tree.

Calling for a Blanket Dance

The Candy House by Jennifer Egan

Egan’s empathetic interest in human behavior is what drives The Candy House, making her companion novel to A Visit From the Goon Squad more than a literary experiment.

The Candy House

The Consequences by Manuel Muñoz

In this story collection, Muñoz forges a new Latinx narrative, wherein all aspects of Latinx life are displayed with richness and complexity.

Book jacket image for The Consequences by Manuel Munoz

Either/Or by Elif Batuman

Selin, the hero of Batuman’s The Idiot, returns with a voice that is more mature, reflective and droll.

Either Or book jacket

The Furrows by Namwali Serpell

Serpell’s award-winning debut novel, The Old Drift, was a genre-defying epic about three generations of Zambian families, and her purposely disconcerting follow-up will reinforce readers’ appreciation of her daring experimentation and keen talent.

Book jacket image for The Furrows by Namwali Serpell

How It Went by Wendell Berry

Taken together, the 13 stories in Berry’s How It Went create a tale that gently unwinds and doubles back on itself, not so much like a river but more like a flowering vine.

Book jacket image for How It Went by Wendell Berry

If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery

Escoffery’s connected stories offer an imaginative, fresh take on being a man and nonwhite immigrant in America.

If I Survive You book jacket

Lessons by Ian McEwan

This scathing, unsettling novel posits that knaves and heroes come in all guises.

Lessons cover

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Garmus’ devastating and funny debut novel blows the lid off simplistic myths about the 1950s.

Lessons in Chemistry book cover

Natural History by Andrea Barrett

The stories in Barrett’s dazzling collection demonstrate that while history distills events, fiction can bring messy humanity to life.

Natural History book cover

Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng

Ng is undoubtedly at the top of her game as she portrays an American society overcome by fear.

Our Missing Hearts book cover

The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty

Despite its doomed Midwestern setting, Gunty’s debut novel makes storytelling seem like the most fun a person can have.

The Rabbit Hutch book jacket

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

It’s impossible to predict how, exactly, you’ll fall in love with this novel, but it’s an eventuality you can’t escape.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow book cover

Trust by Hernan Diaz

Diaz’s second novel is a beautifully composed masterpiece that examines the insidious disparities between rich and poor, truth and fiction.

Trust book cover

Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart

Stuart’s follow-up to Shuggie Bain is a marvelous feat of storytelling, a mix of tender emotion and grisly violence.

Young Mungo book cover

Discover more of BookPage’s Best Books of 2022.

The year’s best fiction included a remarkable number of groundbreaking story collections—some deeply interconnected like Oscar Hokeah’s and Jonathan Escoffery’s, others bound mostly by theme and setting, such as Manuel Muñoz’s. We also reveled in several major releases from well-established authors, including Celeste Ng, Ian McEwan, Yiyun Li and Gabrielle Zevin.

Sophomore novels from Hernan Diaz, Namwali Serpell, Douglas Stuart and Elif Batuman surpassed the high bars of their debuts, and first-timers Tess Gunty, Sarah Thankam Mathews and Bonnie Garmus made a hell of a splash.

Also a Poet by Ada Calhoun

Calhoun’s biography of the poet Frank O’Hara unexpectedly transformed into an absorbing and insightful memoir about her father.


Free by Lea Ypi

Political scholar Ypi’s poignant, funny memoir views Albania’s journey out of socialism through a child’s eyes.


Half American by Matthew F. Delmont

Delmont provides a top-notch overview of the contributions of Black service members and civilians during WWII.

Book jacket image for Half American by Matthew F. Delmont

How to Read Now by Elaine Castillo

Castillo brilliantly argues that being a good reader means learning how to interrogate the stories all around us.

Book jacket image for How to Read Now by Elaine Castillo

An Immense World by Ed Yong

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Yong’s nonfiction study of animal senses is an immersive, page-turning reading experience.


In Love by Amy Bloom

Bloom is known for examining the dynamics of intimacy in her fiction, but she has never gotten closer to the flame than in this memoir of her husband’s early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

In Love book jacket

In the Shadow of the Mountain by Silvia Vasquez-Lavado

Unlike mountaineering memoirs that celebrate the individual, Vasquez-Lavado’s is intimately collaborative.

book jacket for In the Shadow of the Mountain

Inciting Joy by Ross Gay

Gay’s powerful and poetic sixth book asks: What incites joy? And more importantly, what does joy incite in us?

Inciting Joy by Ross Gay

The Invisible Kingdom by Meghan O’Rourke

O’Rourke compassionately chronicles the rise of autoimmune disease alongside her own search for healing.


Last Call at the Hotel Imperial by Deborah Cohen

Historian Cohen brilliantly captures the complicated lives of America’s most influential interwar journalists.


The Man Who Could Move Clouds by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Rojas Contreras makes the history of Colombia immediate and personal.


Raising Lazarus by Beth Macy

Macy’s follow-up to Dopesick ​​will radically change your opinions on the opioid crisis.

Raising Lazarus by Beth Macy

Red Paint by Sasha LaPointe

LaPointe offers a poetic narrative of trauma and healing through ancestral rites and punk rock.


The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams by Stacy Schiff

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Schiff vividly renders an essential Founding Father: Samuel Adams.


River of the Gods by Candice Millard

In this unforgettable history of the Nile, European explorers’ egos loom godlike, but East African guides save lives.


The Song of the Cell by Siddhartha Mukherjee

This captivating book from Pulitzer Prize winner Mukherjee explores how cellular engineering can reshape medicine.


South to America by Imani Perry

In a vibrant blend of travelogue, memoir and cultural history, Perry shows the South’s iniquity and beauty.


Stay True by Hua Hsu

Hsu’s remarkable memoir examines the reverberations of a friendship frozen in time by untimely death.

Stay True by Hua Hsu

Strangers to Ourselves by Rachel Aviv

This stunning book profiles people whose experiences of mental illness exceed the limits of Western psychiatry.


Tell Me Everything by Erika Krouse

Krouse’s compelling, highly personal account of a landmark Title IX case reads like a detective novel.


This Is Not a Book About Benedict Cumberbatch by Tabitha Carvan

Carvan makes an excellent case for embracing what you like and the delight it brings—no shame allowed.

Jacket of This Is Not a Book About Benedict Cumberbatch by Tabitha Carvan

Under the Skin by Linda Villarosa

Villarosa’s wonderfully written book makes stunning points about the health risks of racism.

Book jacket image for Under the Skin by Linda Villarosa

Virology by Joseph Osmundson

Sparkling prose, glittering insights and accessible writing make this one of the best science books of the year.


Discover more of BookPage’s Best Books of 2022.

This year’s best nonfiction books ran the gamut from timely to timeless. Meghan O’Rourke, Siddhartha Mukherjee and Linda Villarosa broke new ground in our understanding of illness. Memoirs by fiction writers including Amy Bloom, Ingrid Rojas Contreras and Erika Krouse told gripping true stories with a novelist’s flair. And beloved favorites such as Ed Yong, Ross Gay and Stacy Schiff rose to meet their fans’ high expectations.

Blood Sugar by Sascha Rothchild

Promising Young Woman meets “Dexter” in this highly suspenseful and strangely empowering thriller from an Emmy-nominated screenwriter.

Blood Sugar jacket

The Cage by Bonnie Kistler

Part locked-room mystery, part legal thriller, The Cage is tailor-made to be read in one breathless session.

The Cage jacket

Geiger by Gustaf Skördeman

Geiger is a truly excellent first novel: deeply researched, painstakingly crafted and thrilling on every page.

Geiger jacket

The Half Life of Valery K by Natasha Pulley

With unexpected twists, a paranoid atmosphere and a fascinating narrator, The Half Life of Valery K is a superb work of historical fiction and an excellent mystery.

The Half Life of Valery K jacket

Lavender House by Lev AC Rosen

Mystery lovers will be thoroughly entertained by this thoughtful noir that examines midcentury LGBTQ+ life through a cast of dynamic characters.

Lavender House jacket

Little Sister by Gytha Lodge

A teenage girl covered in blood interrupts Detective Chief Inspector Jonah Sheens’ afternoon pint—and Gytha Lodge’s mystery only gets more unpredictable from there.

Little Sister jacket

Sometimes People Die by Simon Stephenson

Simon Stephenson’s darkly hilarious Sometimes People Die harks back to classic English satire a la Kingsley Amis or Evelyn Waugh—just with more murder.

Sometimes People Die jacket

Winter Work by Dan Fesperman

Dan Fesperman’s intense post-Cold War mystery savvily addresses both the personal and political pressures facing an East German spy.

Winter Work book cover

The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

Readers are treated to an inventive and expertly crafted mystery-within-a-mystery in Sulari Gentill’s The Woman in the Library.

The Woman in the Library jacket

You’re Invited by Amanda Jayatissa

This thoroughly satisfying and beautifully plotted thriller deconstructs the trope of the crazy ex-girlfriend.

You're Invited jacket

Discover more of BookPage’s Best Books of 2022.

2022 was a year marked by meta mysteries, Cold War thrillers and complicated women.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

The delightful Book Lovers both dismantles and celebrates the “career woman” archetype.

Book Lovers

A Curse of Queens by Amanda Bouchet

In her fourth Kingmaker Chronicles book, Bouchet continues to strike a perfect balance between world building and romance.

A Curse of Queens jacket

Honey and Spice by Bolu Babalola

This enemies-­to-lovers romance set on a British university campus hums with Bolu Babalola’s energetic, intelligent voice.

Honey and Spice jacket

Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey

This fabulous friends-to-lovers rom-com feels authentic every step of the way.

Hook, Line, and Sinker jacket

A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall 

The king of the rom-com conquers the Regency with an angsty historical romance.

A Lady for a Duke

Love & Other Disasters by Anita Kelly

The only bad thing about Kelly’s wonderful foodie romance is that after you’ve gulped it down, you’ll want more.

Love & Other Disasters jacket

Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez

Jimenez’s special blend of humor and angst is polished to perfection in the fairy tale-esque Part of Your World.

Part of Your World jacket

The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes by Cat Sebastian

Subversive yet satisfying, Sebastian’s latest breaks new ground for historical romance.

The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes jacket

The Redemption of Philip Thane by Lisa Berne

Berne’s Groundhog Day-inspired love story is a clever addition to the canon of “rake redemption” romances.

The Redemption of Philip Thane jacket

You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

Emezi’s first romance novel is a hot and sultry exploration of love and grief.

You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty

Discover more of BookPage’s Best Books of 2022.

2022 was a year of spectacular debuts, groundbreaking historical romances and, of course, HEAs aplenty.

All the Seas of the World  by Guy Gavriel Kay

Kay tells small stories of hope and resilience in an expansive fantasy world modeled on the Renaissance era.

All the Seas of the World by Guy Gavriel Kay

Babel by R.F. Kuang

Set in an alternate Victorian Britain, R.F. Kuang’s standalone historical fantasy is an unforgiving examination of the cost of power.

Babel jacket

The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean

Dean’s deliciously dark debut is a haunting story that’s part fairy tale and part nightmare.

The Book Eaters jacket

Juniper & Thorn by Ava Reid

Inspired by Eastern European history and folklore, this fantasy novel is a tender love story as well as a chilling tale of escape from abuse.

Juniper & Thorn by Ava Reid jacket

Leech by Hiron Ennes

Dark and horrifying, Leech is perfect for readers who wish that Wuthering Heights had been more like Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation.

Leech by Hiron Ennes jacket

The Maker of Swans  by Paraic O’Donnell

If you like beautiful things, read The Maker of Swans, an enthralling dance over the line between literary fiction and magical fantasy.

The Maker of Swans jacket

Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher

This dark fantasy starring a possessed chicken and a feminist avenger represents the burgeoning “hopepunk” ethos at its finest.

Nettle & Bone jacket

A Restless Truth by Freya Marske

Marske’s second historical fantasy is a stunning, sensual love story wrapped in an exciting murder mystery.

A Restless Truth jacket

Sign Here by Claudia Lux

Sign Here is both a hilarious reimagining of Hell as a corporate nightmare and a painfully realistic exploration of morality in the modern world.

Book jacket image for Sign Here by Claudia Lux

Thistlefoot by GennaRose Nethercott

Inspired by traditional tales of Baba Yaga, Nethercott’s Thistlefoot is a weird and wonderful triumph.

Book jacket image for Thistlefoot by GennaRose Nethercott

Discover more of BookPage’s Best Books of 2022.

There is probably no better way to sum up 2022 than to say it was a year dominated by both horror and hopepunk—sometimes even in the same book.

All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir

With this story of two teens desperate to leave their small town, Tahir proves she’s just as skilled at contemporary fiction as she is at epic fantasy.

All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir

Beating Heart Baby by Lio Min

This epic tale of queer validation is an essential read for anyone searching for a blueprint of their soul.

Beating Heart Baby by Lio Min

The Epic Story of Every Living Thing by Deb Caletti

Introspective and profoundly engaged, Caletti’s new novel embraces imperfection and inspires empathy.

The Epic Story of Every Living Thing by Deb Caletti book cover

Hopepunk by Preston Norton

Norton’s stellar novel might be the most punk rock book ever written about religion and forgiveness.


I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

The most impressive accomplishment in McQuiston’s first YA book is complicated Shara Wheeler herself.

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

Man o’ War by Cory McCarthy

This exploration of queer identity ferociously resists the idea that coming out is a simple or straightforward process.

Man O' War by Cory McCarthy

Nothing Burns as Bright as You by Ashley Woodfolk

Woodfolk plumbs the depths of friendship and first love—and the grief that often comes with navigating both.

Nothing Burns as Bright as You by Ashley Woodfolk

Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf

Against the backdrop of a cutthroat Scrabble tournament, Alkaf explores loss, celebrates teen determination and sets up a nail-biting mystery.

Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf

Squire by Sara Alfageeh and Nadia Shammas

This heart-pounding fantasy graphic novel is filled with silly banter and fast-paced battles.

Squire by Nadia Shammas and Sara Alfageeh

We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds

Hammonds takes on two challenges—exploring the ugly legacy of racism and telling a moving love story—and succeeds at both.

Book jacket image for We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds

A Year to the Day by Robin Benway

A Year to the Day is simultaneously gut-wrenching and heartening, as grief and love so often are.

A Year to the Day by Robin Benway

Discover more of BookPage’s Best Books of 2022.

By the end of a YA book, we have watched as a teenage protagonist has taken a critical step from childhood toward adulthood. In the year’s best YA novels, no two of those steps were alike except for how honored we felt to witness them.

A Comb of Wishes by Lisa Stringfellow

In her beguiling debut, Stringfellow shows how fantasy tales can be more true than ordinary life.


Different Kinds of Fruit by Kyle Lukoff

This remarkable novel will be as meaningful to today’s young people as Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret was for earlier generations.

Different Kinds of Fruit by Kyle Lukoff

A Duet for Home by Karina Yan Glaser

Never forgetting the complexities of her characters’ lives, Glaser infuses A Duet for Home with sweetness and optimism.

A Duet for Home by Karina Yan Glaser

Golden Girl by Reem Faruqi

In spare, carefully chosen words, Faruqi builds an absorbing drama that rings with authenticity and emotion.

Golden Girl by Reem Faruqi

Hummingbird by Natalie Lloyd

With exceptional style and empathy, Hummingbird addresses weighty themes in a jubilant yet realistic way.

Hummingbird by Natalie Lloyd book cover

Invisible by Christina Diaz Gonzalez, illustrated by Gabriela Epstein

This cleverly conceived graphic novel celebrates both individuality and community while transcending language barriers.

Invisible by Christina Diaz Gonzalez and Gabriela Epstein book cover

The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat

The Last Mapmaker brims with adventure, surprises and action that moves faster than a ship under full sail.

The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat

Lolo’s Light by Liz Garton Scanlon

Liz Garton Scanlon’s compelling middle grade novel glows with empathy and understanding.

Lolo's Light by Liz Garton Scanlon book cover

A Seed in the Sun by Aida Salazar

This historical novel in verse is a skillfully crafted look at the life of a child working in dangerous conditions.

Book jacket image for A Seed in the Sun by Aida Salazar

Tumble by Celia C. Pérez

Tumble movingly reminds readers that sometimes heroes (and villains) are not who they seem—both in life and in a wrestling ring.

Tumble by Celia C. Perez book cover

Discover more of BookPage’s Best Books of 2022.

It’s a complicated, amazing world out there. The year’s best middle grade books find complexity and beauty in the great wide unknown—and within the hearts of their protagonists.

Berry Song by Michaela Goade

In her debut as an author, Caldecott Medalist Goade imbues nature with an enchanting, otherworldly beauty.

Book jacket image for Berry Song by Michaela Goade

Emile and the Field by Kevin Young, illustrated by Chioma Ebinama

This impressionistic story highlights the importance of having a place to relax, roam and be yourself.

Emile and the Field by Kevin Young and Chioma Ebinama

Everywhere With You by Carlie Sorosiak, illustrated by Devon Holzwarth

Carlie Sorosiak and Devon Holzwarth’s flawless picture book rings with a tender truth: When you are with the ones you love, everywhere you go is home.

Everywhere With You by Carlie Sorosiak and Devon Holzwarth

Farmhouse by Sophie Blackall

Two-time Caldecott Medalist Blackall offers a sophisticated, openhearted ode to what truly makes a house a home.

Farmhouse by Sophie Blackall book cover

John’s Turn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Kate Berube

This wise, warm picture book explores the abundant and everyday courage of children with a light touch.

John's Turn by Mac Barnett and Kate Berube

Knight Owl by Christopher Denise

In this tale of dreams, dragons and determination, a tiny owl becomes an unexpected hero.

Knight Owl by Christopher Denise

The Legend of Gravity by Charly Palmer

This riveting rocket of a tall tale makes readers feel like they have courtside seats to an epic basketball game.


Love in the Library by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, illustrated by Yas Imamura

Based on the life of the author’s grandparents, this exquisite piece of historical fiction is a love story for the ages.


Maya’s Song by Renée Watson, illustrated by Bryan Collier

Through lyrical poems and lavish artwork, Maya’s Song creates a moving biography of Maya Angelou.

Maya's Song by Renee Watson and Bryan Collier book cover

Monsters in the Fog by Ali Bahrampour

Understated humor has never been so laugh-out-loud funny as in this perfectly paced, playful picture book.

Monsters in the Fog by Ali Bahrampour

Discover more of BookPage’s Best Books of 2022.

The year’s best picture books reveal the power of simplicity—the perfectly placed word, the stroke of a paintbrush at just the right spot—to capture the most complex of emotions and stories. In other words, they’re exquisite.

The Angel of Rome by Jess Walter, read by Edoardo Ballerini & Julia Whelan

Ballerini and Whelan infuse Walter’s engaging, heartwarming stories with warmth and surprise.

The Angel of Rome audiobook cover

Gathering Blossoms Under Fire by Alice Walker, edited by Valerie Boyd, read by Aunjanue Ellis & Janina Edwards

Gathering Blossoms Under Fire makes for an insightful and intriguing audiobook. The best part: Walker reads the postscript, emphasizing the personal nature of publicizing her journals.

Gathering Blossoms Under Fire audiobook

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston, read by Natalie Naudus

Naudus voices more than a half-dozen significant characters in McQuiston’s young adult debut, imparting individuality and personality to teens embracing a variety of identities.

I Kissed Shara Wheeler audiobook cover

In Love by Amy Bloom, read by the author

Bloom’s narration of her memoir is simple and even-keeled, except for small cracks in her voice during the narrative’s most harrowing moments.

In Love audiobook cover

Inciting Joy by Ross Gay, read by the author

Gay reads his book in a comforting, softly gravelly voice, inviting us to consider not only joy but also every emotion around it, including sorrow and rage. 

Inciting Joy audiobook cover

Liberation Day by George Saunders, read by a full cast

Through the triumphant performances of an all-star cast of comedians and actors, Saunders’ short story collection transforms into a darkly funny audiobook with a satirical yet redemptive twist. 

Book jacket image for Liberation Day by George Saunders

The Milky Way by Moiya McTier, read by the author

McTier’s down-to-earth style makes science approachable, giving listeners the opportunity to form their own romance with the Milky Way.

Book jacket image for The Milky Way by Moiya McTier

Run, Rose, Run by James Patterson & Dolly Parton, read by a full cast

With narration from country stars Dolly Parton and Kelsea Ballerini, Run, Rose, Run is a must-listen ensemble audiobook.

Run Rose Run audiobook cover

This Is Not a Book About Benedict Cumberbatch by Tabitha Carvan, read by Tanya Schneider

Voice actor Schneider convincingly articulates Carvan’s argument that women need to share their passions publicly. Both funny and profound, this is a deeply enjoyable audiobook.

This Is Not a Book About Benedict Cumberbatch audiobook cover

Discover more of BookPage’s Best Books of 2022.

This was an outstanding year for audiobooks, from seamless cast productions to heartfelt performances by author-narrators.

Two of the weepiest BookPage editors share a few of their favorite 2022 audiobooks, read masterfully by the authors, that deliver all the emotion.

★ Inciting Joy

For readers invested in learning more about communities of care—informal collectives centered on the praxis of love—Ross Gay’s sixth book, Inciting Joy (Hachette Audio, 8.5 hours), is essential. The poet and essayist reads his own book in a comforting, softly gravelly voice, inviting us to consider not only joy but also every emotion around it, including sorrow and rage. Such wholeness is a matter of survival, Gay urges, and to allow for it is an elemental act of care both for ourselves and the people we love.

—Cat, Deputy Editor

Read more: Ross Gay shares how he hopes Inciting Joy will make you feel.


★ In Love

What a gift it is when writers transform their sorrow into art. In Love (5 hours), Amy Bloom’s memoir of her marriage, is just such a gift. The book moves back and forth between her initial years of boisterous happiness with her husband, Brian, and later, Brian’s diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. 

As Bloom narrates the process of helping Brian seek a medically assisted suicide before his mental faculties had fully declined, you can feel the urgency bound up with the author’s grief. The prose is restrained, creating a sturdy foundation for the memoir’s emotional heft. Likewise, Bloom’s narration is simple and even-keeled, except for small cracks in her voice during the narrative’s most harrowing moments. In Love shows, more powerfully than any other memoir this year, that love and grief are two sides of the same coin.

—Christy, Associate Editor

Read our starred review of the print edition of In Love.


I’m Glad My Mom Died

Before her confessional memoir became an instant bestseller, Jennette McCurdy was best known for her role as a child star in Nickelodeon’s “iCarly.” In I’m Glad My Mom Died (Simon & Schuster Audio, 6.5 hours), she offers an honest look at how her mom coerced her into entering the acting world at only 6 years old—and how this was only one of many deeply damaging manipulations. As McCurdy unpacks years of childhood abuse, her narration moves along at quite a clip—at several points, I double-checked to make sure I wasn’t playing the book at 1.5 speed—but is still crystal clear. This swift pacing brings an almost upbeat, childlike (and thus, profoundly heartbreaking) spirit to the telling. It also makes the moments when she slows down to conjure the volatile voices of her mother and other characters all the more crushing.

—Cat, Deputy Editor

It’s an unavoidable fact that sometimes listening to an outstanding audiobook means crying in public with your headphones in.

Sign Up

Stay on top of new releases: Sign up for our enewsletters to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres.

Trending Features

Sign Up

Sign up to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres!