Sinead Crowley's Books of the Year 2022

Sinead Crowley’s Books of the Year 2022

As bookstores and libraries returned to full activity, 2022 proved to be a great year for nonfiction and biography. Meanwhile, Irish crime fiction continued its exceptionally strong streak, while TikTok launched a whole new conversation about books, placing refreshing emphasis on commercial and women’s literature.

Here are some of my personal favorites from 2022:

oasis – Emma Donoghue

This year’s release from the celebrated Irish author was a relatively quiet book, but no less impactful for its reserved tone. It is the story of a group of 7th-century monks who set up camp on the Skelligs but found that living a life devoted to God is not easy when struggling to survive on earth. My full review is here.

transgressions – Louise Kennedy

Already a bestseller fault has received numerous awards, most recently as Novel of the Year at the An Post Irish Book Awards. The novel tells the story of Cushla living in a small town outside of Belfast in the 1970s, but it’s both a love story, a ‘troubles novel’ and a fascinating family portrait. My full review is here.

book lover -Emily Henry

US author Emily Henry is “big on TikTok, but I actually got to her work through another app, Dublin City Libraries’ BorrowBox service. Henry writes what would be roughly described as “romantic fiction,” but like all good romance, this story has far more layers than a simple boy meets girl story. book lover depicts a flirtation between a literary agent and an editor and is hilarious reading, especially for anyone with an inside scoop on how the literary world works. book lover also deals with loss, grievance and moving on.

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London with love – Sarah Manning

A classic will they, won’t they tale set over two decades in London, itself a character in this charming novel? A must for anyone who remembers paisley shirts and wore Docs for the first time!

Carrie Soto is back —Taylor Jenkins Reid

Taylor Jenkins Reid first caught my eye because of her brilliant book. Daisy Jones and the Six set in the world of 1970s rock music. I adore books about music so I could sell them easily, and when I heard that her latest book was set in the world of competitive tennis, something I care little about, I wondered if this novel would pique my interest would way. Turns out I didn’t have to worry. Carrie Soto is raised by a widowed father who devotes all his energies to coaching and helping – or pushing – his talented daughter. – her on the road to tennis stardom. However, winning matches turns out to be the easy part of growing up. This is a well researched, exciting and really tender book.

thriller

Everyone loves a little intrigue about the turkey sandwiches, and one of my favorite books this year was The Grab With a will to kill,Anthony Horowitz’ final spin in Bond’s Aston Martin. This third Horowitz/Bond installation begins with M’s funeral – but who killed him? Add in spies, brainwashing and some excellent set pieces and you have a delightfully entertaining and surprisingly poignant novel that would make a better film than many of the Bond stories that actually made it to the big screen.

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Listen: Anthony Horowitz talks to Ryan Tubridy

The winter guest Irish author WC Ryan sees a story set in Ireland for the first time. It’s January 1921 and, of course, while the Great War in Europe is over, Ireland is still gripped by civil unrest. This is a chilling, beautifully written crime thriller with a big house and a real spirit – the perfect fireside read.

Speaking of chills, The last to go sees the Dublin author Jo Spain on her way to Finland and delivers us an atmospheric thriller with a lot of suspense, but also her characteristic lightness. My thriller of the year.

SHORT STORIES

homesickness by Colin Barrett is an outstanding collection telling stories of young men and women navigating modern day Ireland.

Funny, sensitive, and often poignant, these stories will have you shaking your head in recognition and wanting to go back for a second look.

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Listen: Colin Barrett reads from Homesickness for RTÉ Arena

NON-FICTION

Seán Hewitt was originally known as a poet, but his memoir All Down Darkness Wide is a superb piece of prose, the elegantly written memoir of a young gay man grappling first with his own needs and then with the devastating mental illness of his partner. I read this beautiful book in one go and thought about it for a long time afterwards.

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Listen: Sean Hewitt speaks to RTÉ Arena

Fierce appetite by Elizabeth Boyle

It’s hard to describe this book – is it a memory? A pandemic story, a scholarly work on medieval history? Fierce appetite is in fact all that and more. dr Elizabeth Boyle is a specialist in medieval Irish history and early Irish, daughter, mother and heavy metal fan and she brings all her interests to this fascinating collection of personal essays. Don’t try to explain it, just read it.

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Listen: Elizabeth Boyle talks to Ryan Tubridy

From Russia with blood – Heidi Blake

Events in Ukraine earlier this year prompted me to look for books to teach me more about Russia and Vladimir Putin and one of the most accessible ones I found was From Russia with blood by Heidi Blake. The book chronicles more than a dozen suspicious deaths over the past two decades and encapsulates the story’s strands in an engaging, journalistic style.

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The last good funeral of the year – Ed O’Loughlin

This book begins when journalist Ed O’Loughlin learns of the death of his ex-girlfriend, Charlotte. Such an event would be food for thought at any time, but Charlotte’s funeral will be in February 2020, making it the last gathering O’Loughlin will attend for many months. This thoughtful, moving, and often funny memoir follows a man through the long, strange months of 2020, but asks many universal questions about age, achievement, and acceptance.

time and tides – Charlie Bird with Ray Burke

Charlie Bird was the country’s best-known journalist during his years at RTE and maintained his profile after his retirement by continuing to air shows, podcasts and campaigns on issues such as the Stardust tragedy. However, his life took an unexpected and unwanted turn in late 2021 when he was diagnosed with motor neuron disease. This book is a compassionate and appropriately journalistic look at what happened, including the Climb with Charlie initiative, which raised over €3 million.

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And finally, in a twist, absolutely everyone who knows me saw it coming…

Give up – Good

“Buke What He Wrote Himself” is an engaging, confident, and genuinely funny account of a life spent in the public eye and the struggles a rock star went to to use his fame as currency. The printed book is a great read, but the audio version, read by the singer, has documentary-level production values ​​and raises the bar for music audio biographies. You can find my full review here, along with an interview with the man himself. Well, it’s Christmas!

I wish you a happy…


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