The best books I read in 2022
Without further ado, the best books I read in 2022:
Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin follows the winding journey of two friends who make computer games together. Full of reversals and insight, this is the best novel I’ve ever read about the manifold complexities of creative partnership. I’m recommending it widely and enthusiastically.
Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins is a batshit crazy epic that reads like an acid trip of uncommon strength, scope, and clarity. It’s a lot—an ancient king who learns the secrets of immortality, Seattle waitresses seducing each other, whale masks, chemistry experiments, Greek gods, Mardi Gras, counterintuitive wisdom, sex, geniuses, hucksters, and nymphs—and it’s a lot of fun. Robbins is a master of line-level writing: his prose vibrates with energy and imagination.
How to Write One Song by Jeff Tweedy uses the lens of songwriting to offer a unique, compelling perspective on creativity. A beautiful and empowering little book for anyone making anything—fuel for your creative endeavors.
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel is a compelling and insightful novel following Thomas Cromwell’s improbable rise to power in the court of Henry VIII. Mantel brings the psychology of ambition, intrigue, and high politics to vivid life, leaving you with a deeper understanding of the invisible forces at work behind the headlines.
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler is the most profoundly optimistic apocalyptic novel I’ve ever read. Poetic, moving, wise—a masterpiece that seems impossible until you experience it. Butler wrangles utopia from dystopia.
Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson is a fascinating intellectual history of progress that will ignite your curiosity and stoke your sense of wonder—a multitool for thought. Johnson is so interesting because he is so interested, mining famous and obscure examples of innovation, constantly zooming in and out, and bringing diverse lenses to bear on how humans invent the future.
Stardust by Neil Gaiman is a perfect fairytale for adults. It follows a boy who sets out on a quest into the faerie forest bordering his ordinary village, and evolves into a grand adventure brimming with magic, adversity, courage, imagination, and self-discovery. Sure to spark your sense of wonder.
The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón is a twisted psychological thriller about a writer in early 20th century Barcelona whose unwavering ambition leads him into a gothic shadow-world from which there is no escape. Profound, unpredictable, and supremely entertaining, this is a novel that will keep you reading late into the night, and that you won’t soon forget.
The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel is by far the best book I’ve ever read about personal finance. Housel uses compelling anecdotes, rigorous analysis, and cutting humor to illuminate how you should manage your money to get the most out of it, and out of life. I gift this book often to friends and family.
The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler is a gripping near-future thinker-thriller that offers the reader one of fiction’s greatest gifts: new ways of seeing. There is so much fun to be had in these pages—secret islands, drone swarms, spiraling intrigue, rogue scientists, and more octopuses than the cover leads you to expect—and this is one of those rare stories where fun and depth not only coexist, but reenforce each other: the adventure will suck you in for its own sake and spit you out mind reeling with fresh ideas and heart expanding to find ever more empathy not just for other people, but other species.
The best book I published in 2022:
Reap3r follows a quantum computer scientist, virologist, podcaster, venture capitalist, and assassin who come together to untangle a twisted enigma that will change the course of future history. Writing Reap3r was the biggest creative challenge I’ve taken on. I poured everything I have into this novel, and I hope you’ll agree it’s my best work yet.
Thanks for reading. We all find our next favorite book because someone we trust recommends it. So when you fall in love with a story, tell your friends. Culture is a collective project in which we all have a stake and a voice.
Eliot Peper is the author of Reap3r, Veil, Breach, Borderless, Bandwidth, Neon Fever Dream, Cumulus, Exit Strategy, Power Play, and Version 1.0. He also consults on special projects and tweets more than he probably should.
“A gleaming near-future thriller in the tradition of William Gibson and Neal Stephenson.”
-Robin Sloan, author of Sourdough and Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, on Reap3r