Women’s Prize 2022 Shortlist, Ranked & Reviewed

The Women’s Prize for Fiction is my favourite literary prize. I almost always enjoy any one of the shortlisted books or winners that I read. After making my way through all of the previous winners, last year I read all of the shortlisted books for 2021, and I’ve done the same again this year.

It’s an extremely strong field this year, with three books in particular that I would consider very worthy if they should win — but you couldn’t really go wrong with any of them. The Women’s Prize announces its winner this week (June 15), and I’ll definitely be looking forward to see which of these novels takes home the top honour.

Below is my ranking and reviews of all six of the shortlisted nominees:

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What I Read in January 2022

I swear I’ll use this blog for something other than to log my reading at some point. But it was a busy month of writing for work and so I wasn’t really in the mood to write for fun either (the biggest downside to having a job that involves a blog as well). It was a good month for books though, with two absolute standouts and several other good reads as well. I’m starting a massive House of Leaves reread this month, so I expect my reading numbers will be lower for February (totally fine! reading’s not a quantity game!) but in the meantime, here’s what I read in January:

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What I Read in June & July

Oops, I forgot to post this last month! So here’s a double-header of all the books I read in June and July. Some really fantastic ones in this batch, but there’s one that stands so far above the rest I’m putting it above the ‘read more’ line (also, it’s hard to categorise as either fiction or nonfiction). Read on…

A Ghost in the Throat by Doreann Ní Ghríofa

A novel about a woman who becomes obsessed with a poem by an 18th century noblewoman, what she sees as parallels in her own life, and her efforts to trace the woman’s history and descendants, in some ways it’s difficult to describe what makes this book so exquisite.. Is it the richness of the prose, by an author who is mainly a poet and who shows this through the lyricism of even mundane, minor moments? Is it the way it melds genres—it’s won awards in fiction and nonfiction categories, it’s part biography and part memoir and part translation and part novel and it plays with all these styles in a compelling and intriguing way? Is it the way the plot draws you in? Every time I picked up the book to begin reading again, I immediately felt as invested in the narrator’s search for evidence of Eibhlín in marriage records and death notices and the periphery of other people’s lives. Of course, it is all these things and more, and the result is an incredibly special book. Perhaps my favourite of the year so far, and one I will be thinking about it for a long, long time.

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What I read in May

I always set myself a reading goal of 52 books for the year (so on average a book a week). Well, somehow (lockdown), I’ve hit that goal 5 months into 2021. Here are the top 10 fiction and top 5 nonfiction books I’ve read so far this year — what should I put on my to-read list for the rest of the year?

Fiction:

The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott
Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox
No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood
Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez
Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas
The Yield by Tara June Winch
Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu

Nonfiction:

Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe
Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Can’t Even by Anne Helen Petersen
Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Read on for reviews of the books I read in May:

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What I Read in April

Okay, so after all my big talk last month about how I might have to split up this month post’s into two because of all the books I was going to read, I actually had a pretty slow reading month. I got a just a wee small little bit obsessively hooked on a podcast (The Magnus Archives) and so instead of listening to audiobooks I found myself listening to the podcast, and instead of reading… I also found myself listening to the podcast. 90 episodes in means it was a quieter reading month than the last couple (and I still have half the podcast to go so May might have fewer than usual books in it as well). That said, I still got through a good few excellent books; read on for my reviews or check them all out on Goodreads.

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Best books of 2020 (published before 2020)

Thanks to Libby and my local library (well, *cough*, the library where I used to live that has an amazing selection), last year I read a lot more brand new books than usual. However, I still picked up plenty of slightly older reads (usually because the hold lists weren’t quite as long). Following on from my Favourite Books of 2020 (Published in 2020), here are my favourites that were published before last year.

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