A Year in Reading 2022.

The Year in Reading feature at The Millions, in which people write about books they’ve read and enjoyed during the previous year, has been underway for a few weeks now; my contribution has traditionally been the first in the series, but this year there was a glitch in the transfer from one editor to another and I didn’t get the usual notification, so mine has just now shown up. I discuss Graeber and Wengrow’s The Dawn of Everything, Nicole Eustace’s Covered with Night, Helen DeWitt’s The Last Samurai (still great after all these years!) and Lee Konstantinou’s fine companion to it The Last Samurai Reread, Catherine Belton’s Putin’s People, Keith Gessen’s A Terrible Country, Lucy Sante’s The Other Paris, Colin MacCabe and Richard Brody’s books on Godard, and the second (2020) edition of Ilya Bernstein’s Mandelstam (see my 2014 review of the first edition, as well as the Update to this post from earlier this year). Too late for Christmas gifts, but not too late to spur your own reading!


  1. William A Boyd says

    “The Dawn of Everything,” available via our local public library and in heavy demand mid-summer through early-fall, had me scrambling to savor that thrust of ideas in order to finish within the library’s two-week maximum. So, during successive borrowings and vying for this Graber-Wengrow work with those at least 4 other library patrons, I managed to complete my task by late September. In sum I was mightily impressed. Thanks for noting your recommended “companion piece,” “Covered with Night”–also available at our library; I expect I’ll have to second your recommendation when I suggest a good friend add this work to his reading pile. [I’ll make note of the others but squeezing too much more might diminish what I’m getting from the Bolano and Padura books I continue to concentrate on.]

  2. What would you recommend by Bolaño to someone leery of committing to a huge fat novel? I keep hearing good things about him but don’t know where to start.

  3. Thanks for this! I ordered The Last Sumarai and it’s really great. I hadn’t heard about this book before. I also started reading The Dawn of Everything, which I already bought sometime ago, right after I finished the impressive Debt.

  4. You’ve made me very happy!

  5. Happy New Year, Steve! I always appreciate your “Year in Reading” posts a lot, but it seems like there wasn’t one this year.

  6. There’s been a changing of the guard over there, and they didn’t invite me. I guess my long reign is over.

  7. John Cowan says

    Well, post it here instead of there, eh?

  8. Seconded

  9. Btw, did you ever get Bolaño recommendations? I would start with his short story collections. Llamadas telefónicas and Putas asesinas

    And honestly those stories made more of an impression on me than his novels.

  10. No I didn’t, and thanks — I’d rather try a story than embark on one of those fat novels!

  11. Well, post it here instead of there, eh?

    I’ll take it under advisement for the future. For this year, I just did a cursory check and it looks like I posted about the books I read here, so there’s not much point doing a dedicated post.

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