The 2022 To-Read List: August

Since one of my writing goals was to read more, I thought it would help to keep track of what I knocked off Mount Tsundoku. Here’s as good a place as any to post what I’ve read to keep me honest, and what I thought of each book immediately after finishing.

I’m changing how I build my to-read stacks in 2022. This year, each stack of five will have to include at least two books by women, one non-fiction book, one book by an author I know personally, and one anthology (I’m making a conscious effort to read more short stories this year). Previously my goal was for each to-read pile to contain at least one book by a BIPOC or LGBTQ2S+ author, one book by a woman, one non-fiction book, and one book by an author I know personally. Creating those piles from my own shelves was starting to get tricky after two years, and I still plan on trying to read through books I’ve already purchased as much as possible. I’m going to add at least one book from the library by a BIPOC or LGBTQ2S+ author for every stack I build to continue trying to diversify my reading.

The library has become my go-to for keeping up on what’s going in comics, so I’m sure there’ll be a number of graphic novels (and roleplaying games I backed on Kickstarter) that jump the queue and end up in the piles from time to time as well.

Still nibbling my way through the stacks from July.

From the library:

Homicide and Halo-Halo by Mia P. Manansala, Spear by Nicola Griffith, Exit Strategy by Martha Wells, In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire, The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty.

From the to-read stack:

Murder on the Home Front by Molly Lefebvre, The Vampire Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas, The Witch Hunter by Max Seeck, The Shadow Over Portage and Main edited by Keith Cadieux and Dustin Geeraert, Flight Risk by Cherie Priest.

Spear by Nicola Griffith: A retelling of Arthurian legend through a specifically Welsh, queer, and disabled lens. I absolutely adored it. Griffith’s writing was lush and evocative, and felt much like I was having a fairy tale read to me.

Exit Strategy by Martha Wells: Moar Murderbot! I’m going to be sad when I’ve finally caught up on this series. Fortunately for me, Martha Wells has written a bunch of fantasy novels that will be waiting for me to add to the read pile next.

Inferno by Jonathan Hickman, Valerio Schiti, David Curiel, Stefano Caselli, R.B. Silva, Adriano Di Benedetto: Hickman’s swan song on the Krakoa era of his X-Men run. As a long time X-Men reader, Inferno has a lot of nostalgia for me, so I was a little put off with this book’s use of it as a title, but it wasn’t a bad story. I’m still not 100% sure that I’ve enjoyed Hickman’s architecture for the X-Mex corner of the Marvel ‘verse, but it has been interesting.

The Vampire Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas: Didn’t finish this one. It was written in four parts, I believe, what looked to be individual novellas linked by the central vampire character, but it wasn’t to my taste.

Dungeons & Dragons Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel: An anthology of adventures loosely tied to a fantastic hub location. I loved the first module as a potentially non-lethal introduction for a party, dealing with a disagreement at a popular night market. Many of the individual adventures are not to my personal taste but all of them have something interesting that I could use in a homebrewed campaign. The art is gorgeous, and I think this is one of the cooler books Wizards of the Coast has put out in years.

Dungeons & Dragons Spelljammer: Adventures in Space: Consists of three separate hardcovers in a slipcase, a full colour double sided map, and a DM screen. One for players featuring new options, ships, and information on the hub setting, the Rock of Bral, one book of monsters, and a short adventure book. I love that the player facing material is in its own book and that the adventure is separated from the monster book. I do wish the Rock of Bral material wasn’t present in the Adventurer book, or that, at the least, the DM secrets were elsewhere so you could give the players the book without having to say: “Don’t read the setting material.” That said, I’m not sure where those secrets would go in this set as they don’t really belong in the adventure. Also, some of the material, including a very racist portrayal of a heritage of people known as Hadozee, has already been replaced with erratta. While I really enjoyed reading most of the set, and I want to get it to the table, I am still uncertain the price point is justified by the amount of material you get.

Call Me Nathan by Catherine Castro, Quentin Zuttion, translated by Evan McGorray: A French graphic novel about a young person’s realization they are transgender. I like reading non-North American comics from time to time as they have different panel structures and art styles than I’m used to. This one was really good.

The Witch Hunter by Max Seeck: Translated crime fiction from Finland. Not sure it stuck the landing at the end for me, but well drafted characters and cracking pacing. I’d read more of Seeck’s work in the future.

Star Wars Bounty Hunters: War of the Bounty Hunters Vol. 3 by Ethan Sacks, Paolo Villanelli, Arif Prianto, Jesus Aburtov, Edar Delgado: The hunt for Han Solo continues. Set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. A fun Star Wars adventure with decent likenesses of the main heroes.

Brave New World by Matt Forbeck: A superhero roleplaying game from the archives. A little too US-centric for me, but that’s a feature not a flaw of this one. The game has a simple but good dice mechanic and power profiles that cover most of the basic hero archetypes, but there’s not quite enough customization for me. Still, I had a lot of fun playing this shortly after it was first released many, many (many) moons ago.

9 Lives to Valhalla by Gem Room Games: Viking cats! A recent Kickstarter reward. A simple enough ‘zine style game, with great art. I’d love to get this to the table sometime.

The Wreck of the Murderous by Gem Room Games: A module adventure for 9 Lives to Valhalla. Looks like a fantastic intro to the game.

The Shadow Over Portage & Main edited by Keith Cadieux and Dustin Geeraert: An anthology of gothic and horror stories inspired by Winnipeg. I believe the stories by Joanna Graham and Richard Crow were my favourites in the collection. I also adored Jonathan Ball’s introduction: “There Is a Thing That Should Not Be, So We Must Be in Winnipeg” which should totally be on the sign at the city’s limits.

Murder on the Home Front by Molly Lefebure: Not quite what I was expecting (should’ve read the back copy more closely!), as I had assumed it was a biography by a modern writer, rather than a memoir from the ’50s that had been republished. Still, it was an interesting view into the war-era Britain and its crime scene.

Here’s what I read in January.

Here’s what I read in February.

Here’s what I read in March.

Here’s what I read in April.

Here’s what I read in May.

Here’s what I read in June.

Here’s what I read in July.

Check out my roundup of my 2021 reading here.

Check out my roundup of my 2020 reading here.