Hasta la ByeBye, 2022: These were the Books

I read a lot of books in 2022: Goodreads says that I read 43. I had planned on completing 50 books, but there was a period in the winter when my brain fog was too bad to read. Not nice, scleroderma, not nice! Anyway, I am back up and reading at a steady clip again, and I’ve been mulling over what were the best books of 2022 for me. You know, the books that you enthusiastically give a 5 star rating to and then you head off to Amazon to see what else this author has written. Anyway, after thinking it over, here are the books that I liked the best:

I just loved, loved, loved these books. I think that I posted about some of them during the year:

I’ve noticed that there are some threads of commonality between these books. Animals as integral characters in the story, people connected over space and time with each other, learning one’s worth and being true to yourself, being brave in the face of adversity, friendship and love, and finally, the power of science. Altogether, a pretty good year of reading.

I literally am unable to pick my personal best book of the year from these favorites, but I have to admit that the one that I thought about the most (so much that I wrote an entire post about it) would be Lessons in Chemistry. I seriously liked Remarkably Bright Creatures for the entertainment value, and I still think about the things that I learned in The Song of the Cell.

Well, that was 2022.

Happy New Year, everyone.

The Books of August

August wasn’t the best for me. I had just come off a course of steroids to treat my lung disease (there’s another post coming) and I seemed to be struggling with withdrawal. I hurt everywhere. Sleep was difficult. I was sad. I cast on lots of projects and failed to make much progress with any of them because I was struggling with tendonitis. I kept trying different needle sizes and yarn types all month, but nothing worked. Here’s the list:

  • A new sweater, Lace & Fade Boxy by Joji Locatelli. I think that I have a couple of inches done…
  • A standing cat being knit in cool Noro yarn. For some reason I decided that the cat would be outstanding knitted in spring colors (cream/blue/raspberry/green) as a Noro calico cat. Right now, the cat has her front paws and no head yet…
  • A crocheted bag being made in Noro yarn and fancy squares all attached together. I have a lot of squares done, but nothing is attached yet…
  • A new pair of socks. One sock is done…
  • A new pair of mitts. One mitt is done…
  • A PICC line cover that is… half done.
  • My Sharon Air MKAL shawl. That one I am keeping up on because Hannah is keeping me on track.

I did get some sewing done, but mostly I lounged around and read books. Well, I listened to The Murderbot Diaries a couple of more times. I love that series!

This is the first book in the series. I’m anxiously awaiting a new release.

The audiobooks are easy to listen to, the story is easy to follow, and the main character (Murderbot) is so engaging/snarky that you are in its camp from the moment you meet it. Murderbot is a machine/organic construct that specializes in security. A free agent because it has hacked the device that is supposed to control it, it is slowly finding its way to personhood and working out what it wants. It also is continuing to work its old security job while consuming tons of entertainment media. I love Murderbot! It listens to its favorite soap opera-like serial over and over while it deals with anxiety and blocks of down time; I listen to Murderbot over and over while I deal with my own. I smile to myself in moments of self-realization and wish that I could watch The Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon along with Murderbot. Murderbot considers its primary client, Doctor Mensa, to be an actual intrepid galactic explorer and I try to be like Doctor Mensa, too. See, a great series of books for sad days.

What a great book!

It’s hard to talk about this book without creating spoilers, but I’m going to try. This is the story of an extreme friendship between two game developers that is actually a love story. It is about betrayal, broken dreams, the creative drive, and the endurance of friendship. I just loved it. Oh yeah, that title comes from MacBeth’s soliloquy about life: “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Not the best message for a person who hurts all over and who cried in two different doctors’ offices last month, but still in a strange way comforting.

Then there were these two books:

Have you ever had an urge to do something but didn’t know why? I can totally identify with this as a knitter who is making a standing cat in crazy colors. I also collect empty notebooks to write in, a habit that went on for years before I finally began writing. Then there is the yarn stash… What would happen if you lived in a community where there was the infrastructure to allow you to just follow your dreams?

In these two books we meet a robot (who is the descendant of ancient robots that left the world of humans and went into the wild) and a monk who lives in an environmentally sustainable world with little technology, a world where everyone is accepted for who they are and supported by a barter-driven economy. The robot and monk meet up and begin a pilgrimage through this world together that is compelling and positive; just what I needed for reading material last month. The message that they pursue in their journey is… who am I and what do I want? The final conclusion is one that I could totally identify with… it is enough to just be happy in the moment.

Now it is September and what am I reading?

Umm.. I’m afraid that I have to admit that I have started Murderbot again, but only because I can’t seem to find The Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon on Netflix. I am considering looking into Coronation Street…

By the way, I am through withdrawal and the hurting has stopped. See. Sound and fury, signifying nothing. The knitting is back on!

Time for some Sanctuary Moon… err… Murderbot while I knit.