Each year, I look back at the best media that I consumed. Matt and I will be going over movies and TV shows on the podcast (with mine posted to the site later), so I’m going to start with the best books I read in 2022.
I read 15 books over the last year. One was a complete re-read (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is something I revisit every few years) while one was a book I was supposed to read in High School and only read bits and pieces: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This was easily the best book I read, but since I’ve read parts of it, I’m excluding this from my list.
10. The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett – I started my venture into Discworld this year and want to say I loved it, but the first book here was a little slow. I enjoyed aspects of the book, but the overall story was a little weak. Not weak enough to get me to stop though; I’d been told the first few books were some of the weaker in the series (along with the last few). If you want to get into Discworld, you could skip this one, but I wouldn’t recommend it because it does set up the world.
9. Firefly: The Magnificent Nine by James Lovegrove – Firefly books are great because they are quick reads that continue to build the world that Joss started. They are nothing earth shattering, but the first 2 have focused on the background of different characters. The Magnificent Nine deals with Jayne’s background and you get a sense of what he was like before joining the crew. Lovegrove knows the voices of the characters and does a wonderful job of building new worlds. I recommend his books for Firefly fans.
8. The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett – Book 2 of Discworld was much better then book 1; you continue the adventures of Rincewind and Twoflower as they travel around Discworld seeing sites and getting into trouble. The series has been describe as a fantasy version of Hitchhiker’s Guide and I can totally see it. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy book 3 as much; from what I’ve been told book 4 (Mort) is supposed to be one of the better ones.
7. Secrets of the Force: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Wars by Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman – This was an interesting look at Star Wars as a whole. The book, made up of interviews, gives a lot of behind the scenes details of making the movies, public reception, and Star Wars outside of the movies. It’s a little bit of a dry read, but there was a lot of information I didn’t know, especially around the making, marketing, and reception of the original trilogy (I was too young to see it for Empire and Jedi).
6. Killing the Business: From Backyards to the Big Leagues by Matt and Nick Jackson (The Young Bucks) – I’d never read a wrestling book before, but I’d gotten All In (see what I did there AEW fans) on AEW and the Elite so I figured I’d give it a shot. The Jacksons gave their life story by switching authors every chapter and they share everything: getting into wrestling, struggling on the indies, learning to market themselves, Japan, and the creation of AEW. It’s a fascinating look at the high fliers.
5. The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s by Andy Greene – Another oral history, told through interviews like the Star Wars one. The Office has been one of my favorite sitcoms and this book dug into the UK version, building the perfect cast, potential cancellations, and a lot more. They also got cast reaction to specific episodes each season. One of the high points was hearing about Steve Carrell and how awesome he was to work with, even when he was a star in Hollywood.
4. Star Wars: Shadow of the Sith by Adam Christopher – I haven’t done much Star Wars reading since the first book of the high republic, but Shadow of the Sith might get me back into it. This is set a little after the Mandalorian period of Star Wars, where Luke has established his Jedi Academy. The book deals with the parent of Rey “Skywalker” and their ties to the dead Emperor Palpatine; they are being hunted by Ochi of Bestoon while Luke and Lando try to catch up to them to help. It gives a little more depth to the sequel series, although the trilogy still needs a lot of depth. Christopher also gives us the Luke we remember; the hero who is strong in the Force.
3. From Staircase To Stage: The Story of Raekwon and the Wu-Tang Clan by Raekwon and Anthony Rozza – I’ve read the Rza’s books and I’ve watch the TV show, so when Raekwon dropped his autobiography, I knew I wanted to read it. This was much different this RZA’s books (Rza’s books felt like a mixture of PR material and philosophy); Rae went into depth on life in the ghetto, dealing drugs, and getting into music. He also didn’t hold back on his thoughts on Rza’s leadership and side projects. Rae definitely comes out as the bigger person, setting his issues aside to continue making music with the group. A must read for Wu-Tang fans.
2. 11/22/63 by Stephen King – After enjoying Billy Summers, I decided to finally give this book a real shot; I think I prefer his regular fiction to his horror books (although I continue to read both). This time travel story hit all the right notes; It was an interesting read about fitting in when out of place, out of time. The down side was some of the story of Jake, our hero, in Dallas awaiting the JFK assassination and investigating Oswald; these parts were slow, as King did a lot of research he needed to include. Everything else was really good.
1. Devolution by Max Brooks – Mel’s son has successfully tackled zombies, so he went to Bigfoot this time. Devolution is the story of commune in Washington, near the erupting Mount Rainier. Told through the journal of one of the people at the commune, we get the story of strange occurrences that soon show the commune is being invaded by a mythical creature. There is a little real world style horror here, which Brooks nails. Brooks has proven he can write in multiple styles, which makes his books a lot more interesting then the standard narrative.
I’ll be back tomorrow with my top comics and Matt and my top movies of the year podcast.