It’s the time of the year for us to look back and reflect on everything we loved over the last 12 months! Which means we’ve asked our staff to tell us their favorite books, movies, TV shows, video games, or whatever from 2022. It doesn’t have to be something that was released this year, just something that they personally experienced. As usual, we’ve provided links to where you can find the items mentioned, including from the library whenever possible. And of course, these recommendations are the opinions of each individual staff member and not of the library itself. So let’s get to it, and feel free to let us know your favorites of ’22 in the comments!
So many amazing cookbooks from 2022 – I highly recommend them all, in no particular order!
SAVORY BAKING: RECIPES FOR BREAKFAST, DINNER, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN by ERIN JEANNE MCDOWELL
Erin literally wrote The Book on Pie and is a phenomenal resource for all things baking. Her cookbook and approach give home cooks and bakers the skills and confidence needed to make exceptional baked goods. She’s also the host of the Food52 program Bake It Up a Notch, which is a must watch for any baker looking to pick up new skills. She’s a delight to learn from.
KOREAN AMERICAN: FOOD THAT TASTES LIKE HOME by ERIC KIM
I first remember reading Eric Kim’s writing via his column at Food52 – Table for One. Ever since then, I’m always thrilled to discover when he has new content, whether it be on social media or via his role at The New York Times. Needless to say, I preordered his debut cookbook, which released in March and have so enjoyed reading it and cooking from it throughout the year and know I will for years to come. He’s also a contributor at NYT Cooking – don’t miss his videos!
I DREAM OF DINNER (SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO): LOW-EFFORT, HIGH REWARD RECIPES by ALI SLAGLE
I have the very good fortune to live with someone who loves cooking dinner. That said, even those who love cooking tend to be grateful for dinner suggestions (or a break!) from time to time. Ali Slagle has been saving me on this front for years, with her easy, minimal ingredient, wonderful recipes. This one was a preorder for me too. Clever, yet uncomplicated, there is something to please everyone at your table.
SMITTEN KITCHEN KEEPERS by DEB PERELMAN
I’ve been reading Deb Perelman’s blog since before I knew about food blogging. Her recipes were some of the first untested (aka, not my mom’s) I tried when I was first out of college. Many have become favorites. Long time followers of hers know that they can trust her advice and that her recipes are well-tested and sure to be a hit with anyone you’re feeding. Deb’s personality comes through in her writing and videos and you can’t help but wish you were in the kitchen with her.
WHAT’S FOR DESSERT: SIMPLE RECIPES FOR DESSERT PEOPLE by CLAIRE SAFFITZ
Claire Saffitz is an authority on desserts, pastry, and baking. She appears in many corners of the food internet and has authored not one but two books about dessert. Her 2022 release is the perfect title for someone looking for a book that covers it all, without overcomplicating things. Her videos have a huge following thanks to her creativity and talent in the kitchen and approach to teaching. (I never would have learned to make croissants without Claire’s video.) The perfect title for the dessert lover in your life.
Other wonderful 2022 cookbook releases (there were so so many, these are just a few!):
MI COCINA: RECIPES AND RAPTURE FROM MY KITCHEN IN MÉXICO by RICK MARTINEZ
THE COOK YOU WANT TO BE by ANDY BARAGHANI
THE WOK: RECIPES AND TECHNIQUES by J. KENJI LÓPEZ-ALT
THE BAD GUYS by AARON BLABEY and THE BAD GUYS
This wonderfully fun juvenile graphic novel series keeps growing as new books with outrageous adventures continue to be published. The movie, although it has some changes to the characters and storyline, is fun and fast-paced.
SMALL SPACES by KATHERIN ARDEN
A wonderfully creepy juvenile fiction book. You will never look at scarecrows the same way again.
ZERO VICTIM: OVERCOMING INJUSTICE WITH A NEW ATTITUDE by JAMES E. WARD, JR.
Pastor Ward is enthusiastic about helping others to overcome feelings of victimhood.
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2
This sequel continuing Sonic’s journey is action-packed and full of twists and turns.
IRREVERSIBLE DAMAGE: THE TRANSGENDER CRAZE SEDUCING OUR DAUGHTERS by ABIGAIL SHRIER
This book is thought-provoking and educational about a timely topic. Worth the read.
PASS GO AND COLLECT $200: THE REAL STORY OF HOW MONOPOLY WAS INVENTED by TANYA LEE STONE
I am a fan of Monopoly and found this juvenile informational book about the origins of the game very interesting.
Based on a video game, this movie boasts treasure hunting, perilous adventures, Tom Holland, and Mark Wahlberg- what else do you need?
A LITTLE PRINCESS by FRANCES HODGSON BURNETT
This classic story is one to revisit every so often. A little girl goes from riches to rags but never loses her gentleness, kindness, and inner princess. Follow up the reading with the 1995 movie by the same name.
THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS by ABRAHAM LINCOLN; illustrated by MICHAEL MCCURDY
This picture book features the inspiring words of Abraham Lincoln accompanied by beautiful illustrations.
THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES series
This juvenile fiction series follows two brothers and a sister as they navigate the world of fairies and ogres after finding their uncle’s field guide to invisible beings.
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA series
A must read classic series. Children find themselves transported into the world of Narnia, created by a lion named Aslan, to assist the inhabitants in battles between good and evil.
Based on the comic strip, this comedy stars Owen Wilson as the voice of Marmaduke, a clumsy Great Dane with a penchant for getting into trouble. In his own bumbling way, Marmaduke helps his family to navigate a move to California.
Collection Development Librarian
THE CURSED CARNIVALS & OTHER CALAMITIES edited by RICK RIORDAN
Rick Riordan started Rick Riordan Presents – an imprint that releases action/adventure books based on folklore and mythology for middle grade readers. This book is a collection of short stories spinning off some of the books that have been published by the imprint. It’s a great sampling of the stories to help launch interest in the other titles, and it’s an enjoyable read on its own. Anyone of any age who likes mythology, folklore, adventure, and retellings will surely love this book – and be inspired to read the others!
SEASONAL WORK by LAURA LIPPMAN
This book was my introduction to Laura Lippman, and it did not disappoint! This collection of short stories brings in characters from former books (who you can still connect with even if you haven’t read them), introduces new characters, and keeps surprising you along the way. From a seemingly quiet housewife to a seasoned P.I., these women will keep you guessing. I listened to these stories while at the laundromat, confusing everyone around me when I audibly gasped at the end of one story.
ORGANIZING FOR THE REST OF US: 100 REALISTIC STRATEGIES TO KEEP ANY HOUSE UNDER CONTROL by DANA K. WHITE
It’s hard to give me new information when it comes to organization, and listening to books like this was more of a soothing way to feel like I’m on the right track. I enjoyed listening to Dana’s ideas (she reads the audiobook herself), feeling like I made a friend by the end. I did also get a few new philosophies to follow, which have come in clutch in my tiny house.
THIS BOOK IS NOT ABOUT BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH: THE JOY OF LOVING SOMETHING – ANYTHING- LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT by TABITHA CARVAN
Tabitha is totally right, this book is not about Benedict Cumberbatch. It talks about him a lot, but it’s not about him. It’s about the glory of finding a passion – even one that may feel ridiculous – as an adult. Tabitha reads it herself, and by the end you feel empowered to love whatever invigorates you – even if it feels absurd.
I DIDN’T DO THE THING TODAY: LETTING GO OF PRODUCTIVITY GUILT by MADELEINE DORE
As you can guess this book has a basic premise: Don’t feel bad about not accomplishing all the things. While the contents aren’t earth shattering, the book is an excellent reminder to calm down and appreciate the things you do
accomplish. I listened to this book and it was a nice, chill morale boost.
AIN’T BURNED ALL THE BRIGHT by JASON REYNOLDS; artwork by JASON GRIFFIN
This is a notebook-like depiction of a young boy’s family and life during COVID-19 lockdown and the ensuing racial upheaval. It was a quick listen (only 37 minutes), but I later went back to go through the physical book and realized I’d missed most of the story by not experiencing the art to go along with it. Jason Reynolds is one of the greatest writers I’ve read, and this book is a great introduction to his work.
THE LAST SLAVE SHIP: THE TRUE STORY OF HOW THE CLOTILDA WAS FOUND, HER DESCENDANTS, AND AN EXTRAORDINARY RECKONING by BEN RAINES
Enslaved after the slave trade had become illegal, the survivors of the Clotilda mostly stayed in the area where they were sold. After being freed they founded their own town, which still exists today. This book takes you through the inception of the transatlantic run through to the modern day as the author interviews descendants of the survivors. I hadn’t heard of the Clotilda or its survivors until I listened to this book, and I appreciate having a deeper understanding of the country’s history.
CREATIVITY: A SHORT AND CHEERFUL GUIDE by JOHN CLEESE
Short, sweet, and of course funny, this book points you in the direction of your own creativity while also giving you stories about John Cleese (the famous comedic actor). My favorite part was that he read it himself, so it felt like he was giving you a personal pep talk!
FIREKEEPER’S DAUGHTER by ANGELINA BOULLEY
Before I read this book I knew it had won many awards, but I somehow hadn’t realized it would be such a gripping action\mystery! The story follows Daunis, fresh out of high school, as she balances life on and off her Ojibwe reservation, her family and her friends, and being part of her community while helping two undercover police investigate drugs in her community. The intended audience is teens, but adults who enjoy mysteries and action will also enjoy this one!
THE MARROW THIEVES by CHERIE DIMALINE
In the future, while the world is struggling with the effects of global warming, everyone but the indigenous North American population has lost the ability to dream. Bone marrow from the dreamers is declared the only cure, forcing those who don’t want to die in ‘factories’ to go on the run. This story follows a teen as he and his group travel to what they hope is a safe space. I’m not usually a big fan of teen dystopia, but I enjoyed listening to this story during my walks and also enjoyed the sequel, Hunting by Stars.
HERE WE GO AGAIN: MY LIFE IN TELEVISION by BETTY WHITE
If you miss Betty White as much as I do you’ll love listening to her read her books! This title talks about her illustrious television career, giving us behind the scenes looks at our favorite shows with that perfect Betty White humor. Also consider listening to If You Ask Me: (And of Course You Won’t)!
THE PARADOX HOTEL by ROB HART
Time travel is possible, and you can experience it as a tourist! At the Paradox Hotel (actually called The Fairbanks) you book a room, book an excursion, and have a tame, enjoyable time experiencing the historical event of your choice. Pay no mind to the malfunctioning clocks and ghosts. A former detective, now head of security, must solve a murder while maintaining order and catching renegade dinosaurs.
THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY by MATT HAIG
The Midnight Library is between life and death, and its books will show you what your life would have been if you’d made slightly different choices. This story follows Nora as she experiences many versions of her life, and tries to decide if she’d rather live a different existence. This book is an emotional and uplifting love letter to life.
THE OFFICE BFFS: TALES OF THE OFFICE FROM TWO BEST FRIENDS WHO WERE THERE by JENNA FISHER & ANGELA KINSEY
If you love the show The Office, you’ll love these stories about life filming it! You’ll feel like you’re sitting with Jenna and Angela as that joke about the strange and wonderful experiences they had on the show. I especially recommend listening to them read the audiobook!
A ROGUE TO REMEMBER by EMILY SULLIVAN
I love a good period romance! This one has all the best tropes – childhood friends, enemies to lovers, a dark and serious spy, a strong independent woman – while being well written and not dumbing down the characters. Note that this title has erotica elements, while maintaining clean language.
ALL ABOUT ME!: MY REMARKABLE LIFE IN SHOW BUSINESS by MEL BROOKS
Have you ever wanted Mel Brooks to tell you all about his career? You’re in luck! Listen to the audiobook and you’ll get to laugh along with him while he recounts his adventures (and misadventures) in show business!
WHEN WOMEN WERE DRAGONS by KELLY BARNHILL
The Mass Dragoning occurred in 1955, and the world hasn’t been the same since. Alex is trying to understand why her aunt chose to become a dragon and leave along with the other hundreds of thousands of women, which would be a lot
easier to work out if the entire world weren’t refusing to talk about it. An interesting venture into love, family, identity and feminism, this book held my interest all the way through (and I still think about it almost every day).
THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA by TJ KLUNE
Linus Baker – an excellent bureaucrat – is sent to a far off island to evaluate an unusual orphanage. The children are unusual (even in a world with magical beings), and so is their caretaker. Linus must decide if the wards are safe, and if
the world is safe with them in it. This is by far my favorite book that I read this year, containing a few of my favorite literary moments.
UNDER THE WHISPERING DOOR by TJ KLUNE
Wallace finally figures out he’s dead when a reaper comes for him at his funeral. After spending his life focusing on work and order, he has a week to try living in the afterlife. Slightly related to The House in the Cerulean Sea, but don’t expect too much similarity beyond their (very lovely) vibe.
THE BEAUTY OF DUSK: ON VISION LOST AND FOUND by FRANK BRUNI
Frank woke up one morning with blurred vision in one eye. Over time he found out he was going to slowly go blind. This book follows him through his medical and emotional journey, with more weight on the emotional and spiritual side. This is an excellent story of coping with disappointment, particularly that which goes along with aging and unforeseen impairment. The audiobook is read by the author.
THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS by JOHN BOYNE
Considered a modern classic, this is the story of Bruno, a young boy whose father is in charge of ‘Out-With’ (which is actually Auschwitz). Bruno’s innocence leads him to a friendship with a boy that lives on the other side of a fence, and
unforeseen tragedy. This book was written in 2006, and a sequel titled All the Broken Places was released this past November.
BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by RUTA SEPETYS
Covering the not-often discussed Soviet occupation of Lithuania during World War II, this book had me sobbing by the end. It’s a wonderfully written story of hope, survival and love.
THE WORTH OF WATER: OUR STORY OF CHASING SOLUTIONS TO THE WORLD’S GREATEST CHALLENGE by GARY WHITE & MATT DAMON
Did the name Matt Damon catch your attention? Good! That was the hope! Damon and White share authorship and narration of this book, explaining the water crisis around the world and how they are using White’s years of experience (and the experience of others) to help bring clean water and waste management to communities worldwide. I highly recommend listening to this title – it feels more like a podcast than educational nonfiction.
ALL AMERICAN BOYS by JASON REYNOLDS & BRANDAN KIELY
This book was published in 2017 and is still highly relevant 5 years later. It’s the story of a teen boy beaten by a police officer, a teen boy who saw it happen, and a community struggling against itself in the aftermath.
NORTHWIND by GARY PAULSEN
Leif must take to the water in a cedar canoe when death comes to his camp. He follows the shore northward, surviving nature and animals, and experiencing phenomena so wild they are almost magical. I highly recommend the audiobook, it is narrated by my favorite voice actor. Note that this book was released a few months after Paulsen’s death and is likely the last title we will receive from him.
THE LETTER FROM BRIARTON PARK by SARAH E. LADD
Do you like period romances and mysteries? You’re in luck! This is a perfectly light period romance/mystery for you to enjoy. There’s unknown parentage, a dashing widower, and a town bent on keeping their secrets.
And here are a few more of my favorite books this year! I especially recommend listening to their
Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party’s Promise to the People by Kekla
Magoon. Nonfiction, U.S. History, Teen.
Digital Outreach Associate
The 2nd feature length film from director Kogonada is a quietly elegant story about a father played by Colin Farrell (who’s had a great year) looking to repair the lifelike robot he and his wife had been entrusting to watch over their young son. It’s a beautifully meditative story about family, love, and the very essence of humanity that leaves a lasting impression on those who watch it.
THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN
Writer / director Martin McDonagh’s latest expertly blends tartly comic dialogue with a slightly absurd premise and a deep vein of sadness to examine loneliness, friendship, death, and more. The end result is one of the best and most rewarding films of the year.
Jeremy Allen White heads up this stellar dramedy as a highly pedigreed chef who is forced to take over his brother’s little greasy spoon after he commits suicide. Few other shows have so adeptly captured the stress and chaos that takes place in various commercial kitchens around the country every night, but don’t worry, there is a good deal of fun to be had here and several characters that are well-worth rooting for.
BLACK GIRL MAGIC by HONEY DIJON
90’s style house music is back in a big way this year, and while Beyoncé probably gets the most credit (more on her later), transgender Chicago DJ Honey Dijon deserves her share. Across 15 tracks she manages to perfectly capture the magic of the sound without a single weak track. This is an album that should be soundtracking parties for years to come.
With a protagonist you just love to hate, Rob Savage’s latest found footage freakout is a steadily escalating ride into nightmarish madness that manages to keep getting crazier by the minute, even when it seems like it couldn’t possibly take things any further.
If you’d have told me that a reality competition show about teams of various ages designing and building elaborate, themed domino courses would wind up being one of my favorite TV programs of the year I’d have probably thought you were crazy, but here we are. The amount of suspense, heartbreak, and joy this series managed to get out of me week after week made it a surprise treat.
EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE
The directing duo known as Daniels have crafted one of the most original and exciting movies to come along in years. Michelle Yeoh is brilliant as Evelyn Wang, an aging Chinese immigrant who discovers that she has to save the entire multiverse from an evil being that turns out to be her daughter (an equally excellent Stephanie Hsu). It’s every bit as insane as it sounds but also unexpectedly moving and heartfelt. Easily my favorite movie of the year.
THE GILDED AGE
This HBO series that takes place in 1880s New York may have kicked off feeling like a clone of creator Julian Fellowes’ other historical drama series, Downton Abbey, but it quickly marked out its own territory. While the minutiae of high-society life still play a role, this series feels like its plots carried more significance and was all the more compelling for it.
Based on the graphic novels by Alice Oseman, Netflix’s series about 2 high school boys falling in love while they and their friends struggle with their identities managed to perfectly capture all of the highs and lows of that time in a person’s life. One of the most sweetly endearing shows to come along in years.
THE KAIJU PRESERVATION SOCIETY by JOHN SCALZI
There’s a portal to another dimension hidden away in Greenland. On the other side is a version of Earth that is filled with monsters so big their bodies can support small ecosystems. We get to follow along as a group of new recruits set about trying to keep this other Earth safe from nefarious actors in our own in this relentlessly entertaining adventure that seems ripe for a movie adaptation.
A quiet game about delivering the mail in a small, mountain town turned out to be just what I needed in our increasingly loud and divisive times. With a sweet story about getting back in touch with your roots and a nice cast of characters, it was hard not to fall under the sway of this indie charmer.
The latest from director Robert Eggers is the sort of fantasy-tinged historical epic that doesn’t seem to get made anymore. It’s easy enough to get lost in the sweeping vistas but the dark revenge plot while keep viewers riveted.
OFF MENU with ED GAMBLE and JAMES ACASTER
Hosted by a pair of British comedians, this podcast sees a new guest come to visit every week and then run through their dream dinner menu while remembering stories from their lives and poking fun at life’s absurdities. By the end of each episode I’m always smiling and very, very hungry.
ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING
Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez continue to charm as the leads in this clever, funny cozy mystery series. It doesn’t quite reach the amazing heights of the first season, but it’s still light years better than almost every other show on the air in 2022.
OUR FLAG MEANS DEATH
A wealthy British landowner decides to give up his life of comfort and take up piracy in this winningly silly HBO comedy. For all the ludicrous misadventures however, it’s the show’s incredibly big heart that makes it especially wonderful.
PATRICIA WANTS TO CUDDLE by SAMANTHA ALLEN
Using the tropes of both monster movies and reality dating shows, this book about a TV production being stalked by a sasquatch in the Pacific northwest tells a sweet story about being true to yourself while also offering up a wild ride.
A quiet little film about a young girl meeting and befriending her own mother when she was the same age. How it happens is never explained and really beside the point. What matters is the sweet and thoughtful examination of the bond between a parent and a child, one that seemingly can reach across time, and the lingering thoughts and feelings one is left with as the credits begin to roll.
Nathan Fielder continues to use absurdist humor in a reality show setting to take a magnifying glass to human nature, this time allowing participants to practice a major life event in a painstaking recreation of what might happen in order to be better prepared to do it for real. Funny, sweet, sad, and thought-provoking.
RENAISSANCE PT. 1 by BEYONCÉ
One of the biggest records of the year is also a 90’s house party. With a team of A-list producers (including the aforementioned Honey Dijon), Queen B is back and ready to dance. This is another one without a weak track that will keep listeners tapping their toes the whole way through. The frequent callbacks to the artists and scenes who influenced it are a nice touch as well.
THE SEA BEAST
This animated feature uses big creatures to explore big ideas while never forgetting to be big fun as well. As our heroes overcome their prejudices towards the giant monsters that lurk off the coast they impart some good lessons about learning to think for yourself and fostering empathy for others.
I may be a dog person, but this sci-fi adventure game in which you play as a cat in a dystopian future where humanity has been replaced entirely by robots was one of my favorite entertainment experiences of the year. Mixing platforming and environmental puzzles with a compelling mystery and a heartbreakingly beautiful ending, this is one that players won’t soon forget.
Chloe Okuno’s feature debut is a relentlessly suspenseful horror masterpiece. We follow Julia (Maika Monroe) as she struggles to acclimate to her new surroundings in Bucharest, all the while convinced that a man who might be a serial killer is spying on her from his apartment across the street and stalking her around the city. It perfectly captures the fear and panic a woman goes through when no one will believe that she is being harassed.
The general formula may be similar to countless other feel-good makeover shows that have come before, but this one still stands apart. Each episode, our trio of drag queens head to a different small town to take 3 people who are either members of the LGBTQ+ community or allies and get them to perform in elaborately staged drag shows. While the end result is always entertaining, the real point of the series is to show exactly what gay and trans people can still have to endure while also offering up hope for the future and reminding them that they deserve to be loved for who they are just as much as anybody else.
THE WHITE LOTUS
Having just wrapped up its second season, this HBO anthology series blends twisty storylines about the guests and staff of a chain of luxury resorts with note-perfect social satire to brilliant effect. Excellent casting choices and strangely memorable scoring only help to solidify it as one of the best shows of this, or any, year.
THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD
Joachim Trier’s wonderful movie is a perfect encapsulation of what it feels like to find oneself in an era of social-media induced self-examination and comparison to our peers, that ultimately reminds us that questioning our lives or wanting a change can be okay even if we’re otherwise happy, and that it doesn’t make you the worst person in the world.
Mixing together elements from Mean Girls, The Lord of the Flies, and Lost, this Showtime hit about a girl’s soccer team stranded in the woods after a plane crash and the lives of the survivors as adults decades later is a darkly funny treat with an addictive mystery at its core that seems to go several layers deep.
REMARKABLY BRIGHT CREATURES by SHELBY VAN PELT
This is a captivating story about a friendship between a woman and an octopus and how their lives are intertwined. Great read and audiobook.
FAIRY TALE by STEPHEN KING
Stephen King does not disappoint with this fantasy, horror, thriller blend.
The story of the rescue mission to save the lives of a soccer team and their coach trapped in an underground cave. Very well done!
Based on a true story of two Syrian sisters and their journey as swimmers and refugees.
THE WHITE LOTUS
The show is back this year with the second season. Funn series on HBO.
HORSE by GERALDINE BROOKS
I enjoy Historical Fiction and like Geraldine Brooks writing style. Always learn something new when I read her books. While the book is about a real horse and horse racing, this multi-themed work delves into the role of slavery and racism in racing history.
SMALL THINGS LIKE THESE by CLAIRE KEEGAN
The legacy of the church in a small Irish town leads to unsung heroism on the part of one of the residents. Anything by Claire Keegan is worth the time spent reading. Her prose is poetic.