Top Five Books of 2022 (@EasternRegional)

Books, the best Christmas gifts!

With Christmas fast approaching, it is time to reflect on the progress we made in 2022 while planning new projects and fresh goals for 2023.

This year we reviewed 32 books and featured a series of literary programs and events, including but not limited to the Australian Children’s Laureate, Melbourne Writers Festival, and UNESCO Cities of Literature Network Meeting. We even received a reader’s request to feature a book published a century ago.

That special request led to coverage of not just Australian authors but also those overseas. Indeed, while this reviewer has been prioritising Australian books – and will always do so – there are numerous excellent reads from around the world that are worthy of our attention.

So, below are this reviewer’s Top Five books for 2022:

#1: Costa’s World: Gardening for the soil, the soul and the suburbs by Costa Georgiadis (2021) – A delightful read for all who care about our environment and wildlife, full of extensively researched and superbly presented resources for individual and community gardens. One of the best and sincerest communicators of citizen science.

#2: Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff (2021) – A stunning illustrated dark fantasy of epic scale, featuring complex characters, intricate plots, dazzling writing, and a great sense of humour. A detailed survey of vampires as “an object of desire, an exploration of immortality, a study in morality, or just plain terrifying”.

#3: Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan (2008) – A timeless masterpiece, beautifully written, achingly tender yet emotionally powerful and mentally haunting. This winner of the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel is worth reading by all females but especially male readers who are mature-minded and fighting to safeguard women’s rights.

#4: The Winter Road: A story of legacy, land and a killing at Croppa Creek by Kate Holden (2021) – Winner of the Walkley Book Award, NSW Premier’s Literary Award – Douglas Stewart Nonfiction Prize, and NSW Premier’s History Award – Community and Regional History Prize, among others. An intense, confronting piece of investigative journalism.

#5: The Gaps by Leanne Hall (2021) – This “complex and absorbing dual narrative psychological thriller” is the winner of the 2022 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Young Adult Literature. A compelling exploration of vulnerability and strengths of those teenagers who have lost their loved ones to violent crimes.

And, finally, we have two honourable mentions. The first is Leonard and Hungry Paul by Irish author Rónán Hession (2019). A quiet book celebrating kindness and friendship in our seemingly ordinary life, recommended by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature.

Meanwhile, Sistersong, by Devon-based author Lucy Holland (2021), is recommended by Exeter UNESCO City of Literature. A successful marriage of fantasy and historical fiction about ancient Britons facing the arrival of Christianity and the Saxons.

So, here is a heartfelt THANK-YOU to all our readers who have been supporting the “Passion for Prose” column since February 2021. This reviewer will return in January 2023 with more recommendations of interesting Australian and international books.

Note: This article was originally published under the title “Looking back at the best five books reviewed this year”, Ranges Trader Star Mail, December 20, 2022, P.15.


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