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22 recommended reads for 2022

Relax with these good books
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Word of mouth – it remains one of the most powerful ways to find out about something new. And so, with our AWC community being filled with avid readers, we decided to ask “what were some of your favourite books that you read this year?”. The books didn’t have to have been published in 2021 – simply something you read and wanted to rave about.

We put the call out and the people responded. Here are just some of the highly-rated books – across a range of genres – each with a mini review provided by the person who recommended it. We hope it inspires you to discover some new reading material in the coming year!

(If you click the book links and then purchase from Booktopia, we get a small commission. This amount is donated to Doggie Rescue to support their valuable work with unwanted and abandoned dogs.)

 

THE QUIET GENTLEMAN by Georgette Heyer
Regency Romance

Recommended by Lily Mulholland:
“In a year where the world raged around us, immersing myself in a Regency romance with mystery at its heart brought peace and comfort.”

 

 

NON-PLAYER CHARACTER by Victoria Corva
Fantasy

Recommended by Marie Axelsson:
“A heartwarming book with plenty of adventure. With TTRPG elements, even written with a game on the side, Kin. It's neurodivergent, queer, and diverse.”

 

 

NO ONE by John Hughes
Literary Fiction

Recommended by Stephen McCarthy:
“A deeply sensitive novella about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trauma, and how others who have suffered relate to it. Hauntingly rendered in exquisite detail.”

 

 

A MILLION THINGS by Emily Spurr
Contemporary/YA

Recommended by Patricia Devine:
“This is the heart wrenching story of a young girl forced to survive on her own. It had me in tears.”

 

 

MY FRIEND FOX by Heidi Everett
Memoir

Recommended by Glen Donaldson:
“Tender, wise and deeply true. The best book on mental health I've ever read. And with five-star, simply brilliant prose that absolutely pops.”

 

 

DANGEROUS LADY by Martina Cole
Crime

Recommended by Christine Law:
“Dangerous Lady tells the story of a hard headed lady who is feared and respected by others. Who discovers she has a vulnerable side.”

 

 

PROJECT HAIL MARY by Andy Weir
Science Fiction

Recommended by Lisa Kerr:
“Who hasn't wanted to meet an alien and save the world? The cleverly structured plot and interesting characters keep you hooked. 10/10.”

 

 

VOLCANIC WINTER by Mark Rutherford
Political Thriller

Recommended by Boyd Robinson:
“Political integrity and climate change are real issues of concern, so this book makes one think hard about politicians’ ruthless quest for holding onto power.”

 

 

THE GARDEN OF HOPES AND DREAMS by Barbara Hannay
Contemporary Fiction

Recommended by Melissa Johnson:
“It was a beautiful story. The relatable friendship between Maddie and Vera. Wondering if Maddie and Ned’s romance will eventuate. And of course the garden!”

 

 

SGT RECKLESS by Robin Hutton
Biography

Recommended by Christine Reeve:
“The most incredible story I have ever read. For an animal to be held in such high regard by the US army says it all.”

 

 

LOVE AND VIRTUE by Diana Reid
Contemporary Fiction

Recommended by Bianca Millroy:
“This debut is fresh, funny and original; it subverts every tired cliche in the post-modern “me too” world and delivers with fierce clever prose punch.”

 

 

A SWIM IN A POND IN THE RAIN by George Saunders
Non-fiction

Recommended by Anne Lewis (and Robert Fairhead):
“Are you an aspiring writer? Read Saunders’ masterclass in storytelling, which analyses seven classic Russian short stories. It’s warm, insightful and a pleasure to read.”

 

 

STILL BEATING by Jennifer Hartmann
Dark Romance

Recommended by Clare Rice:
“This story was filled with unimaginable trauma but highlights the power of healing and forgiveness. I loved the growing bond between the main characters.”

 

 

THE RIP by Mark Brandi
Crime/Mystery

Recommended by Pam Garfoot:
“An unflinching narrative about a homeless and drug-addicted girl, dragged into something dark and dangerous. Masterful execution of authentic and utterly convincing POV.”

 

 

THE LAST OF THE APPLE BLOSSOM by Mary-Lou Stephens
Historical Fiction

Recommended by Pauline Wilson:
“A captivating family saga backed by thorough research, which tells the story of the apple industry in Tasmania starting with the 1967 Black Tuesday bushfires.”

 

 

OF ANTS AND DINOSAURS by Cixin Liu
Science Fiction/Fable

Recommended by David Coleman-Mann:
“A political allegory, a fable and a science fiction tale you cannot put down. Shows where we're headed, through the creativity of a brilliant writer.”

 

 

I FOLLOW YOU by Peter James
Thriller

Recommended by Deb Trayler:
“OMG – One of the most gripping suspense stories I’ve read in ages. The last few chapters were stomach clenching!”

 

 

YOU HAD IT COMING by B.M. Carroll
Psychological Suspense

Recommended by Petronella McGovern:
“When the man who destroyed Jess and Megan’s lives ten years ago is murdered, they become suspects. But who really is the victim? A gripping book.”

 

 

THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman
Children’s/Middle Grade

Recommended by Tracy Charles:
“About a boy who fits neither with the living nor the dead. What more can you ask?”

 

 

 

FURY by Kathryn Heyman
Memoir

Recommended by Lee Burton:
“Kathryn was courageous putting in writing her early life experience of braveness and determination to overcome adversity. Her skilful writing was beautiful and engaging.”

 

 

DARK EMU by Bruce Pascoe
Non-fiction/History

Recommended by Bernice Shepherd:
“It was a revelation to me. A beautiful history of First Nations culture and food production. It inspired me with hope for the future.”

 

 

THE PLOT by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Thriller

Recommended by Belinda Key:
“A washed-up novelist finds bestselling success with a story stolen from one of his students in this intricately plotted and thoroughly unsettling literary thriller!”

 

 

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