(9) Cloud Cuckoo Land is written by Anthony Doerr, the same author as one of my all-time favorite books, All the Light We Cannot See. Doerr's prose is always beautiful, and I will give anything of his a chance. This book was a delayed favorite; I had to take some time to reflect on the ending before I could rate it, but it ultimately belongs in my top ten for it's ability to seamlessly weave multiple time and story lines together with seemingly effortless writing.
(8) I don't know that I would have picked up The Humans on my own, but I am super happy that it was chosen for a book club I'm in. There were so many quotes about many of the wild things that make humans "human" that resonated with me. I think I also laughed out loud, and that is a rare occurrence while reading.
(7) The second book in the Between Earth and Sky series continues the story of one of my favorite fantasy books, Black Sun. While I felt Fevered Star suffers from being a second book in a trilogy in that it felt like a lot of recovery and set up, the world and characters Rebecca Roanhorse has created is so refreshing. If you're looking for a fantasy series that is not set in medieval Europe, read this one, and explore a fantasy realm in the Pre-Columbian Americas.
(6, 5) I was introduced late to the comic book series, Saga, but I am so happy I gave it a shot. I'm also glad I came late to it so that I was able to read the compendiums. Saga Books Two and Three are entertaining, and I can see myself rereading them again and again. Luckily for me, the creators' hiatus ended shortly after I finished book three so I was able to read the new comics as they were released in 2022.
(4) It's almost unfair to other books to keep reading The Thief each year or including it in my list of books to review. It has been one of my favorite books since before middle school, and it will always remain near the top of my list. I have read it so often I can turn to my favorite chapters and read them on their own. While it's a YA book, to me, it doesn't read like others. The pacing is a little slower, and I feel the writing, although easy to follow and understand, does not feel too simplistic. I should probably stop rereading the first book and finally read the newest books in the series for the first time...
(2) ...Which brings me to my second favorite book of the year. It's rare to find a second book in a series that is more enjoyable than the first, but I found that in The Kingdom of Copper. While the series overall has an epic scope, The Kingdom of Copper is filled with political intrigue and familial tension that involves a relatively small cast of characters, as far as fantasies go. It was like a Game of Thrones on a much (much, much) smaller scale, and I loved it. I would reread this book without needing to reread book one beforehand.
(1) And finally, my top book of the year: Braiding Sweetgrass. I cannot say enough good things about this book. My copy is riddled with sticky notes that I refuse to remove because there are so many passages that I want to revisit time and again. However, I feel like the best thing would be to reread this book every year for the rest of my life. If you care about the environment, you should read this book. If you are interested in learning about indigenous beliefs and wisdom, read this book. If you love to garden or grow plants, read this book. If you want to exemplify kindness and generosity, read this book.
Braiding Sweetgrass should become required reading in all high schools. Its lessons about respecting the earth and caring for everything and everyone around you are endless. Plus, the writing is beautifully intentional and the storytelling superb. This book is an instant favorite and will always be one I will recommend to anyone I feel might be willing to give it a try.