‘The Last Chairlift’ and other 2022 Fiction

For a few years, I’ve used my last blog post of the calendar year to aggregate the book reviews I’ve published over the past year. This post always generates several emails where readers share what they’ve read over the past year. It is always rewarding to see an overlap in the reading clothes of our IHE community.

One question I got this year was about my fiction reading habits. Going on the idea that higher ed people are big readers, it would be interesting to hear about what you are reading when you read fiction.

The last novel I read in 2022, over the holiday break, was the new John Irving book The Last Chairlift. This was the perfect vacation book to read, as it is long (900 pages) and funny and heartbreaking, and has nothing to do with higher ed. Reviews of The Last Chairlift have been mixed, but if you are an Irving fan, don’t let these reviews dissuade you.

Constructing my 2022 reading list is easier because I read fiction on my Kindle. Devotion to e-books seems to put me in the minority among my reading friends, most of whom seem to have gone back to paper. A question I have about academic readers is how the medium of reading has changed over the years. How do you read your books?

Going in reverse order, here is my 2022 fiction reading list. Recommendations and a willingness to share your reading lists are always appreciated.

Desert Star (A RenĂ©e Ballard and Harry Bosch Novel) by Michael Connelly. Connelly is my favorite police procedural author, and I’ll continue to read everything he publishes.

fairy tale byStephen King. This one is already being made into a movie. Can’t wait.

Heat 2: A Novel by Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner. How often is a book made out of a movie? Heat, the 1995 film, is fantastic. Heat 2, co-written by the movie’s director Michael Mann, is even better.

The Pledge (Detective Betty, 3) and The Burn (Detective Betty, 2) by Kathleen Kent. An excellent new crime series featuring the unforgettable Detective Betty Rhyzyk.

Upgrade: A Novel by Blake Crouch. A fun cross between thriller and science fiction.

The Every: A novel by Dave Eggers. Anyone worried about big tech will appreciate this sequel to The Circle.

Portrait of an Unknown Woman: A Novel (Gabriel Allon, 22) by Daniel Silva. Do you also find an author you like and read every new book they publish? Silva’s Gabriel Allon books are reliably entertaining and well-written.

Tracy Flick Can’t Win: A Novel by Tom Perrotta. The follow-up to Election. Perrotta is in great form.

The Plot: A Novel by Jean Hanff Korelitz. The perfect novel to read if you are contemplating pivoting your academic career to writing fiction.

Harlem Shuffle: A Novel by Colson Whitehead. Simply fantastic. Whitehead is a national treasure.

A Line to Kill: A Novel (A Hawthorne and Horowitz Mystery) by Anthony Horowitz. A satire of the publishing industry disguised as a murder mystery. Are there any murder mysteries set in the world of academic presses?

2034: A Novel of the Next World War by Elliot Ackerman and Admiral James Stavridis. A wholly plausible and, therefore, terrifying account of how a war with China might happen.

City on Fire: A Novel by Don Winslow. Winslow is writing some of the best crime fiction around. I particularly liked this mafia story as it is set in Providence, RI, where I went to grad school.

The Hunter (Parker) by Richard Stark. The first book of the Parker series, made famous by the Jason Statham movie. Not sure if I’ll read the series, but I wanted to start from the beginning.

The Latinist: A Novel by Mark Prins. A literary thriller featuring a humanities grad student, set at Oxford University. Part of my quest to read as many campus mysteries as I can discover. Any recommendations?

What did you read over the break?

What are you looking forward to reading in 2023?

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