The Best Books I Read in 2022

Hello readers!

Today is my birthday! So to celebrate I decided to publish the post that I typically start writing on January every year – my favorite reads! I’ve played around with all the kinds of lists I could write (very long post with a top 3 for each genre/category? Short post with top 5 overall? Only 2022 releases? Best 22 books?) but ended up to keep it simple and just list all the books that truly, truly shone to me. So now we have like 25+ books, a mix of fiction, non-fiction, titles in English and in Portuguese.All brilliant.

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Quarto de Despejo by Carolina Maria de Jesus

This is the diary of Carolina, who lived in the favela for a long time and described her experience with a cool, detatched, but heartbreaking writing style that turned such a sad topic into something not entirely bleak to read – it’s even poetic here and there (but not in a romanticized kind of way). I loved this. It’s also translated into English as Child of the Dark.

Torto Arado Itamar by Vieira Junior

Oh if you love this kind of lyrical, a bit magical heartbreak of story, you will love this. Torto Arado is truly a gem in Brazilian literature and I can easily recommend it for fans of family epics (although this is a slim book) and literary fiction. I believe it’s available in English as Crooked Plow even though it doesn’t show in Goodreads, it comes out on 2023.

The It Girl by Ruth Ware

I believe this was my second Ruth Ware book – the first one I DNF-ed because I was bored out of my mind, but this one! This one I devoured. It’s a mystery rather than a thriller, so a slow-paced story and it was so addictive, with its dark academia atmosphere, tight-knit friend group with a secret, a possible wrongful murder… really it just worked for me.

Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies by Maddie Mortimer

Oh, I loved this. If you want to be completely devastated, pick this up. It tells the story of a woman, but it’s also told through the eyes (?) of an illness growing inside her. The audiobook was fantastic, the writing so lyrical, it broke my heart.

Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung, translated by Anton Hur

Oh god, what a unique short story collection! I can barely describe it properly, but suffices to say, if you’re looking for a good dark, horror story collection and are okay with some gore and some disgusting stuff happening, then you’ll love this. The first story really challenged me (if you know, you know) but it was nevertheless fantastic and got me thinking about its themes for a long time.

Reputation by Sarah Vaughan

Oh this book is going to make you so angry, but in a good way. If you’re looking for a thriller that will do more than just the usual formulaic story, that makes the reader really think and is sometimes a bit difficult to read – oh this is a great one. Reputation tells the story of a politician who is caught in a scandal when the body of a journalist shows up in her house and she’s suspected of killing him.

If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English by Noor Naga

This slim gem of a novel made my heart break. It takes place after the Arab Spring and centers around the doomed romance between an Egyptian-American expat and a local photographer whose life is taking a dark turn. It explores so many interesting themes, like the romanticizing of a country, class disparity, the power of storytelling… it was fantastic.

Mary: An Awakening of Terror by Nat Cassidy

This reads like a Stephen King horror with an middle aged lady (who might be housing the spirit of a serial killer) as the protagonist and I had a fantastic time with it! It felt like a very classic horror, with all the bloodbath one could wish for.

Sea of Tranquility Emily St. John Mandel

Oh my god this was amazing. Pick it up if you love literary fiction, not if you’re a sci-fi fan – really, this is very focused on characters and with St. John Mandel’s impeccable, clever writing, but the science fiction aspect of it might not be quite enough to convince sci-fi fans. I am not sure how to describe it, really – it takes place in several points in time, as we spend time with different characters, all of which experience an anomaly in time as space.

Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka

This one I highly recommend for fans of mysteries, especially if you’re into true crime as well. It tells the story of a serial killer, but through the eyes of three women: his mother, a policewoman and the sister of one of his victims. It was such a great book, so very nuanced and asking questions about justice, redemption and our society’s obsession with true crime and a serial killer’s psyche.

Vladimir by Julia May Jonas

This book was completely bonkers. It tells the story of a woman whose husband is being investigated for his inappropriate relationship with students while she becomes obsessed with a new, handsome professor. It took me for a wild ride and I really enjoyed the dark, unflinching themes of this book.

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

I’m not the hugest fan of Paula Hawkins, but I devoured this! It is a slow-paced mystery about a man who’s found murdered in a houseboat, and three women who are suspected of having something to do with it. The story was wild, taking unexpected turns and I loved every minute of it.

The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper

This is a historical fiction set in Pompeii a few years before the volcano exploded. It tells the story of a group of women who are forced into prostitution, and their brutal lives – but what really charmed me about this novel was the clever main character, who will do anything to be freed. Fate takes wild turns at times, and the ending left me breathless.

Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee

Fonda Lee ruined me with this book. This is, and will probably always be, one of my favorite fantasies of all time. The scheming, the magic system, the relationships, the twists and the many times it shocked me – I loved this so much! I don’t want to talk too much about this story because Jade Legacy is the third book of a series but I have talked about the series before: Review: Jade City, by Fonda Lee, Review: Jade War (The Green Bone Saga #2), by Fonda Lee.

Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith

I love Patricia Highsmith’s writing so much. She does psychological, noir thrillers like no one else – Strangers on a Train is a classic about two men who meet accidentally in a train and one of them tries to convince the other to commit the perfect crime. It had me hooked the entire time.

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier

This was the year when I fell in love with classics again. I remember enjoying Rebecca but I loved My Cousin Rachel. Such a clever story, so atmospheric and mysterious. It’s about a young man whose cousin dies and leaves him everything – strangely leaving nothing for his new wife, Rachel. When she shows up at his door, he feels immediately intrigued by her, even though she might have had something to do with the death of his cousin.

Under the Net by Iris Murdoch

This was a bit of a surprise for me – I had Under the Net on my list for years already, because I was curious about Iris Murdoch’s work, but I had no real expectations. But this was very entertaining, wonderfully written, a fun mix of an irreperable but loveable main character and a bit of philosophizing. I really enjoyed this.

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

This was a big project for me this year, and it look me long time to read this classic of feminist literature – despite it obviously being outdated, I had a wonderful time reading this. I recognized lots of the questions I struggled with as a young woman, and she has such a wonderful way to precisely express her thoughts, and a lot of times I felt like she was talking about things I knew but could not find the words for. I definitely need to re-read this.

How to Keep House While Drowning: A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organizing by K.C. Davis

This is the gentlest, kindest book I’ve ever read. It’s no secret that I’ve suffered from depression that leaves me completely useless for long stretches of time, and doing chores is very, very difficult in those times.So I intend on using the strategies on this book a lot.

Vilette by Charlotte Brontë

I am a total Brontë fan, I just love the dramatic, romantic, Gothic novels. They are always problematic in such a delicious way – and Vilette was the same! It felt like a more mature novel than Jane Eyre, and I liked the writing better, really.

Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet

This book reminded me a bit of The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood in tone (which I’m currently reading and loving), and also a bit of the Iris Murdoch style, which I loved. This was a fun read that had a definitely “oldey” feel to it, taking place mostly in the 60s and adding some philosophy on the “self” and brilliantly vivid characters. Quite a different tone from His Bloody Project (far less gory) but this is probably solidifying Graeme Macrae Burnet as one of my auto-buy authors.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

This was a re-read for me and I was so glad to love it again! As just said, I love the Brontë problematic, Gothic dramas and it’s a pity Emily didn’t publish more books.

Strangers I Know by Claudia Durastanti

I read the Brazilian translation of this gorgeous novel. It tells the story of a couple, both deaf, falling in love, marrying and eventually separating. Their daughter tells the story, herself having moved form Italy to the US. This is a book about language, belonging and forever feeling like a stranger/foreigner. I can’t believe this didn’t get more hype when it came out in English this year, it’s such a gorgeous non-fiction.

Dom Casmurro by Machado de Assis

Also a re-read for me. This is a classic of Brazilian literature and there is so much more to it than the main mystery of whether Capitu cheated or not. This is a fascinating story of entitlement, paranoia, and in my opinion, of the limits of women’s options in those times, their lives decided by men and their moods. In English, it is also called Dom Casmurro, in case you are interested.

Olhos d’água by Conceição Evaristo

Oh god, this was a punch to the stomach of a book. It’s a gorgeous Brazilian collection of stories which puts in focus the experiences of the Afro-Brazilian population. It’s wonderful, raw, powerful, the characters so vivid they almost come out of the page. One story in particular almost brought me to tears – and I don’t easily cry. I don’t think this has a translation yet.

Life Ceremony by Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori

This was such a strange little collection of stories that I was surprised to find myself falling in love with. They’re about belonging (or rather, not belonging) and it has a delicious mix of science fiction, dystopia and literary that just works.

Nightshift by Kiare Ladner

Another one perfect for those looking to be traumatized and depressed forever, but it’s totally worth it because it’s such a great book. This is the story of a woman who becomes obsessed with her coworker and decides to change to the Night Shift so as to stay close to her. I loved this but I have to say, it’s full of triggers and very, very difficult to read at times.

Sapphic Books Recommendations Part 4

Hello readers!

it’s been a while since my last list, and once I started drafting this part 4 I realized that I’ve read way too many Sapphic stories and immediately started drafting a part 5. Which should come soon, I think!

You can see the other parts of this here:

Sapphic Books Recommendations Part 1
Sapphic Books Recommendations Part 2
Sapphic Books Recommendations Part 3

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The Best Books I Read in 2021 – Part 3: Other Categories

Hello readers!

Welcome to part 3 of my best books from 2021!

The Best Books I Read in 2021 – Part 1: Brazilian Books

The Best Books I Read in 2021 – Part 2: By Genre

This part is a bit more specific than part 1, where we had the usual categories of mystery, thrillers, contemporary etc. On this part 2 I want to highlight some of the more specific stuff (especially translated lit) that I read and that reflects how my reading habits changed in 2021. I’ve read a LOT more translated books than ever before, which is very exciting and resulted in finding many favorites, and I found out I actually love short stories – but mostly translated ones (who knows why). I also wanted to highlight some of my favorite 2021 releases which didn’t quite make it to any other top 3s but that I wanted to talk about anyway!

When I say translated in this post – I don’t mean Brazilian books. I am not including Brazilian books in the “translations” categories because I have a couple categories exclusively for them, since I read significantly more Brazilian books (translated or not) than from any other non-English-language country. I feel a bit weird about adding Brazilian books to the translated category anyway, and I feel weird if I don’t, so I decided to create categories just for them. Also helps me highlight the books I might want to recommend from my country!

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2021 Debut Novels

A great year for debuts! Detransition, Baby blew my mind with how vibrant the characters were portrayed, allowing them to be messy, contradictory, fascinating. I loved this novel SO much. The Final Revival of Opal & Nev is one of the best stories to listen in audio to – it reminded me a lot of Daisy Jones & The Six, with its story set in the 70s and present day, and a big event that broke up the band. This wonderful novel brings to the front a Black woman in the 70s having to deal with the harsh consequences of speaking out against racism. Finally, She Who Became the Sun was SO close to being on my top 3 fantasies! This is a literary fantasy that completely has my heart – it’s beautifully written, epic, high stakes, everything I love in a fantasy.

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The Best Books I Read in 2021 – Part 2: By Genre

Hello readers!

Welcome to part 2 of my favorite reads of this year! 2021 was a pretty amazing reading year for me, hence the need to split my best books of the year in three parts – I’ve read over 150 books at this point and I wanted to highlight a lot of the fantastic stuff I’ve read, which in my usual posts would be difficult to really talk about more than a small handful of books.

Part 1 of this short series is here: The Best Books I Read in 2021 – Part 1: Brazilian Books

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Literary Fiction

Litfic is always difficult for me to choose a top 3, because there is a lot of itI can highly appreciate and that I think of often, and there is the stuff I most enjoyed reading – sometimes these books intersect, others, not really. So I spent literally weeks to decide on the following books: If I Had Your Face, a book that fascinated me endlessly (I love anything that discusses beauty standards), The Vanishing Half, a book I could simply never stop recommending to people, and Piranesi, which was so close to being a perfect read and impressed me so much my husband (who doesn’t read much fiction, much less litfic) picked it up and became a huge fan of Susanna Clarke.

If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha

A debut novel set in contemporary Seoul, Korea, about four young women making their way in a world defined by impossibly high standards of beauty, secret room salons catering to wealthy men, strict social hierarchies, and K-pop fan mania.

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The Best Books I Read in 2021 – Part 1: Brazilian Books

Hello readers!

As per every year, I like writing a post with my top 3 books for each category I read this year, which gives me a chance to look back at all the different genres and books I picked up, highlight the books that really stood out for me and recommend the Very Good Stuff in one post.

This year however I am splitting it in three! I am always unsure how to do categories, and I feel like it would be interesting to create new ones that reflect better my ever-changing reading habits (for example, Brazilian Non-Fiction since I read a lot of that this year) than just the general ones (Non-Fiction). So this is how we’re doing it this time: this part 1 has my favorite Brazilian reads, part 2 has the more “usual” categories (Science Fiction, Contemporary etc) and part 3 will have whatever other categories I feel like would be cool to highlight (2021 Releases, Translated Classics etc).

This year I’ve read a lot more Brazilian books than usual, which is why I thought it would be nice to have a post just for them. It will be a bilingual post, and on the English section I’ll let you know which books are available in translation.

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Brazilian Classics / Clássicos

[EN] This was such an interesting year for classics – I rediscovered a beloved classic (The Rogue’s Trial / Auto da Compadecida) in audio format, which I had not heard before (brilliant!), and two books for a book club that, although both are classics, they could not be more different: Barren Lives was a slim book, a sober account of a family in the Northeast trying to survive told in a bare-bones writing style, whereas Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands was such a brick of a book, hilarious, vulgar and with wonderful descriptions of food, about a woman who married once following her heart, and later on married again, but following her head this time. All three books are available in English translation, although I think The Rogue’s Trial is actually quite hard to get.

[PT] Este foi um ano excelente para clássicos brasileiros! Redescobri um favorito (Auto da Compadecida) em áudio com elenco completo, o que foi uma experiência incrível e me fez me apaixonar de novo por este livro. Dona Flor e Seus Dois Maridos e Vidas Secas peguei com um clube de leitura e foram dois livros excelentes que não poderiam ser mais diferentes! O primeiro é um tijolo de 600 páginas, hilário, vulgar e super interessante, e o segundo tem menos de 200 páginas e é mais sóbrio e com escrita direta sem floreios. Ambos excelentes!

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If You Liked this Book, Read this Other Book for Women in Translation Month

Hello readers!

Last year I couldn’t post recommendations because I realized far too late how close WITmonth was, but this year I have prepared myself! I love translated fiction and often wish I read more of it, except I never know where to start – which is why I think writing posts like this one are very helpful for other readers like me, who are looking for more WIT books to read but don’t really know where to look, or if they would enjoy the book.

There are no Latin-American women books on my list below because I JUST published a post like this exclusively for match-ups for Latin American WIT books, you can read it here: If You Liked this Book, Read this Latin American Book for Women in Translation Month

If you liked The Book of M, read The Memory Police

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Women in Translation Month: Recommending Recent Reads + my TBR

Hello readers!

I adore Women in Translation Month! It’s a great time to shine a light on Latin American books (hello, in case you are new here, I am from Brazil!) and find new amazing authors. I have a couple posts with recommendations for WIT already, so I won’t do a very extensive recommendations here, but rather a “here’s some cool WIT books I read this year and don’t talk about enough in my blog”, plus a few I will try to pick up this month.


Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura, translated by Phillip Gabriel

This is a sweet, sad but also heartwarming story about a group of teenagers who are not going to school for different reasons, and one day they all find out that they can go through a mirror and cross onto a fantastical world, where they are given the chance to look for a key and get a wish. This is such a lovely book about bullying, loss, trauma and healing. The language was a bit awkward and I did not love it but it did leave me with a warm heart.

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If You Liked this Book, Read this Latin American Book for Women in Translation Month

Hello readers!

Last year I couldn’t post recommendations because I realized too late it was #WITmonth plus my reading is incredibly Anglo-centric and only the past year or two have I taken steps to change that – and discovered amazing books in the process! I have been re-discovering favorites, finding out about authors I never heard of and generally got my enthusiasm for reading re-ignited, because translated fiction is a lot more creative than the US/UK books that usually are on my radar. If it got translated into English, it’s probably because that book is really special in some way, so as a rule I am often blown away by translated books. I also found out that I am quite inclined towards Latin American fiction (I’ve especially been reading a lot more Brazilian lit lately) probably due to the fact that they’re much closer to the culture I grew up with (I am Brazilian, by the way) and so they resonate with me a lot more. English-written books, even if by Latin American authors, are normally written with an American public in mind, through an Americanized way of storytelling, so I find that it’s much more insightful to read books written FOR the public I want to read about – as in, translated fiction.

The main problem I have when looking for translated works to add to my TBR is figuring out what kind of “vibes” they give, since my usual references (reviews by bloggers I know) are a lot more scarce. Which is why I decided to create this post (and more like these in the future), to help readers who loved certain books explore Latin American translated fiction.

If you liked Human Acts by Han Kang, try It Would be Night in Caracas by Karina Sainz Borgo

Human Acts by Hang Kang is a difficult book to read, a short collection of stories of an uprising in South Korea in 1980 which resulted in violent, devastating consequences for many Koreans, told through the stories of several characters, it does not flinch away from the horrors of torture, death and brutal oppression. It Would be Night in Caracas by Karina Sainz Borgo tells the story of Adelaida, living in contemporary Venezuela, which is going through awful times of political oppression, torture and people going “missing”. The author also does not flinch away from those things, although the writing style are quite different, both books are incredibly powerful and document the horrors of reality through the eyes of fictional characters.

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Sapphic Books Recommendations Part 3

Hello readers!

I’m finally back with part 3! After I’ve read 10-15 Sapphic books, I like to gather them into one post so as to make it easy for people to find recommendations, especially as I tend to read a variety of genres. Although Sapphic books are talked about a lot more nowadays, there is still this myth that “there aren’t any good F/F / Sapphic stories”, so it’s important for me to show that you can find amazing Sapphic books in any genre, if you care to look for it. In today’s post there is a nice mix of classic lit, fantasy, sci-fi, literary fiction and essays. Curiously, there are no romances this time around – I clearly need to pick up a few more of those.

You can see the other parts of this here:

Sapphic Books Recommendations Part 1
Sapphic Books Recommendations Part 2

Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart is a rather popular new adult fantasy with several main characters, including a F/F couple and it has bone magic, politics, twists and drama, and it reads almost (but not quite) like YA, so it’s a great book if you’re looking for an entertaining read with a very cool magic system and charming characters, this is for you! This was just a little bit too generic for me, but at the same time it was very fun to read and I think most readers will really enjoy it!

Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan le Fanu is a classic that precedes Dracula by Bram Stoker, and inspired it. It tells the story of a young woman who unknowingly houses a vampire, who is attracted to her. It’s an interesting book, a quick read and keeps you guessing on whether they’ll end up together or if Carmilla will kill her. What else do you need?

They Never Learn by Layne Fargo is the indulgent revenge fantasy with Sapphics that you need in your life. A smart, sexy Professor has been killing horrible men for years, but now she’s in danger of getting caught as she falls in love with her next victim’s ex-wife. If you love a femme fatale story, this is a really fun one!

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The Best Books I Read in 2020 (All Genres)

Hello readers!

As usual, some books were really hard to categorize as one thing or another, and some categories were so difficult to narrow down to 3 books! I read dozens of thrillers and mysteries, whereas classic fiction I read maybe 5 a year, so it’s much easier to choose only 3. I also change the categories every year a little bit, in order to reflect my reading trends of that particular year – for example, if I read a bunch of new authors (more than 1 book by them, that is), I like to include a Best New-To-Me Authors, which I didn’t do this year, but I did include a Best Brazilian Books & Best Translated Fiction, since I’ve been reading lots of both this year, and also added more Non-Fiction categories.

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Contemporary Fiction

Funnily enough, none of the books below were 5 star reads, but they were still favorites that I LOVED and want to re-read. Also they all broke my heart. Breasts and Eggs was witty, smart and insightful into the lives of women in Japan; Little Gods made me fall in love with the main character just to break my heart; and My Dark Vanessa is one of the most complicated, dark books out there and deserves recognition for all the nuance and sensitivity with which the author wrote about its heavy themes.

Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami / Review

Little Gods by Meng Jin / Review

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell / Review

Historical Fiction

A really strong year for historical fiction! I loved all three books below, although I admit they’re mostly bleak stuff, all three are wonderfully written. How We Disappeared shines a light on the fate of Singaporean women who were kidnapped and forced to serve as “comfort women” to Japanese troops – it’s also not as difficult a read as I thought it would be, the author mixed a bit of mystery in which made this not as hard. I knew I would love The Mirror and the Light and so it was not a surprise when I did – this is such a worthy ending to the wonderful trilogy of Thomas Cromwell. The Mercies broke my heart in a million pieces with its story about witch hunting in 17th century Norway, love, suspicion and loss.

How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee / Review

The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel / Review

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave / Review

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