The Top Books So Far in 2022

The Top Books So Far in 2022

Beverly Gage’s G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century (Viking)

Gage reveals how Hoover preserved his image as an old-school personification of law and order for the majority of his long term as director of the F.B.I. in this crisply written, prodigiously researched, and a frequently startling new biography. Hoover was born on January 1, 1895, in Washington, D.C., the city he would call home for the rest of his life. He was hired by the Department of Justice in 1917 and never left. Most Americans admired Hoover for a long time. But, from the Palmer Raids to cointelpro, he could never see movements promoting social, racial, or gender equality as anything other than criminal conspiracies. Hoover followed suit. . Gage argues, “Hoover did as much as any individual in government to constrain and cripple movements seeking social justice, and therefore to limit the forms of democracy and governance that may have been feasible.”

Best Books of 2022 So Far | Time

Shehan Karunatilaka’s The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida (Norton) Fiction

In this magical-realist parody, the eponymous character—a self-described “photographer, gambler, slut”—awakens in the afterlife and has a week to figure out who murdered him. The novel follows Almeida as he strives to discover his murderer and assist two friends in obtaining a collection of photographs implicating persons on all sides of the conflict before they are stolen by others looking for them during the civil war in Sri Lanka in 1989. The organization consists of government officials, separatist Tamil Tigers, communist insurgents, Indian peacekeepers, and arms merchants who are all willing to kill to complete their mission. Though Almeida finds his murderer, he understands that “every death is significant, even when every life is significant.”

D.T. Max’s Finale (Harper) Nonfiction

Steven Sondheim welcomed D. T. Max’s request to be covered in our magazine several years ago—then declined. Then he reconsidered, and then again. But the bard of ambivalence kept chatting through it all, and Max’s book puts those autumnal conversations—some of which appeared on our website in edited form—front and center.

The best new books of 2022 so far | Fortune

Jonathan Freedland’s The Escape Artist (Harper)


In the Vrba-Wetzler Report, Auschwitz escapee Rudolf Vrba described his and others’ experiences at the camp in 1944, intending to pierce the “veil of ignorance” around the Nazis’ crimes. The report, which was distributed during the war, triggered an international response that ultimately saved two hundred thousand Hungarian Jews. With the help of a historical propulsion Freedland, a journalist, follows Vrba’s job gathering “data of the dead” even while imprisoned, spurred by his conviction that facts could potentially undermine the Nazi extermination scheme. As he portrays international leaders’ reluctance to respond quickly, Freedland remarks, “A horror is more difficult to fathom if no one has ever encountered anything like it before.”

Brigitta Olubas’ Shirley Hazzard (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)


This celebrated novelist’s biography follows Hazzard from her childhood in Australia and postwar Hong Kong to her adulthood in storied literary circles in New York City and Italy. Olubas examines Hazzard’s long-standing preoccupations with “mobile protagonists and their moving settings,” as well as truth, goodness, knowledge, and perspective. “The Transit of Venus,” Hazzard’s deeply layered novel, prompted her husband, the biographer and Flaubert scholar Francis Steegmuller, to remark, “No one should have to read it for the first time.”

12 New Books Coming in February - The New York Times

Nonfiction: Botticelli’s Secret by Joseph Luzzi (Norton).

In 1882, an Austro-Hungarian art collector purchased a collection of Sandro Botticelli works that had been in private collections in France and England for generations. Luzzi examines why the pictures, which accompanied eighty-eight cantos of Dante’s Divine Comedy, had fallen into obscurity and traces both Dante’s and Botticelli’s reputations down the ages. Many early critics thought Botticelli’s pictures contradicted Dante’s words, claiming that the Renaissance artist’s sensual, full-bodied figures weakened Dante’s “visceral yearning for God.” Luzzi, on the other hand, sees Botticelli’s drawings as “a ‘poetry’ in its own right,” as well as a critical link in the “mapping of the human spirit’s movement” from one age to the next.

22 Great New Books To Read in 2022 | Book Riot

Jon Fosse’s Septology, translated from the Norwegian by Damion Searls (Transit) Fiction

After a phenomenally successful and chaotic era as a playwright, the Norwegian author and dramatist Jon Fosse converted to Catholicism, stopped drinking, and remarried in 2012. He then began work on “Septology,” a seven-volume novel written in a single line and exemplifying his shift to “slow prose.” (The book was translated by Damion Searls for Fitzcarraldo Editions in the United Kingdom; a US edition will be available this month from Transit Books.) The novel’s narrator is Asle, a painter who converted to Catholicism when his wife died. He runs into his friend, also a painter, the night before Christmas Eve. He discovers his friend Asle, also a painter, comatose in an alley in Bergen, dying of alcohol poisoning. Their memories multiply, repeat, and eventually merge into a single voice, a dispersed consciousness capable of existing in multiple moments and locations at the same time. Though lacking in the doctrinal or dogmatic religious sense, the novel raises the possibility of belief in the reality of the divine, as fourteenth-century theologian Meister Eckhart, whom Fosse has read extensively, describes it: “It is in the darkness that one finds the light, so when we are in sorrow, then this light is nearest of all to us.”

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