The Most Brilliant Books of 2022

The Most Brilliant Books of 2022

The year is out, but the results are in!  After much deliberation, our booksellers have compiled a selection of titles that we consider the Most Brilliant Books of 2022.  They are ranked alphabetically by author, and not by merit, as all are equally Brilliant.  Each one brought something unique to the literary landscape of 2022.  Which ones have you read?

 

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Autoportrait By Jesse Ball Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9781646221387
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Catapult - August 16th, 2022

"A brilliant explosion of the memoir genre." —Stefen


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When Women Were Dragons: A Novel By Kelly Barnhill Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780385548229
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday - May 3rd, 2022

"This is such a beautiful story of the fury, magnificence, and enormity of female rage, love, and power.  There is no better way to describe society's fear and censorship of the immensity of female power and sexuality than through dragons."  —Peri


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The Light Pirate: GMA Book Club Selection By Lily Brooks-Dalton Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781538708279
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Grand Central Publishing - December 6th, 2022

"Described as Where the Crawdads Sing meets Station Eleven, The Light Pirate is the story of Wanda, a girl named for the hurricane that tore her family apart even before she was part of it.  We watch her grow, struggling to find a place in a world that is changing rapidly but that is, to Wanda at least, still exquisitely beautiful and awe-inspiring.  It's an apocalypse story in which the world doesn't so much end as resolve, like the final chord of a song, into something new.  A beautiful, wistful, hopeful book."  —Caitlin


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The Book Eaters By Sunyi Dean Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250810182
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - August 2nd, 2022

"Dark, dazzling, electric.  This delightfully strange fantasy will sink its teeth into you and will not soon release you from its clutches."  —Leo


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Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away By Annie Duke Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593422991
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Portfolio - October 4th, 2022

"While adages such as grit vs quit contribute to to the cultural norm of never being a quitter, knowing when to do so is essential.  In Quit ex-poker professional, Duke teaches you how to get good at understanding and practicing “optimal quitting” just as the best players know when to fold ’em."  —Peter


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Leech By Hiron Ennes Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250811189
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Tordotcom - September 27th, 2022

"The best kind of scifi: gothic, meticulously weird, and populated with disturbing creatures.  Really cool book."  —Stefen


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Vagina Obscura: An Anatomical Voyage By Rachel E. Gross Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781324006312
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - March 29th, 2022

"One of the most eye-opening books on female anatomy I have read.  I thought I knew things, as someone who is studying human sexuality, but my knowledge was quickly humbled in an exciting, saddening, and hopeful way."  —Peri


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Motherthing By Ainslie Hogarth Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593467022
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Vintage - September 27th, 2022

"This book was a train wreck in the best possible way.  You absolutely can't look away no matter how bizarre, grotesque, or horrifying it gets.  I could say it's a commentary on generational trauma (both societal and familial), but it's also several love stories gone very, very wrong with a dash of mental instability and perhaps a parasitic ghost thrown in for good measure."  —Caitlin


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Disorientation: A Novel By Elaine Hsieh Chou Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593298350
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Penguin Press - March 22nd, 2022

"Sharp, smart, and oh so fun!  This book was impossible to put down.  Wrangling race, identity, and academia into one rollicking read, Disorientation is part satire, part fever-dream mystery, and part self-reckoning."  —Leo


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Shit Cassandra Saw: Stories By Gwen E. Kirby Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143136620
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - January 11th, 2022

"This is such a strange book about women moving through a culture that is constantly trying to subvert them.  An LSD trip, a magical trip to ancient times and a talk with a close friend."  —Peri


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Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution By R. F. Kuang Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780063021426
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Voyager - August 23rd, 2022

"This was hands down my favorite book of the year.  Not only does it hit all the right notes for some of my favorite kinds of fantasy--alternate history, a complex and nuanced magic system, characters who are equally complex and whose actions drive the story--but it also really made me think, which is what the best stories in any genre do.  It's a book about colonialism and oppression and power systems and prejudice, some real, some fictional, but all holding a mirror up to the world we really live in and asking hard questions.  Definitely a book to read, discuss, and consider."  —Caitlin


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Hurting Kind By Ada Limón Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9781639550494
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Milkweed Editions - May 1st, 2022

"I brought this book with me on a family trip to the Upper Peninsula and would pick up up in quiet moments sitting by the lake.  It was perfect, beautifully written quiet observations of nature, deeply connected and moving." —Rachel


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A Scatter of Light By Malinda Lo Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780525555285
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers - October 4th, 2022

"As a fan of Lo's Last Night at the Telegraph Club, I immediately added this to my to-read list when I heard about it and was not disappointed. "Coming out" stories are nothing new to me, but as someone who was coming to terms with my own sexuality around the same time as Aria in A Scatter of Light, I felt deeply understood and represented when reading Aria's internal monologues."  —Carissa


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The Song of the Cell: An Exploration of Medicine and the New Human By Siddhartha Mukherjee Cover Image
$32.50
ISBN: 9781982117351
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - October 25th, 2022

"In this fascinating read, Mukherjee balances a precise, scientific approach with a style that is approachable, compulsively readable, and quite charming.  A panoramic account of changing medical understandings and treatments, The Song of the Cell is another exemplary work of science literature from the author of The Emperor of All Maladies."  —Leo


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Paradise Sands: A Story of Enchantment By Levi Pinfold, Levi Pinfold (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Levi Pinfold, Levi Pinfold (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9781536212822
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick Studio - November 8th, 2022

"Our booksellers were all in awe of this beautifully illustrated book.  It has this dusty dark color palette and reading it feels like you’re in a slightly spooky dream.  Definitely a great one for adult lovers of picture books."  —Rachel


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The Employees: A workplace novel of the 22nd century By Olga Ravn, Martin Aitken (Translated by) Cover Image
By Olga Ravn, Martin Aitken (Translated by)
$19.95
ISBN: 9780811231350
Availability: Backordered
Published: New Directions - February 1st, 2022

"Blade Runner filtered through the aesthetic of Twin Peaks.  Haunting, subtle, infused with poetry.  A very lovely little book."  —Stefen


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Travelers Along the Way: A Robin Hood Remix (Remixed Classics #3) By Aminah Mae Safi Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250771278
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Feiwel & Friends - March 1st, 2022

"A fresh and charming retelling of Robin Hood, featuring a diverse group of witty teenagers attempting to restore peace to their land."  —Max


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Elektra: A Novel By Jennifer Saint Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250773616
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - May 3rd, 2022

"Greek mythology retellings have my heart, and Elektra is no exception.  The novel spans the events leading up to and including the Trojan war from the perspectives of Clytemnestra, wife of Greek warrior Agamemnon; Cassandra, a Trojan princess gifted with prophecy but cursed with never being believed; and Elektra, daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra.  Reading Cassandra's perspective was especially heart-wrenching.  Fans of Madeline Miller's Song of Achilles and Circe as well as Pat Barker's Silence of the Girls will enjoy Elektra."  —Carissa


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Skandar and the Unicorn Thief By A.F. Steadman Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781665912730
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - May 3rd, 2022

"A magic school, dangerous unicorns and a ton of exciting adventure, what else do you need?  My 12 year old agrees — it’s fantastic and one of his all time favorite books.  Book two comes out in May, we can’t wait!"  —Rachel


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My Volcano By John Elizabeth Stintzi Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781953387165
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Two Dollar Radio - March 22nd, 2022

"John Elizabeth Stintzi’s stellar way of pushing our minds to the limit of THEIR mind is boggling!  This avant-garde novel is a journey through a climactic disaster for humankind, but not so much for earth, and maybe not even a disaster as humanity would define it to be, is a whirlwind to say the least.  It is a dramatic and searing story that consumes your soul and spits it back out at you, glowing with possibilities; new definitions of time and space, questions of how we should ‘spend’ said time, and a need for the awakening of a spirit that holds all of humanity together in unity with the earth.  If the description of the book makes you wonder whether it can be pulled of, I’ll tell you, it can.  The question to ask yourself is, Am I ready to be enlightened with a new reality?"  —LC


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Sakamoto Days, Vol. 1 By Yuto Suzuki Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781974728947
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: VIZ Media LLC - April 5th, 2022

"An action packed slice-of-life that will touch your heart and funny bone, the unique characters and their lovable dynamic displayed throughout their adventures will pull you in and make you wish YOU worked at Sakamoto's, too!"  —John


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Dandadan, Vol. 1 By Yukinobu Tatsu Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781974734634
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: VIZ Media LLC - October 11th, 2022

"Get ready to stretch your brain AND eyeballs with the conspiracy-riddled, supernaturally laced madness!  The high energy of the story and it's characters makes this a loveable and consistently enjoyable series, a love letter to all the weirdos chasing and enjoying the unknown in their own lives!"  —John


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Your Body is Not Your Body By Alex Woodroe (Editor), Matt Blairstone (Editor) Cover Image
By Alex Woodroe (Editor), Matt Blairstone (Editor)
$22.00
ISBN: 9798985992304
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tenebrous Press - May 16th, 2022

"An absolutely transformative work of queer fiction, Your Body is Not Your Body is a love letter to the trans experience.  With stories that are both gut-wrenching and beautifully candid, this collection will leave you wanting more."  —Max