The Non-Comprehensive Non-Exhaustive List Of Cool Stuff I Liked In The Year 2022


If you are at all like me, time means nothing anymore. The pandemic has broken any and all sense of temporal flow I once had. My wife likens it to defragging a hard drive — the pandemic was such an erratic time that our brains defragged, moving all the relevant chunks together and largely ignoring the chunks where either nothing happened or where it contains stuff we wanna forget, which frees up a lot of space. Great, except? That space is a void of slippery timelessness.

So, trying to remember THINGS THAT HAPPENED THIS YEAR IN PARTICULAR is tough. Especially when it comes to remembering what I liked, read, listened to, and the like. Triply so when it comes to thinking about books that I read, because I also read a lot of books that aren’t out yet, or read 2022 releases in 2021, and as such, wires get crossed.

Meaning, I’m going to miss some stuff here. And I apologize for that.

BUT!

Still.

I saw stuff, I read stuff, I heard stuff, and a lot of stuff was good, so I figure I’ll make the valiant-if-completely-destined-to-fail effort to put some of that stuff in front of you.

Here, then, is a short, non-comprehensive, non-exhaustive list of COOL STUFF.

Books

aka, THE MOST IMPORTANT SECTION BECAUSE BOOKS ARE GOOD

I don’t read as much as I used to, in part because I don’t have the time, and my eyes get tired, and I also read a lot slower than I used to. Which lets me savor work more but also, just not read as much, which sucks a bit.

Still.

Here are some of the very cool books I read and liked this year.

Books

HIDE, Kiersten White (tense thriller, twisted American fable, true fave here)

MAYBE WE’LL MAKE IT, Margo Price (music memoir, anybody creative should read this, all about the love of the things you make and do)

THE VIOLENCE, Delilah S. Dawson (holy shit what the fuck, this book is a whole damn journey, don’t be turned away by the pandemic side of it)

THE PALLBEARER’S CLUB, Paul Tremblay (softer touch Tremblay, sweeter and funnier but he’s still gonna stick that knife in because Paul is a monster)

THE DEVIL TAKES YOU HOME, Gabino Iglesias (let’s just call this what it is: a real bolt-cutter of a book, it’ll gut you, IYKYK)

AN IMMENSE WORLD, Ed Yong (one of our greatest science writers, will make you really appreciate the animal world and why we need to protect it)

GHOST EATERS, Clay McLeod Chapman (my highest compliment is that it reminds me of playing World of Darkness games, and this vibes like a truly legendary Wraith: the Oblivion or Geist game)

THE FERVOR, Alma Katsu (haunting historical horror, written with elegant prose and heartbreaking vibes)

NO GODS FOR DROWNING, Hailey Piper (horror noir fantasy all rolled up in one, vibed kinda like ARCANE on Netflix a little but definitely bloodier, good stuff)

THE TREES GREW BECAUSE I BLED THERE, Eric LaRocca (I wrote the intro to this, suffice to say this is body horror that slides between your ribs)

THE HOLLOW KIND, Andy Davidson (creeping crawling roots-and-shoots mom-and-son-move-into-old-family-house story, goes places you don’t expect)

MARY, Nat Cassidy (spooky serial killery middle-age ladyey stuff, prose pops and the hook sinks in right from the first page)

THE CLACKITY, Lora Senf (middle grade, more serial killery fun, but also monstrous and creepy and really shows how far you can push MG horror)

BURNING QUESTIONS, Margaret Atwood (I mean, c’mon)

THE ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF APPLES IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA, Daniel Bussey (yes I bought a seven-volume apple encyclopedia, you shut your goddamn mouth and don’t judge me)

Also a lot of books that came out in 2021 or before like Mallory O’Meara’s fantastic GIRL DRINKS or Christopher Mims’ ARRIVING TODAY or Matt Siegel’s SECRET HISTORY OF FOOD. Plus I blurbed stuff that isn’t coming out until 2023 like Grady Hendrix’s horror-humor-heart trifecta of HOW TO SELL A HAUNTED HOUSE or the classic-feeling horror of Chris Goldens ALL HALLOW’S EVE or Eric LaRocca’s debut novel or Jaime Green’s non-fict THE POSSIBILITY OF LIFE. And again I’m sure there’s shit-tons of stuff I’m missing.

Finally, I just started WHITE HORSE by Erika Wurth, and so far it’s a thumb’s UP.

[EDITED TO ADD: Not sure how I forgot Catriona Ward’s SUNDIAL — I think I read it in 2021, which may explain it. But also, time is meaningless. It’s exceptional — twisted, with an emphasis on the twist. I loved NEEDLESS STREET but thought SUNDIAL was even better, and it really blew me away.]

Movies

Everything Everywhere All At Once, Nope, X, The Adam Project, Confess Fletch, Top Gun Maverick, Barbarian, Emily the Criminal, Prey, Black Phone, Hellraiser

TV Shows

White Lotus, Severance, Andor, What We Do In The Shadows, Yellowjackets, Peacemaker, Bad Sisters, Reboot, Stranger Things

(I’m behind on some great shows, too, like Better Call Saul, Abbot Elementary, Russian Doll, Reservation Dogs)

Music

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Cool It Down

Metric, Formentera

K. Flay, Inside Voices / Outside Voices

The Linda Lindas, Growing Up

Oceanator, Nothing’s Ever Fine

Mitski, Laurel Hell

Alice Merton, S I D E S

Winnetka Bowling League, Pulp EP

Jack White, Entering Heaven Alive

Games

Inscryption (PS5), Stray, Cult of the Lamb, Vampire Survivors, Elden Ring, Beacon Pines, Goat Simulator 3, and also I got a Steam Deck and damn if that isn’t a pretty nifty device.

ANYWAY!

Thassit.

What did you like this year? Drop in the comments, recommend something. Anything! Across these categories or… like, literally anything, I don’t care, go hog-wild, get crazy, YOU ARE BOUND BY NO MORTAL LAW


15 responses to “The Non-Comprehensive Non-Exhaustive List Of Cool Stuff I Liked In The Year 2022”

  1. My 2022 love is Beam Paints, handmade watercolor half pans in environmentally friendly beeswax packaging. The pigments are great and the colors are vibrant. They’re made in Canada by an indigenous artist.

  2. Everything Everywhere All at Once does that magical Daniels thing where it mashed up absurdity and crassness and profundity and joy and sorrow into a big stew that somehow becomes far more than the sum of its parts. Truly a unique movie.

    Everyone is firing on all cylinders, but it was especially fun to have Ke Huy Quan back on screen again.

  3. I am a big fan of Chris Bohjalian. His latest novel The Lioness is an awesome read. Set during an African Safari in 1964. Also Horse, A Novel by Geraldine Brooks is great historical fiction.

  4. Hey Chuck. I started learning electric guitar this summer, my instructor Chris Clark from Malcolm Clark Duo, plays at Domani Star & Genevieve’s. Anywho. music recommendation: can’t believe I didn’t get into The Cult back in the 80’s. I’m learning to play “She Sells Sanctuary”. This hit and alot of their other works F’n ROCKS! Check’em out if you dont know them.
    Book: “Hold The Line: The Insurrection and One Cop’s Battle for America’s Soul” by Michael Fanone. Gripping, intense, captivating, and crazy insight to the terror of Jan. 6.
    Get it.

  5. I enjoyed The English on Prime. Kinda reminded me of That Dirty Black Bag (both filmed in Spain, I believe). I binged it and it’s stayed with me even weeks after viewing, which many shows don’t these days. Emily Blunt & Chaske Spencer were awesome.

  6. Love this list. Thanks for putting so much great stuff on my radar this year. Read The Violence in May or June and can still recall its characters and plot in vivid detail, which I consider a true indicator of a story’s power. Pallbearers Club too, for that matter. We have a lot of overlap in our lists. Two that don’t: Duplex by Mike Nagel. That’s a book you might be hard-pressed not to finish in a single sitting—it’s laugh-so-hard-until-you-cry good. The other: Raised By Wolves. I’ve never seen a television show that combined story, music, tone, lighting, visuals, time, literally you name it, in a way this show did. It’s such an awesome, gripping, and moving ride that I have to keep recommending it in spite of the crime that it was cancelled after its second season. My clear-cut favorite show of the year in which I’d probably have to write a top-30. Also, the Panos Comsatos-directed finale of Cabinet of Curiosities made me yearn for the days of pre-Musk Twitter, but instead I just took all that found time and watched it again. This year I listened to almost no 2022 music, but the best was Wilco’s bulls-eye Cruel Country. The best non-2022 new music that found me this year is Bing & Ruth’s Tomorrow Was The Golden Age, a beautiful piano album for 2014. Happy holidays to you and yours Chuck!

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