Favourite media of 2022

We did summarize our 2022 blogging, now it’s time for books, shows and movies… we’ll see how long it gets, but we’ll try to cover it all in one post. It’s been a busy year, but a lot was consumed nonetheless, just maybe a bit different stuff than usual πŸ™‚

Piotrek: Lets start with books, the crown achievement of human culture and our blog’s main topic. According to GoodReads I read 107 titles in 2022 and that added up to 39,400 pages. One of my better years on record. Average book length was 368 pages and that is the record, I believe. I did some re-reads, I read some books that were waiting a long time on my shelf, and I read a lot on the most important topic of the year – Ukraine and its struggle against Russian colonialism and imperialism, and not only on the battlefields, but in the minds of people all around the world.

I’ll start with re-reads. There’s been more of that than usual, and I want to mention two. Shōgun disappointed Bookstooge during his recent re-read, but he made me wanna revisit the book myself. And it was just as good! I don’t mind profanity, or even blasphemy, and it’s such an epic adventure it makes me want to also replay the excellent Total War: Shogun 2 computer strategy. But I also had my disappointment and it sadly was The Legend of Drizzt. I like R.A. Salvatore, whenever I listen to an interview on some fantasy podcast he comes out as a nice human being. But reading his books just isn’t as fun as it used to be. This one wasn’t, and neither were short stories I loved in the 90-ties… there’s always a risk in revisiting childhood favourites, sometimes it pays out sometimes it doesn’t.

Now my favourite genre fiction. This year it constituted (fantasy and sf combined) about 1/3 of my reading, probably the lowest since… early elementary school? But these were mostly solid works. And I’ve chosen three that I liked the most (in no particular order).

Patricia McKillip The Forgotten Beasts of Eld. Many people here love McKillip who sadly died in 2022. Her unique style makes me enjoy every novel I;ve read, including Winter Rose Ola did not like. But this is my favourite, great atmosphere, wise words about love and overall a great tale that I also enjoyed more than Ola πŸ˜‰

Dave Hutchinson Europe in Autumn Ola read in 2015, I finally did it last year. A wonderful novel that starts in my beautiful city of KrakΓ³w, about a divided Europe very much in crisis, fast & smart and continued in four more volumes.

Bernard Cornwell The Warlord Chronicles (so three books actually, but I’ll treat them here as one entity). Maybe the least magical version of the Arthurian Legend I’ve read, but still one of the favourites. Cornwell usually writes historic fiction and I usually like his books a lot, he seems to always deliver – although he’s so prolific I’ve only read a fraction. This is a historic novel about invented history, presenting his version of familiar heroes and their adventures, and a lot of new ones. An epic trilogy that will catch and keep you attention from first to last page, if you’re anything like me as a reader.

Non-genre also has its Top 3. The first one I even reviewed, a rare thing last year πŸ˜‰ The Orphanage by Serhiy Zhadan. A novel about Ukraine during the early stage of the war (which, I remind you, started in 2014). It’s about a society torn by conflict that is hard to ignore even if you try really hard. Family, nation, different layers of identity and hard choices.

2022 Nobel prize went to a French writer, Annie Ernaux, and while I often ignore it, a few enthusiastic reviews made me want to check her out. Les AnnΓ©es / The Years was a great choice. A portrait of a generation, from 1940-ties until 2006. France as it changed, from occupation through economic boom and post-war social changes, until the constant crisis of our century. So much packed into 256 pages, superbly written and also highly recommended. The Nobel committee does good job from time to time!

And the final book here is Felix Timmerman’s Boerenpsalm. A short gem from Flanders and a great example of Flemish literature from early XX century by an author who almost got his Nobel, being nominated three times but without success. Indeed a psalm, a wonderful depiction of traditional peasant life just before it disappears in the modern world. Culture, religion, a cycle of vegetation that dictates life for these hard working people… their struggles, joys, tragedies and humour. Short book that contains so much. Reminded me of Colas Breugnon, although this was more sober in tone.

Non-fiction. I had a small non-fiction renaissance! Read quite a lot and mostly great stuff. Most was connected to Ukraine in some way, or war, so I’ll start with one thing that wasn’t. The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity by David Graeber and David Wengrow is an attempt to re-write the history of humanity from a anarchistic, left wing perspective, appreciating the alternative paths not taken that could possible have lead to a more just societies and not what we have today… it certainly makes use of theories about early history of humanity developed after I learned the classical approach in school. Andreas wrote it’s a fascinating alternative approach to history, an attempt to create new myths that might inspire even readers not agreeing with authors. I agree! I hope we’ll write a two-shot review with Ola one day πŸ™‚

Next book was written by Larry Wolff, American historian specializing in history of my part of the world. The Idea of Galicia : History and Fantasy in Habsburg Political Culture takes on Eastern European Galicia (not as sunny as the one in Spain πŸ˜‰ ), artificially created province ruled by the Habsburg empire between 1772 and WWI. Poles, Ukrainians, Jews and Germans, to only mention the most numerous ethnicities mixed together with fascinating results until Germans went back home, Jews were annihilated and now the area is divided between Poland and Ukraine. Perhaps we’d be happier in a multi-national, benevolent empire, and on both sides of the border people like to celebrate these days… but first we need to chase away the ugly, evil empire of Putin… the book is long, but fascinating, to everyone interested in Polish, Ukrainian or Jewish history.

The final book in this category – Gregor Ziemer’s Education for Death. Author run an American school in Berlin in 1930ties, and studied Nazi educational system up close. The resulting book is hard to read, I read a bit about it before but I did not know the ideology was pushed that hard in schools. Harder than you’d think even watching all the movies about SS fanatics. Ideology and martial preparation replaced regular subjects to a degree that would find German science destroyed in a decade or two if it continued. It reminds me of Putin’s Yunarmiya, young Russian fanatics you can see in some terrifying clips on YouTube.

I haven’t read that many comics, so I’m not going to dedicate much space to them. Monstress started well, but I’ve only read two volumes, some non-genre and mostly European comics made me think, and write a post WordPress killed before I could publish it…

Shame of the year is definitely not continuing Malazan. This is a great series, I love it, I need to start reading again, I hope I will some time in 2023.

Despite that new vocational experience, I managed to read 120 titles this year. Many of them were manga volumes, a saving grace if there ever was one, as much for their ability to give me psychological comfort as for their aesthetic value. I’ve read a whopping 80 manga volumes last year, and I hope to continue this trend in 2023. Many of these titles were an absolute pleasure to read, but even though the manga generally drove my ratings up, I ended up with 3.3 average rating for the year. What can I say? There were a few bad eggs in the mix πŸ˜‰

Ola: 2022 was an interesting year, all right – much in the vibe of the Chinese saying, or should I rather say, the curse? πŸ˜‰ Plenty had happened, and for 5 months I was mostly out of life and very much in the virtual reality of programming bootcamp. Super fun, super exhausting, extremely educational – all in all, highly recommended πŸ˜€

But this is a post about the highlights of the year, so let’s start.

My favourites in the SF genre were all written by the same guy and they all belong to one trilogy: Transformation by Neal Asher. I was so enraptured by the fate of Penny Royal that I only wrote the review for the first installment, Dark Intelligence. For the fantasy, the top award goes to Barry Hughart unfairly forgotten classic, Bridge of Birds. It’s such a truly wonderful and wondrous novel, I loved every word of it!

I’ve also had a good time with McKillip’s books, particularly In the Forests of Serre and Alphabet of Thorn (again, not reviewed ;)), as well as James’s second installment in the Dark Star trilogy, Moon Witch, Spider King. I started to warm up to McKillip after the unfortunate beginning with Winter Rose when Bart @ Weighing a pig recommended The Forgotten Beasts of Eld to me, and indeed, each subsequent title proved consistently good or better.

I’ve managed to read some good old classics, Roberts’s Pavane and Harrison’s Light, and Wilhelm’s Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, and they were solid, fulfilling reads. But beyond these books I’ve read nothing truly remarkable genre-wise, and some mishaps that went straight to The Worst of 2022 list.

Other fiction though, especially military fiction, continued to make its mark on me. The re-read of Caputo’s masterpiece, A Rumor of War, as well as Marlantes’s Matterhorn, were particularly memorable. As for non-fiction, I have consumed only a few books this year, mostly in biological sciences and history. While enjoyable for the most part, they were not jaw-dropping, so I’ll mention only Bitch as the most entertaining (though, as you probably know from my review, IMO absolutely not free of authorial sins ;)) and Nixonland as the most mind-blowing.

As for manga, I’ve nearly finished Naruto, and enjoyed it more and more with the passage of time and pages. I’m almost done with Fullmetal Alchemist as well – the one thing that’s stopping me is my pickiness πŸ˜‰ I’m waiting for the publication of the last two volumes in the lovely hardcover edition I’ve been reading all the volumes to date ;). I’ve tried Bleach, or rather Bleh, as I renamed this utter offense to intelligence, started reading Jujutsu Kaisen, My Hero Academia and Vagabond, and am voraciously consuming volumes of Demon Slayer. Lastly, I’m reading Berserk, which should come with trigger warnings for everything, really, even for the horrible art in the early volumes :P. But Miura’s improvement is incredible, and the art in the later volumes is in the absolute top of manga art ever, period. I am addicted.

Reviews for these will be coming after I reach the end of each series – I’m planning to do something similar to my Dragon Ball and DBZ reviews, where I wrote a short review for each volume along with a quick summary of the entire series. I also managed to finish all available volumes of Yotsuba&! and even wrote a post about this wonderful slice-of-life manga, here.

Movies were definitely less memorable this year, but I still had loads of fun with…

(1) Top Gun: Maverick, a skillfully made blockbuster with state of the art cinematography and a plot that cleverly manages to blend nostalgia with new emotional stakes, playing on themes of growing up and growing old. My favorite movie of the year, I think.

I really enjoyed (2) Everything Everywhere All At Once, it is a fun and unusual romp, deftly mixing Western and Eastern influences and keeping a beating heart (its own, although there’s probably somebody else’s there, too!) throughout. It’s funny, absurd, gross and thrilling, and surprisingly touching, too. Michelle Yeoh is a true star here, and deserves all the awards and accolades.

(3) Knives Out: Glass Onion is highly enjoyable, as well, and delivers a great evening entertainment with darker undertones. Not much more, I’m afraid, but entertainment is nothing to be sneezed at, especially in a year of cinematic draught 2022 turned out to be πŸ˜‰ Poking fun at billionaire inventors and their gaggle of sycophants, the ex-celebrities and would-be politicians, it delivers a solid dose of well-deserved Schadenfreude. The saying Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned is slightly updated here, with really deftly played themes of female vengeance and skill. Plus, it is always a pleasure to see Daniel Craig stretch his comedic muscles ;). As a side note, though, how could the guy behind Knives Out butcher Star Wars so?

Piotrek: Oh, yes, movies… I did not see that many in 2022. Hardly any new ones, and in the cinema I’ve been… twice, I think? Might be the first year of my life when I’ve been to a traditional theatre more often than to the movie theatre πŸ™‚ But I would like to mention three 2022 movies that I’ve seen and liked best.

(1) Im Westen nichts Neues An amazing war movie. Adaptation of one of the most important WWI novels, horrors of trench warfare as seen by young German soldiers. Great war movie, great anti-war movie. For me, it was better than 1917. One of its strengths is the portrayal of politics and ideology of a nation state at war, the cynicism of politicians and misled patriotism of mass-enlisting youth. Reminds me of the scenes we now see from Russia…

(2) Top Gun: Maverick One of my few cinema escapades. And it’s been worth it! Great blend of respect for the older audience and new viewers, Tom Cruise in good form, aircraft portrayed with reasonable realism (according to some specialists that were willing to add a bit of a cool factor their expertise in physics and engineering πŸ˜‰ )… not a transformative cinema experience, but a great fun movie. Made me think of the scenes I want to see from Ukraine when they finally get the F-16s πŸ˜‰

(3) Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness I have seen several superhero movies this year, not as many as I used to, and this was definitely my favourite. Not a great movie, but something I could simply enjoy, and it’s been a struggle with, say, this year’s Thor. Spider-Man: No Way Home was a way better movie that I also watched in 2022, but it premiered in 2021, it doesn’t count here.

I have seen Knives Out: Glass Onion, albeit in 2023, and I agree with Ola, but I wouldn’t put in any “best of” list… Everything Everywhere is on my list after I read Jeroen’s Top 10 Films of 2022, I’m going to see it this month πŸ™‚

Ola: That’s the attitude I have for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. A nice enough movie with a couple of wonderfully trademark Raimi scenes and a cool performance from Cumberbatch, but my superhero allergy slowly turns into a full-blown gagging reflex (especially at the sight of spandex). Scarlet Witch’s transformation the entire movie hinged upon wasn’t quite believable and the logical holes only grew throughout the storyline.

As for TV shows, which I’ve only seen a handful in 2022, I don’t have much good to say – with the exception of Ted Lasso, which was hilarious and super fun, particularly S01, and Derry Girls, a wonderfully funny and quirky show, and a particular delight for those who have felt the touch of the Catholic Church in their lives! I love this series dearly, and Sister Michael (George Michael, might I add) was a definite highlight. Wednesday was a surprising hit in my household, quirky and gory and very much in the vintage Tim Burton style. I continued with Last Kingdom, which is as enjoyable as ever, though I must confess that any series longer than 2 season seems to be a struggle for me and so I pace myself ;). I seem to have inexhaustible stores of patience for long series of books, and even for puzzles. For TV series? Not so much. As for other TV series, we have started and not finished Andor, Moon Knight, Bad Sisters… Most of the rest was utterly forgettable, and some will definitely feature in The Worst of 2022 post we’ll be preparing next πŸ˜‰

Piotrek: 2022 TV shows, on the other hand, were great. Hard to choose only a few. While I read great books each year, this might have been one of the best years when it comes to shows. Derry Girls, After Life and Expanse ended, and these are three wonderful shows. High Water is a rare Polish show I would recommend for wider audiences to see – a short series about the biggest flood in people’s memory and the fight to save one of Poland’s biggest cities, filmed perfectly well. Several shows started that are supposed to be continued, and my favourites among them are The Bear , Sandman and Andor, but I also quite enjoyed Willow and Amazon’s Rings of Power. I have no space to mention shows from 2021 I saw in ’22, or ones that started even earlier, and I haven’t reached their 2022 seasons last year. There was too much great stuff! The post is getting too long already, so just a few thoughts…

Derry Girls – one of the funniest things I’ve ever watched. A show about (mostly) female high school students from Northern Ireland around the Good Friday agreement with a great character of catholic nun running the school… nothing made me laugh out loud as often this decade. After Life is a black comedy/drama from Ricky Gervais who’s character is dealing with his wife’s death, and it’s sad, funny and strangely uplifting. Three short series, same as Derry Girls, great show. Expanse you all know and I believe it ended well, solid SF that for some time was hard to find.

The newcomers… I ended last paragraph with Expanse, so I’ll start this with Andor. My new favourite SF show? Too early to tell after just one season, but definitely my new favourite Star Wars show, and something that gives me new hope for the franchise. Grim, bloody, political, dirty, a show I couldn’t stop watching, I think I did it in two sittings. Willow and Rings of Power represent fantasy and they were not as good as some of the others, but, for me, extremely enjoyable. A classic quest of a pretty stereotypical cast πŸ™‚ Willow was a surprise, as I somehow missed it was coming, and I love the movie! Sandman is my favourite new fantasy series, creators generally played it safe with this adaptation, and the result is much better than American Gods, and immensely satisfying for a long-time fan like me.

The favourite new non-genre show: definitely The Bear. A show about chef remaking his dead brother’s sandwich shop. Recipe for success? Not necessarily, but they did make it work, and how… funny, moving, not shying away from difficult topics. Contained shots of meat so fine it moved me from almost-fully to just mostly vegetarian πŸ˜‰

2022 was an interesting year when it comes to culture consumed, not typical, but a good one. I plan to read more genre this year, but we’ll see what the future brings. I also hope to start visiting cinema again, but I’m worried I got too lazy πŸ˜‰

Ola: I’ve learned not to make too many plans, so I’m going to take it a day at a time ;). The things I know for certain are that I’ll be continuing with my manga addiction, I have designs on re-reading Dune Messiah, and I’ll be starting Ada Palmer’s Terra Ignota series. There will be more non-genre and non-fiction, I think, in my readings. There might be a cinema trip or two in the works, depending on the quality of titles available, but mostly I’ll be probably continuing with watching some good oldies.

Next up, The Worst of 2022! Buckle up for the controversy and righteous fury! πŸ˜€

44 thoughts on “Favourite media of 2022

  1. Nice to see Barry Hughart’s Bridge of Birds on your list, Ola. It’s one of my all-time favorites, with two sequels (not as great as BoB, but still enjoyable).
    Best wishes to both of you for more excellent books in the coming year!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Lizzie, it’s such a wonderful book I feel like I should do whatever I can to give it more recognition – it certainly deserves it! πŸ˜€ I’ll be reading the sequels later this year, I hope, once I hunt them down.
      All the best to you in 2023, Lizzie!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Agree on Bridge of Birds. I had to search out the hardcover. Also agree on Top Gun Maverick and Glass Onion–Janelle Monae was a pleasant surprise–I knew her music and music videos, but not that she could pull off the movie acting. Can’t wait to see Everything Everywhere–I’ve been saving it. Anyway, always a delight to read both your thoughts. I just started Derry Girls, so I will look forward to Sister Michael!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, it’s such a great book! πŸ˜€
      Yup, agree on Janelle Monae, she was really good in Glass Onion!
      Oh, you’re in for a treat! Sister Michael is an absolute delight, and her “don’t give a damn,” no bullshit acerbic brusqueness is just what I would love to channel sometimes 🀣

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So many good books and series here! You both still had amazing years in spite of all the difficulties the war and life has thrown at you.

    Was Elric the inspiration to not only Drizzzt but also the Witcher in some way or am i confused with a different book?

    If you are jumping into Dune Messiah, could we do a buddy read on it perhaps? I’d like to continue the series too as ive only read Dune for the first time two years ago…

    Will you be watching the full metal alchemist on netflix?

    I hope 2023 will be kind to you both🀘🏻

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve only read that Sapkowski refuses the inspiration, pointing out, rightly so, IMO, that Elric and Geralt have only their albinotism and their moniker White Wolf in common, while their respective worldviews, behaviours, status, goals etc. are totally different. There’s also the angle that both of them were inspired by some obscure Finnish hero, Kullervo πŸ˜‰ Elric certainly fits the pattern, Geralt not so much IMO.

      I’d love to do a buddy read on Messiah, I just need to finish Cryptonomicon first – should do it by the end of the month, hopefully, it’s just 1000+ pages 🀣🀣

      I don’t know about FMA, I’m not too keen on live-action manga-based movies, but on the other hand I’ve heard some good things about the movie, so we’ll see πŸ™‚ I need to finish the manga first, though!

      Thank you! And the same to you, Dawie! All the best for 2023!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. piotrek

      Elric certainly inspired Drizzt (or it seems so, I listened to some interviews with Salvatore but I don’t remember much), Witcher… Moorcock is listed among the most important writers in Sapkowski’s non-fiction book on fantasy, and Sapkowski is exceptionally well-read, so when you discover some inspirations, you’re probably right πŸ™‚

      I’ve seen FMA! Never read the whole saga, but I enjoyed the anime a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah, Cornwell! One of the authors I keep reminding myself to continue reading, if I could avoid getting distracted by other books… I have read only The Last Kingdom and I’ve been wondering if watching the TV show might offer the necessary push to continue reading. On the other hand, I have the Warlorld Chronicles on my TBR and that one seems like a more feasible proposition. Still, like Ola I prefer not to make too many plans, knowing how they tend to go haywire… πŸ˜‰
    Here’s to a great reading/watching/whatever year for both of you!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. piotrek

      I collected the whole set of “Sharpe’s…” novels, I enjoyed the TV show with Sean Bean a couple of years ago… novels should be also good, and quite a quick read

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, what a rollercoaster of a year for you both, certainly in terms of media – just exhausting reading about it so I don’t know how you both survived!

    I’ll just mention a couple or so things that stick in my mind. The Forgotten Beasts of Eld I did enjoy too, not to the extent of including it in highlights but enough that I’d like to read more McKillip if her titles come my way. Netflix shows I’ve enjoyed certainly include Wednesday, as with you, and I’m eking out the Disney+ Andor as it’s really quite enjoyably tense. I wish I was really back ‘into’ nonfiction because I should really be reading more about European politics but I find I can only get my head around shorter fiction like novellas or novels I can just zip through without taking copious notes. My bad, I know, but it can’t be helped.

    Anyway, here’s to us in a year’s time looking back on 2023 with a more positive and optimistic stance!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s one long post, I know 🀣

      Like you, I was not overly sold on The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, but the later offerings by McKillip turned out to be more to my taste. I think Alphabet of Thorn might be particularly to your liking, Chris πŸ˜€

      I’ll second your wishes, Chris, we all could use some more optimistic turn of events all around!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Oh yes! I recently watched Glass Onion and enjoyed it too, and I’ll like to watch Everything Everywhere All At Once as well. I ended up not liking Top Gun: Maverick as much though.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Congrats to you both on your reading numbers even with everything else taking place in your lives.

    Piotre- Glad I could inspire you to read something that big πŸ˜€
    I am sorry that Drizz’t turned into a dud though. I know exactly what you were feeling but so far I haven’t found a sure-fire way to tell which books are safe to re-read and which ones should be left alone. So good luck.
    You just need to read McKillips entire bibliography. Even if it’s just 2-3 books a year, I’m sure you can fit that into your 100’ish book schedule πŸ˜‰ And that way I can live vicariously and not have re-read them quite so soon!
    3.3 is a VERY respectable average. I never trust people who have an average of 4. means they’re not being honest with their ratings OR they’re so gullible that they like everything and thus their opinions are meaningless.

    Ola – Since you made it through the Transformation trilogy, are you going to aim for the Rise of the Jain trilogy this year?
    I’m assuming you’re going to try to pack in the 2 sequels to Bridge of Birds?
    And yes to more McKillip. You need it πŸ˜‰
    You and I are going to have to completely disagree on what counts as a “classic” if you’re calling Harrison’s “Light” one.
    Rian Johnson wanted to destroy star wars, that’s the only thing I can think of for why he can make movies like them AND create the Knives Out movies as well.

    Well, cheers to both of you and we’ll see you in your next post πŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Bookstooge!

      Yes, I’ll be reading Rise of Jain. I was thinking of Skinner first, but I’m sure I’ll be digging through the entire Polity series. I’m taking it slowly, Asher is my comfort read 🀣

      I’ll be reading the sequels to Bridge of Birds. Forewarned is forearmed, so I know not to expect the brilliance of the first book, but I think/hope I’ll still enjoy them.

      Ah, classic, pfft. I didn’t mean it in “Iliad” meaning of classic, I used it as a shorthand for ‘notable genre books of the last 50 years.’ 🀣

      Yeah, I actually agree with your conspiracy theory regarding Rian Johnson! Feels like he just wanted to deconstruct Star Wars and ended up destructing it instead πŸ˜‰

      Thanks! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

    2. piotrek

      I will continue with McKillip, that’s for sure πŸ™‚ and sometimes re-read sth risky, that’s life, you change, and the books written long ago stay the same…

      I had an abnormally high rating this year, close to 4 actually (3.3 is Ola’s πŸ˜‰ ). What can I say… I’m enthusiastic, sure, but I’m also really careful. I’m not on Netgalley, I read reviews, I concentrate on older books that stood the test of time, and that works fine for me. In 2022 I had two 1-star and four 2-star ratings.

      Although it might be a good idea to wait a day after I finish a book, to cool my head a bit, I noticed I’m a bit harsher when some time passes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thankfully, with my last batch of re-reads, I’m pretty sure McKillip is ok for me for at least another decade. After that I might age out πŸ™‚

        I no longer can trust anything coming out of your mouth now. An almost 4 average IS abnormal πŸ˜‰

        My wait til is usually about a week, sometimes 2 and yeah, all the weaknesses come to the fore by the time I’m done (over)thinking about the book. But trying to write as soon as I’m done? I read too much for that…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. piotrek

          I always wait with the review, but I usually rate pretty quickly after I finish, and that might be a mistake, I’ll try doing it differently this year to see if it changes anything πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

            1. piotrek

              I don’t do that many reviews any more… I just spend a moment thinking about the book, how it measures up by itself and in comparison to similar ones, and then I open GoodReads and my spreadsheet (that has a 1-10 scale and I’m usually a bit harsher there).

              Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m jealous of the number of books you two read! I just hope I’ll get back to one book a week one day, but I guess that won’t happen until the kids grow up.

    I’m very glad you liked Boerenpsalm, Piotrek, it continues to amaze me I managed to convince somebody to hunt down a translation of a Flemish book about a farmer from the 1930s.

    The Dawn of Everything didn’t work for me because I read too much troubling reviews/articles about misrepresentation of sources I simply could not read on. A shame really, because I enjoyed it.

    Very much looking forward to Ola tackling Palmer.

    I guess I’ll need to get me some Asher too, but I’ve been saying that for ages. Some comfort reading would be nice indeed. But I guess I fear starting his early novels.

    I tried After Life season 3, but didn’t get further than the second episode. Don’t know why. A shame really, as I thought the previous seasons were brilliant.

    Anyhow, here’s to a great 2023 for you both!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. piotrek

      Yeah, I know how it works, I supply books to my sister, who has three girls… you’re excused πŸ˜‰

      I commented on Timmermans already, he represents a very interesting genre that was a bit neglected in Poland as we always considered ourselves a nation of knights, not peasants, and our first verses on farming are about how nice it is to enjoy the toil of your peasants and how you need to be tough of their lazy asses… but if you ever find time to read Reymont’s “Peasants”, do, it’s long but quite powerful, at least in Polish.

      If we decide to review Groeber, I’ll have to read more on that. I can definitely say I enjoyed the book and there’s something very tempting in alternative history, contemplating how it all could have gone better πŸ™‚

      Thanks, many good books in 2023, even if not one per week ;)!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thanks, Bart! And all the best for you and your family in 2023!

      The first book of Palmer’s treatise is waiting for me in the library – we’ll see how it goes! But first, I need to finish Stephenson πŸ˜‰

      Asher is an acquired taste, I think. I love his imagination and his ability to acknowledge depth and ambiguity of the world while offering quite simple solutions – in that way, it’s a comfort read πŸ˜‰ I also enjoy his controversy which he seems to achieve even without trying, it’s his mindset, I believe, which is somewhat more right-leaning than mine. This makes for a refreshing read, just seeing it all from a bit different perspective. But yeah, his early novels, particularly the first one, are not the best. Not bad, but not great either ;).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m all for diverse reading, so I’d welcome his mindset. So – I probably asked you before – where should I start with Asher – taking into account that I don’t really want to commit to a 10-book series. Just one or two books, that feel complete by themselves.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hmm, if you don’t mind starting in the middle and figuring your way in an already set up world, I’d suggest starting with The Line of Polity (https://reenchantmentoftheworld.blog/2020/01/21/neal-asher-the-line-of-polity-2003/) – a second installment in Agent Cormac series. From there, I’d go with The Technician (https://reenchantmentoftheworld.blog/2021/02/02/neal-asher-the-technician-2010/) which is located on the same world, but follows different characters and offers an intriguing in-depth view into Asher’s worldbuilding. Some plot elements would be unresolved, but from there on you’d know if you want to continue or not πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

  9. What a fun read, I’m glad you include other things alongside books. But if you hadn’t included books, I’d not have known that you’re BOTH (now) Yotsuba fans! I also really enjoyed Everything Everywhere All at Once and I’m encouraged, now, to try All Quiet on the Western Front too. Do either of you listen to Elvis Mitchell’s podcast The Treatment? His interview about the sequel to Top Gun had convinced me to watch it, even before both of you enjoyed it. (But mostly the reason I listen loyally to EM is that he covers the movies that I have NOT heard of, rather than the “blockbuster” types, as entertaining as they are, sometimes.) Anyway, I hope you both have an awesome year ahead of you. Take care and find pleasure!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Marcie! 😊

      Ooh, I haven’t heard of The Treatment, thanks for the recommendation!
      Yeah, it’s been quite a rich year – lots of good stuff to read and watch πŸ™‚
      Have a wonderful 2023, Marcie!


  10. One helluva wrap-up, guys! No one can say that you didn’t find time to enjoy some good stuff, whatever form it took. It’s always reassuring to know that you were still able to find some goodies among all the trash that comes out yearly hahah!
    @Pio: I have been meaning to try Drizzt someday but, it not being high in my priorities, your reread doesn’t make me want to try it anytime soon now hahah
    @Ola: I do love that your venture into manga continues to grow at an incredible speed! I’m working my way through Jujutsu Kaisen right now too and it’s so addictive. I do need to start Demon Slayer and catch up on everything!
    I hope 2023 will be a solid year of watching and reading for you both!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lashaan! πŸ˜€ We’re currently working on the Worst of 2023 post, so stay tuned 🀣

      Yeah, I’m a total manga addict now – you and Bookstooge can congratulate yourselves! 🀣🀣 Seriously, though, I guess it was to an extent inevitable with Western comics (particularly superhero genre) in a rut so deep you can’t see the sky. Manga is like Greek tragedy crossed with comedy and lengthened to the size and proportions of an epic. It scratches a very particular mythopoeic itch for me, and I’m supper happy πŸ˜€ There are so many good manga titles that the risk of me running out of great stuff to read is fairly small at this point πŸ˜‰

      Wishing you many great new reading and watching experiences in this new year!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow, it sounds like both of you had a pretty full and satisfying year!
    The three non-fiction books Piotrek mentioned sound intriguing, I have to check them out!
    And Derry Girls and AfterLife were two of my favorite series this year, even if the last season of Derry Girls is the least favorite out of the three, because we don’t get enough Sister Michael in there!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes!!! A fellow fan of Sister Michael, woohoo! 🀣

      Yep, it was a surprisingly good year reading- and watching-wise, but also in personal life. Hope yours was great, too!
      All the best in 2023, Susy!


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