The Worst of 2022

We’ve presented The Best of 2022 in our previous post; now, it’s PSA time 😉

Fortunately for you, it’s going to be a much shorter post. There’s no need to wallow in misery of the disappointments and unfortunate choices, or to taste the lingering, unpleasant rot of bad books, movies and TV series more than strictly necessary. And also, this past year was marked by careful deliberation and lucky strikes on our part, thus rendering the list of the bad and worse rather short.

Ola: Let’s start traditionally, with books. My biggest bookish disapointment of 2022 was, in a way, something to be expected: Joe Abercrombie’s The Wisdom of Crowds (2021) did not constitute a sudden dip in quality, a remarkable pivot in writing skill or storytelling panache; on the contrary, this was a culmination of a long and winding way to perdition through the sins of authorial hubris and sloth. This was the moment of parting ways between me and Abercrombie, and although I’m certain he and his fanbase won’t notice my absence, it does bear some significance for me – a confirmation of a long-held suspicion that grimdark is in its essence as juvenile and simplistic as whatever it rages against.

My next disappointing read came from Netgalley and could serve as the illustration of the adage “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Gideon Defoe’s An Atlas of Extinct Countries (2021) promised a fun romp through history and geography, but emphatically did not deliver. Avoid this like a plague. Ooops, these days this saying kind of acquired additional meanings ;).

The title I want to mention belongs to the manga category. One of them is Tite Kubo’s Bleach, a long-time fan-favourite which proved so traumatically bad that I renamed it to Bleh. If you want to see the worst in manga, you don’t need to look any further. Try Bleh, or One Punch Man, and you’ll realize manga also has its tropes, weaknesses, and shameful pandering to the lowest instincts of teenage boys. To be fair, there were also some pretty weak volumes of Naruto along the way, but I am willing to overlook their weaknesses because they are followed by some truly great ones. That’s the thing about manga – it lasts for hundreds of volumes, and inevitably some of these will be fillers, but for the titles I read and love the overall quality remains astonishingly high.

And lastly, one re-read. J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Even the wonderful narration of Stephen Fry couldn’t help this rotten egg of a book. Oh, the teenage angst! As I mentioned in my GR review,

“It’s way too long, boring and terribly angsty, and for me it’s simply the worst part of the whole series. I had a hard time going through the entire book, because Harry’s angry special snowflakiness just grated on my nerves so much. Also, the glaring logical holes that this time around I couldn’t overlook even when I tried.

It was a re-read, and sadly looks like none of HP books can entirely live up to the first encounter – the first time around this one got 6/10 stars ;)”

Piotrek: I had some strong candidates to my “Best of 2022” lists. “Worst of…” lists aren’t as full. I was cautious in my selection, and most of the things I did not particularly like where kind of good, just not my thing.

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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 🙂

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).

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Re-Enchanted 2022

New Year is fast approaching, so it’s reflection time! And stats, and summaries, because let’s not be shy – we all know what we like most in those posts 😉 We are always hoping for a better future, but in some aspects we at Re-E feel it’s time to face the music and admit that we won’t be fully coming back to the pre-pandemic world. Which might be, in the long run, not such a bad thing – but the reality at the moment makes the living that bit tougher ;). So here’s to you all, our fellow bloggers, with thanks for keeping faith in us. The blogging camraderie, our ongoing fascinating discussions, the knowledge that somewhere out there are people just like us, and totally not like us – which makes it all so rewarding and heartwarming – has over the years become a hugely important part of our lives. Thank you!!!

Ola: It’s been a crazy year, there’s no denying it. Covid rampage as a welcome gift from Poland, voyages around half of the world, and some tough career-changing decisions followed by incredibly challenging but super fun experiences were definitely the highlights of my year. I did manage to read a good amount of books, though – mostly because I took to manga with gusto, and read almost entire Naruto series, Fullmetal Alchemist, and half of Berserk. All in all, I read 120 books this year, which, considering the 5 months out of my life devoted to the programming bootcamp, I consider a win.

With that rather dramatic professional pivot I didn’t have much time for the blog, sadly – but I was (and am) super grateful to you guys, for sticking with us even when the number of posts dwindled to one or two per month. Now that I’m back, I hope to be able to write more 🙂 but it looks like the various non-reviewing activities that have been relegated into the past will stay there for the forseable future. It’s going to be reviews and not much more!

Piotrek: Yes, 2022 is coming to an end, and it’s customary to make some summaries, and predictions… It’s been a year overshadowed by terrible events taking place to the east of where I live. I wrote about it, most of what I wrote was about it, and it shaped what I read and much of the time I could have spent writing had been spent reading news & being active on social media to spread the word. GoodReads show I read 106 books in 2022, 17 are related to Ukraine and war. I read 119 in 2021, but it’s 39,144 pages now and 36,299 in the previous year – I did read more serious stuff this year.

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Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, Feb 2014 – ?

Russian aggression started in February 2014 on Crimea and the conflict never ceased, only its intensity varied. Now, there is a full scale invasion of the Russians against Ukraine, and we decided to post another of our rare political posts. Somehow, it’s always about something bad happening…

Ukraine is a country in Europe, a democracy, a country poor and corrupted – but one that made tremendous progress in the last decades. It’s people are brave and independent, and for Putin it’s a threat – he’s afraid Russians might follow their example. They won’t, they had theirs spines broken by Lenin and Stalin and never regained them. There are some brave people in Russia protesting against the war, today, but they are mostly already arrested. And there’s not enough of them to save the honour of this wretched nation.

Ukrainians have honour, but will they get enough support to survive?

We need sanctions as strong as never before, we need to cut Russia off all the institutions of the civilized world. From banking systems, and sport events. Confiscate property of Putin’s oligarchs, and expel their kids from expensive Western universities. And send all the arms Ukrainians need. If Russia occupies the country, never recognize whatever puppet regime they might install, and support the refugees, and the resistance.

This is a war in Europe like we did not have since the Second World War. It might define the future of this continent. We need to support decent people fighting for their lives and freedoms.

Please follow the news, do not listen to Russian trolls and their state media, support a legitimate charity that will help those in need, and there will be many. We know already about multiple civilian victims.

I’m Polish and my country had been invaded by Russia multiple times. Last time in 1945, when the liberation from Germany looked nothing like what you see in movies about American G.I. liberating France. Red Army raped and robbed their way through Poland then, like their ancestors did several times in the XIX century, and like they did multiple times since then, in many corners of the world.

Russia must be stopped.

Favourite Visual Media of 2021

Piotrek: Ok, so we already told you about our favourite books, now the time comes for the visual media. And it’s been a good year on this front, as well! Not so much for cinema, I’ve only been… twice, I think? But there were some great shows and a few good movies also. With frequent lockdowns there I had time to see quite a lot, but here I’ll only mention the best of the best, and only things premiered in 2021.

First, Piotrek’s favourite movies.


It was the movie of the year, definitely. Can’t wait for it to get to one of the streaming services so I can re-watch. There were several great reviews around, including a glowing one from Bookstooge that I totally agree with. SF’s ultimate classic got an adaptation it deserved, and that sadly Lynch did not deliver. Atmosphere, music, casting, scenography – all shined and played well together. It could be longer, some things are missing, and I think we deserve a Director’s Cut with extra 30-45 minutes, but even the theatrical version was excellent.

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