I Read 51 Books in 2022!

Several years ago, I started tracking my annual reading. I did this after learning how important the most successful individuals valued reading. I wrote several posts over on my personal finance blog, The Bumbling Millionaire. When I stepped back from that project to focus on my crime fiction writing, I didn’t want to lose track of the annual reading list. It felt too important.

There are a variety of reasons for reading—enjoyment and learning immediately spring to mind. In this world of short attention spans, reading combats that with the concept of deep learning.

Recently, Yale researchers found readers live longer than non-readers. For no other reason to outlive those idiots who disdainfully talk down books, we should read, read, read! Let’s promise to speak nicely about those dolts at their funerals.


I start every year with the same goal and the same plan.

The goal: read 52 books.

One book a week is a challenge in my life because of the variety of responsibilities, but I don’t want it to be easy. An easy goal is one not appreciated when reached.

Once again, I fell short of my goal, but I got damn close this year.

I read 51 books this year. If you look at the numbers below, you might notice that I read Atomic Habits and The Go-Giver twice. They were both that good.

The reading plan: one non-fiction book for fiction book.

My idea behind this plan was to read one book for learning and one book for fun. As a crime writer, I can argue that any fiction book I read is for learning since I’m studying style, structure, etc. But that’s malarky. I’m always reading a fiction book for fun first. If I notice style or structure, it’s because something amazing (or horrible) was done.

Years ago, I read far more non-fiction books than fiction. Those were of the self-help variety, especially based in the personal finance genre. It’s where I was in my life and what I found the most fascinating. I still love non-fiction books but am more open to searching beyond the self-help categories, as you’ll see in a moment. Many of these non-fiction books help me in my writing. They prompt ideas for scenarios or character discussions.

Unfortunately, I failed at my reading plan. I consumed fiction at an almost 2:1 rate. For next year, I need to pay more attention to this.


My Favorites

I thought it would be easy to pick a favorite for each category. However, looking back over this year’s reading list, I’ve read some stellar books.


In the non-fiction category, I already mentioned how much I liked James Clear’s Atomic Habits. Brandy Colert’s story about the Tulsa race massacre, Black Birds in the Sky, was haunting and bothered me for some time. I could say the same for Jon Krakauer’s Missoula, about the local college’s rape scandal.

However, the book that kept me most enthralled was The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel. It’s the story of how Christopher Knight abandoned society to live alone in the Maine woods for twenty-seven years. The story is told so exquisitely that I want to reread it again.


I read some incredible fiction books this year. Lou Berney’s November Road and David Heska Wanbli Weiden’s Winter Counts were two of the best.

However, my favorite for most of the year was Jade Lady Burning by Martin Limon. It’s the first book in his Sergeants Sueño and Bascom series. It takes place in 1970s South Korea and Sueño and Bascom are military police. The story was fantastic, but the setting was truly unique. As soon as I finished it, I jumped into the second novel. I can’t wait to read the third!

Near the end of the 2022, Jade Lady Burning got bumped from the favorite position.

I was fortunate to receive an advanced copy of Jordan Harper’s Everybody Knows. I was also lucky to get his current release, The Last King of California. Both are exceptional novels, but Everybody Knows did something so books rarely do. It peeled back the ugliness of Hollywood (and society) while making it look glamorous at the same time.

Every time I finished a chapter in Everybody Knows, I thought, “What a horrible fucking place,” and then immediately turned the page to keep reading.

The 2022 Reading List

NON-FICTION (in no particular order)

1.  Murder So Cold – Patricia Springer
2.  Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook – Gary Vaynerchuk
3.  Lone Survivor – Marcus Luttrell
4.  The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson
5.  Crush It! - Gary Vaynerchuck
6.  Crushing It! – Gary Vaynerchuck
7.  How I Write – Janet Evanovich
8.  Extreme Ownership – Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
9.  Son – Jack Olsen
10.  Murder in Spokane – Mark Fuhrman
11.  Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing – David Morrell
12.  Atomic Habits – James Clear
13.  Atomic Habits – James Clear (2nd reading)
14.  Black Birds in the Sky: The Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre – Brandy Colbert
15.  The Go-Giver – Bob Burg and John D. Mann
16.  The Go-Giver – Bob Burg and John D. Mann (2nd reading)
17.  The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit – Michael Finkel
18.  Missoula – Jon Krakauer

FICTION (in no particular order)

1.  Detroit Wheels – John Hoda
2.  November Road – Lou Berney
3.  Diamond Dogs – Gabriel Valjan
4.  Windy City Blues – Sara Paretsky
5.  Jade Lady Burning – Martin Limon
6.  The Reincarnationist Papers – D. Eric Maikranz
7.  A Village of Strangers – Frank Zafiro
8.  Slicky Boys – Martin Limon
9.  The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
10.  All the Pieces Fall – Frank Zafiro
11.  The Gutter and the Grave – Ed McBain
12.  All That This Life Requires – Frank Zafiro
13.  A Baker’s Divorce – Frank Zafiro
14.  Burying the Newspaper Man – Curtis Ippolito
15.  The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven – Sherman Alexie
16.  Created, The Destroyer – Richard Sapir and Warren Murphy
17.  The Black Ice Score – Richard Stark
18.  Downtown – Ed McBain
19.  Three to Get Deadly – Janet Evanovich
20.  Live and Die This Way – Frank Zafiro
21.  Everybody Knows – Jordan Harper
22.  The Last King of California – Jordan Harper
23.  All the Way Down – Eric Beetner
24.  Occam’s Razor – Joe Clifford
25.  The Angel of Rome – Jess Walter
26.  Midnight Lullaby – James D.F. Hannah
27.  Devil’s Chew Toy – Rob Osler
28.  No Dibs on Murder – Lawrence Kelter/Frank Zafiro
29.  The Upper Hand – Johnny Shaw
30.  The Thursday Murder Club – Richard Osman
31.  The Worst Kind of Truth – Frank Zafiro
32.  Winter Counts – David Heska Wanbli Weiden
33.  Hope Dies Last – Frank Zafiro

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