Reading Review of 2022

This is a list of the books I read or listened to in 2022. Each has a small, hopefully non-spoilery review. This is to share what I read and also to help me keep track of what I have read and enjoyed!

Patriot Games

Tom Clancy, 1987

This is the first Jack Ryan novel I’ve ever read, and I loved it. I never saw the movie and had no idea what to expect. It was a wild ride. Jack Ryan is almost too perfect a protagonist, but it’s okay. It was a great political thriller and kept me wanting more the whole way through.


George Orwell, 1949

I don’t know how I made it through life without reading this before. It’s such a part of our culture that everyone knows “Big Brother” or knows about “new speak”. It was a great book, and was not AT ALL what I expected. The ending was a completely different from what I anticipated. I thoroughly enjoyed it and wish I had read it sooner.

Every Tool is a Hammer

Adam Savage, 2019

I love Adam Savage. This book takes you through some of his methods and philosophies and sprinkles in anecdotes along the way. As an avid viewer of his YouTube channel, a lot of this was stuff I had heard, but there was a lot that was new. For the Mythbusters fans, I don’t think you’d find that there are as many Mythbusters stories as you might expect or want. I enjoyed it though and would recommend it.

Dune Chapterhouse

Frank Herbert, 1985

The final installment in the (original) Dune franchise. I don’t think I could have read through this one, but listening forces me to march forward. I found it a slog with too much intrigue and I just never felt invested in the story. I’m glad I can say I finished them all, but honestly they just aren’t my type of book.

Jesus the Christ

James E Talmage, 1915

I pulled this out to do some research for a talk I had to give at church and decided to read the whole thing since it has been 20 years since the last time. The book is super dense and dry, but interesting. Unfortunately, I’m not sure I really retained a whole lot into my long-term memory, but at the time, I felt like I was receiving some good insight into the ministry and life of Jesus Christ. I think it’s a great resource.

Dragon Teeth

Michael Crichton, 2017

This book was released posthumously, but was written in the 70’s apparently. It follows the fossil wars in the 1800’s and I thought it was quite gripping. It’s shorter than some of his other works, but I really liked the characters and the adventure. I would recommend it!


Michael Crichton, 1996

This was a great story about an “incident” with an airplane made by a fictitious company, and the ensuing investigation about where things went wrong. I got to learn a lot about flaps, and autopilots. It turned out to be quite the adventure, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Highly recommend!

If Chins Could Kill

Bruce Campbell, 2002

Who doesn’t love Bruce Campbell? He narrated this and it was a hoot. He touched on nearly all the things he’s done in his career, and had great anecdotes. It felt like it gave a good sense of who he is and how he views the industry. He’s a funny guy and I would recommend this book to any of his fans.

Red Rabbit

Tom Clancy, 2002

The next Jack Ryan novel (I don’t think I’m reading them in order…), this one involves an assassination plot, and a Russian informant who needs to escape the country. It was a good political thriller and I enjoyed it a lot. Not sure I liked it as much as Patriot Games, but it was a good ride. I’d recommend it.

Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury, 1953

Another classic that somehow I have failed to read until this point in my life. Once again, we all know about this dystopia where books are burned. But once again, I didn’t know anything about the actual plot. It was a wild ride, and a quick read. It was interesting seeing all the people being pacified with their “parlor walls” and not having any real interest in the world around them. It was a good read and once again it didn’t go in the direction I anticipated. Highly recommend!

The Saints Volume 3

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2022

This volume of The Saints covers the early 20th century which includes the World Wars, and expansion to other countries, as well as interesting information about getting temples onto foreign soil. It is shorter than the previous entries, but still had some really interesting parts.

The World According to Star Wars

Cass R, Sunstein, 2019

This was a bit of an impulse. I ran out of things on my list, and this was available at the library. I didn’t really know what to expect going in, but it was actually a hoot. The author explores things like the economy, religion, philosophy and relates them to Star Wars. I enjoyed it a lot.

The Never Ending Story

Michael Ende, 1979

I have been familiar with the movie for most of my life, and have always liked it. My son read this book and was loving it so much, I decided to as well. It is a fun story. The movie follows the plot pretty well, but only covers the first half of the book (with some notable exceptions). The second half is a completely different story that I didn’t expect, but it was really good. There was also a lot of nuance in the themes that are more evident in the book than the movie. It was great, and I recommend it.

Moby Dick

Herman Melville, 1851

I decided to pursue this book after watching a video of Adam Savage talking about reading it, and making a diorama of a whale tale. The book is ingrained into our cultural knowledge on some level, however I was surprised while listening to it how much I really didn’t know about it. The ending wasn’t what I expected. The book for me went back and forth between immensely interesting and a bit dull. Some of it is the narrative about his voyage, then other chapters are philosophical, others are about the minutia of whaling. All in all, a worthwhile read, but some parts were more tedious than others.

A Princess of Mars

Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1912

This was an interesting book. I’ve read quite a few Edgar Rice Burroughs books in my day, and this narrative felt very much the same. The story was interesting, and I like his imagination and description of the foreign world. One thing I noticed while reading his Pellucidar series that I noticed is that he at times goes into great detail about how something works as a way to make it more credible. The problem is that here 100 years after it was written, it can come off as gibberish. The Martians use what he calls 8 and 9th rays (the first 7 being the 7 colors of the rainbow) and these rays are used for propulsion and some other feats of technology, and that part broke the immersion for me. But all in all, I enjoyed the story.

Alcatraz Vs. The Evil Librarians

Brandon Sanderson, 2007

My son got introduced to this from his cousins, and ready the whole series in a couple weeks. He begged me to read it as well. I’m glad I did. It’s a very witty book, full of what I would class as clever sarcasm. I like that as the narrator, Alcatraz frequently points out the tropes he is employing while narrating the story. The story is imaginative and made me laugh out loud more than any other book I’ve read in recent memory. It’s clearly a young adult novel, but I found it extremely funny and engaging.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back – So You Want To Be A Jedi

Adam Gidwitz, 2017

This book was very much geared towards young children. It’s a retelling of the Empire Strikes Back intertwined with meditation tips for honing your burgeoning Jedi skills. On the positive side, it extended the training scenes with Yoda, and gave more teachings, etc., which was fun. On the negative side, many of the scenes that could have been directly quoted from the movie were not, which annoyed someone like me who has the entire film memorized. Also an odd thing I noticed, the author moved Darth Vader’s scene with the Emperor to before the Falcon chase in the asteroid field, but Vader still ordered them to leave the Asteroid field to get a better signal.

The Land the Time Forgot

Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1918

I definitely know this book by reputation. I went in thinking “Dinosaurs!” But it actually starts with a WW2 sub story filled with intrigue before getting to the aforementioned prehistoric creatures. Edgar Rice Burroughs has a style of narrating that is very familiar to me at this point, and the story is very reminiscent of the Pellucidar series, and even follows a similar narrative of finding an unexpected land, and survival in the new environment. Most of the story revolves around the proto-human civilization that lives there. It was interesting, and pretty short. Overall, I enjoyed it.

The Last Wish

Andrzej Sapkowski, 2007

A friend recommended this one, and I went in pretty blind. I have heard of The Witcher in terms of TV and video games, but am wholly unfamiliar with them. The book is like 5 shortish stories all stuck together. There are interesting characters that the protagonist meets who are clearly allusions to classic fairy tales, like the beast, Snow White, etc. Overall it was interesting. Not sure I liked it enough to continue with the subsequent books, but I’m not discounting it entirely.


Blake Crouch, 2019

This was picked as the book for the book club at work. I had never heard of it, and went in completely blind. I didn’t even know what genre it was. I’d classify it as techno thriller I think. I really enjoyed this book. It started off with good mystery, and surprisingly revealed the main mechanism of the story about half-way through. The second half was more on the thriller side of things, and was very exciting and kept me on the edge of my seat. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it.


Michael Crichton, 1999

This book caught my eye randomly. It was really enjoyable. There’s an A plot and a B plot, not to mention an opening mystery to kick everything off. The initial characters you meet end up not coming back into the story which was a little disappointing. As the book went on, I was more invested in one of the plots than the other, but I enjoyed both and felt the tension as the plots continued. It was a relief when things finally got resolved. I like how Michael Crichton does a lot of research and drops in factual tidbits along the way. I felt like I learned some things somewhat passively while enjoying the story. I would recommend this book; I thought it was great.

Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener’s Bones

Brandon Sanderson, 2008

I really enjoy the tone of these books. There is so much sarcasm, self effacing humor, and off-the-wall humor. The book seemed like it was going to drop us into a side quest at the beginning, but it ended up being the whole book which I wasn’t expecting. We got to learn a lot more about the lore/tech of the free kingdoms. We got to learn about new talents from Smedry relatives which is always amusing. I enjoyed it immensely. Read it!

Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia

Brandon Sanderson, 2009

Another fun installment of the Alcatraz adventure. I feel like each book does a good job at filling in the gaps to help us understand the world but not making the reader feel like gaps are being left open to be answered later, if that makes sense. It continues the ludicrous and sarcastic humor that I find so charming. A great read, and I’m looking forward to the next one!

The Fellowship of the Ring

J. R. R. Tolkien, 1954

I’ve seen the movies, but never read the books. They’ve always intimidated me somewhat, and people have told me that they are difficult. A friend recommended listening to the audiobook which is narrated by Andy Serkis, and they were absolutely right to do so. It was a wonderful way to listen to the story. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I also rewatched the movie so I could make some comparisons, and I was actually surprised by how well the movie portrayed the main elements of the story. The main difference I saw was in the time compression. The movie feels like it takes place over a few days, and in the book, it’s evident that everything takes a lot longer. Also, I was surprised the Frodo is 50! I really came to appreciate this world so much more and just adored the book. Looking forward to the next one as soon as I can get my hands on the next audiobook!


There were lots of good books this year. There were a few that stood out above the rest. 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 are both classics that I’ve known through reputation, but they were really great interesting and felt relatable to issues we face in society today.

I really enjoyed the thrillers, Patriot Games, Airframe. They are well written and very engaging. Chrichton in particular has a way of teaching you about a subject while also telling a thrilling story. Timeline was similar, and I really enjoyed it as well.

The Alcatraz series was a really fun surprise. I didn’t go into it expecting to enjoy it a lot, and I was wrong. It was great, and a very different pace from the other books this year.

So many great stories. I’m looking forward to 2023. If you have any recommendations, please let me know below.

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