Free Shipping On All Orders!

22 Books to Read in 2022

My Year in Books

22 books to read in 2022 by Canadian Artist Rachael Grad

Reading and great books provide inspiration for my art and life in and out of my art studio. This past year I read over 80 books in physical, digital and audible forms. At the beginning of last year I wrote about the top 20 books I read in 2020 and 21 books I wanted to read in 2021 (see the blog post Book Recommendations and Reading Goals for 2021). Because this is an Art Blog, I'm going to include some of my favourite art themed books that I read last year. I enjoy reading books from across different genres including fiction, historical fiction, non-fiction, murder mystery, biography or art-related novels or theoretical books

25 Great Books I Read in 2021

Many of the books I read in 2021 were recommended to me by artist friends or were book club suggestions. As you can tell by my book list (shown below), I love reading different types of books and am willing to read books across genres. Below are 30 great books I read in 2021, 22 books that I want to read in 2022, and how I did on last year's to-read list (hint: not great). My top 30 book ranking is in no particular order but includes fiction, non-fiction, memoir, murder mystery, and food (baking/cooking). 

Great Books to Read in 2022 by Toronto Artist Rachael Grad

30 Book Recommendations: Art, Fiction and Non-Fiction 

  1. William Wegman Paintings edited by Eric Himmel. This book contains essays and photographs of William Wegman's postcard painting series. 
  2. Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs by Sally Mann. The famous and often controversial photographers outlines her fascinating life and family history. 
  3. Uninvited; Canadian Women Artists in the Modern Moment edited by Sarah Milory. The catalogue to the current McMichael Canadian Art Collection exhibition showing 200 artworks of Canadian women artists from across the country who were contemporaries to the Group of Seven male painters. The exhibition also includes the textiles and beadwork of indigenous women throughout the show. Some of the female artists were immigrants to Canada and many paintings depict city scenes and portraits of indigenous people and immigrants. I was deeply moved by Christi Belcourt’s essay describing the indigenous perspective of traditional heirlooms like tikinaganen, the Anishinaabemowin word for “cradleboards,” meant to carry babies, yet on view in museums (pages 103, 294). The catalogue contains women’s personal stories of hardship, sacrifice, and obscurity. I had never heard of any of these female artists until I saw the exhibition in-person. The women’s work is just as impressive their male contemporaries, even though their careers were sidelined in favour of their husbands, such Bess Harris, wife of Lawren Harris, and Regina Seiden Goldberg, who gave up her career to support her painter husband (page 110). 
  4. Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History (in That Order) by Bridget Quinn. Great stories about historical women artists, some of whom I hadn't know about before reading this book. 
  5. The M word: Real mothers in contemporary art edited by Myrel Chernick and Jennie Klein. The anthology includes interviews, essays, and images of visual art and exhibitions of mother artists. Feminist theory and maternal creativity are addressed in these excerpts. The book also contains colour images of artwork and poetry on motherhood. The book begins with an interview with Mary Kelly reflecting on after Post-Partum Document 30 years after it was made. The second interview is with Kelly and her son Kelly Barrie, who is also an artist and had responded to his mother’s series of work in which he was a collaborator when he was a child (this work was shown together in the 2008 Sydney Biennial).
  6. Chromophobia by David Batchelor. An artist's explanation of why the West is historically afraid of color. 
  7. A Trick of the Light (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #7) by Louise Penny. A murder mystery revolving Quebec artists, Montreal art curators, galleries and dealers. 
  8. Chasing Painted Horses by Drew Hayden Taylor. Fantastical fiction about several Indigenous Canadian families. 
  9. The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury. A collection of classic science fiction short stories.
  10. Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr. A book that seems to be on every "best book of 2021 list." I had to include this long novel because I love books set across different time periods and telling disparate stories of cleverly interconnected people. 
  11. Ice Walker: A Polar Bear's Journey through the Fragile Arctic by James Raffan. A unique and beautifully written story of a polar bear and her family.
  12. Good Citizens Need Not Fear: Stories by Maria Reva. Nine short stories that are connected around people in a crumbling apartment building in the Soviet Union. 
  13. Greenwood by Michael Christie. A fascinating Canadian environmental saga telling the tale of trees and family over 200 years. 
  14. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. A humorous though at times sad account of a fictional nobleman in Soviet Russia. 
  15. Transient Desires (Commissario Brunetti Series #30) by Donna Leon. A murder mystery set in Venice, Italy. 
  16. Our Darkest Night by Jennifer Robson. A thrilling page-turner that takes place in Italy during World War II and starts off in one of my favorite art cities in the world: Venice. 
  17. Keep It Moving: Lessons for the Rest of Your Life by Twyla Tharp. Great recommendations and tips for creatives to keep working from a generous dancer, writer, and choreographer.
  18. Cannelle et Vanilla by Aran Goyoaga. Delicious gluten-free desserts and recipes in this well-explained and beautifully photographed cookbook.
  19. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. A novel about revisiting life choices.
  20. The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi. A fascinating and romantic historical fiction novel about a self-made henna artist in 1950s Jaipur, India. 
  21. The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue. A page-turning account of a nurse's experiences with pregnant influenza patients in Dublin, Ireland over several days in 1918. 
  22. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. A wonderful novel written for adults by the famous Canadian author of classic children's series including Anne of Green Gables (one of my all time favorite book series!). 
  23. The Library of Legends by Janie Chang. Gripping historical fiction with mythology and magical realism set during the late 1930's in China while at war with Japan. 
  24. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. A fun novel about the complicated, long life of a fictional Hollywood movie star. 
  25. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. A moving account of concentration camps based on the author's interviews with Holocaust survivors. 
  26. The Wake: The Deadly Legacy of a Newfoundland Tsunami by Linden MacIntyre. Engaging non-fiction book about Newfoundland starting from the 1929 tsunami. Until reading this book, I had no idea about this devastating natural catastrophe and how it completely changed life on the Canadian island. The author explains how the tsunami triggered an unfortunate chain of political and industrial decisions and events to the detriment of Newfoundlanders. 
  27. Lick Your Plate; A Lip Smacking' Book for Every Home Cook by Julie Knat and Lisa Albert. Delicious recipes in this family-friendly, mostly healthy cooking book include spinach & feta twice-baked potatoes, 10-minute Mexican couscous, chocolate-chunk banana coffee cake, Nutella-stuffed chocolate chip muffins, sour cream coffee cake loaf, salted Carmel pecan layer cake. I also regularly use their cookbook Bite Me Balance Cookbook (my favourite recipes in this newer cookbook include carrot cake, snickerdoodle cheesecake bars, classic cinnamon coffee cake, spring couscous salad, Asian chopped salad). 
  28. Slings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. Parenting advice for moms and dads with multiple children. 
  29. The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim. A romantic novel about four English women who agree to spend a month together in Portofino, Italy.
  30. Love Lives Here: A Story of Thriving in a Transgender Family by Amanda Jette Knox. A moving memoir by a Canadian author and mom of three about her family's life and experiences in Ontario. 
Great Books to Read in 2022 by Canadian Artist Rachael Grad
And here are some books on my bookshelf that I can’t wait to read this year (in no particular order)...

22 Books I Want to Read in 2022

Last year I immersed myself in art and motherhood reading and research so didn't read all of the books on my list from 2021. Some of the books on my to-read list for 2022 are rolled over from last year. Others are new. 

  1. The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Edith Eger. 
  2. Educated by Tara Westover. 
  3. The Best Place on Earth by Ayelet Tsabari.
  4. Late Breaking by K.D. Miller.
  5. Boom: Mad Money, Mega Dealers, and the Rise of Contemporary Art by Michael Shnayerson.
  6. The Boy Who Drew Auschwitz: A Powerful True Story of Hope and Survival by Thomas Give.
  7. Authority and Freedom: A Defense of the Arts by Jed Perl.
  8. 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows: A Memoir by Ai Weiwei.
  9. 2+2=5 by Jake Chapman.
  10. Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman.
  11. The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles.
  12. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. 
  13. Second Place by Rachel Cusk.
  14. The Rose Code by Kate Quinn.
  15. The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen.
  16. The Stories of Ray Bradbury by Ray Bradbury.
  17. The Boy Who Granted Dreams by Luca Di Fulvio.
  18. A Month in Siena by Hisham Matar.
  19. The Umbrian Thursday Night Supper Club by Marlena de Blasi.
  20. Ninth Street Women by Mary Gabriel. 
  21. The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams.
  22. Billion Dollar Painter: The Triumph and Tragedy of Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light by G. Eric Kuskey.

    21 Books I Wanted to Read in 2021

    From my list of 21 mostly novels, cookbooks and non-fiction memoirs I wanted to read last year, I read these books: 
    1. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins.
    2. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. 
    3. The Ickabog by J.K. Rowling.
    4. Ottolenghi: Flavor by Ixta Belfrage, Tara Wigley, and Yotam Ottolenghi.
    5. The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue.
    6. The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi. 
    7. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
    8. Flour Water Salt Yeast; The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza by Ken Forkish. 
    Here are the books from my 2021 book list that I either started and didn't finish or didn't read at all:
    1. Boom: Mad Money, Mega Dealers, and the Rise of Contemporary Art by Michael Shnayerson.
    2. Family Papers: A Sephardic Journey Through the Twentieth Century by Sarah Abrevaya Stein.
    3. Intimations by Zadie Smith.
    4. Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe. 
    5. The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Edith Eger. 
    6. Educated by Tara Westover. 
    7. The Best Place on Earth by Ayelet Tsabari.
    8. Late Breaking by K.D. Miller.
    9. The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante.
    10. The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis.
    11. Home (Binti #2) by Nnedi Okorafor. 
    12. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. 
    13. The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson.

    Find more blog posts on books on my Art Blog:

    Did you read any great books last year? Any books you recommend or want to read this year? I'm always looking for amazing book recommendations so please let me know! 
    Want more book suggestions and reading tips?

    Find me around the web and on social media as @RachaelGradArt on InstagramFacebookYouTubeLinkedIn and other social media platforms. Get news first of updates, art sales, events and more by signing up for my VIP Art List (click here to learn more).

    Happy Reading...
    22 Books to Read in 2022 recommended by Artist Rachael Grad