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Kobo's picks for the best books of 2022

By Kobo • November 23, 2022Recommended Reading

The best eBooks and audiobooks of 2022, as chosen by Kobo’s bookselling team.

Find even more of the best books of the year HERE

These are our booksellers' picks for the best books published in 2022 in fiction and non-fiction. We'll be back soon with picks in romance and other genres, as well as Staff Picks for the best books we read (from any year) in the last 12 months.

The Sleeping Car Porter by Suzette Mayr

Baxter answers to the name George because that’s what everyone calls him, and he puts up with it just to keep the peace and hold onto his job as a porter on the sleeping car of a train that travels across Canada—if only to save enough to quit someday and enroll in dentistry school. But this trip out west, with passengers growing restless as the train sits stalled for days, pushes him in ways that threaten his safety in every way. Suzette Mayr won Canada’s prestigious Scotiabank Giller Prize for this work of historical fiction that sheds light on Black labourers who played an important and often invisible role in transportation infrastructure in the early 20th century.

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Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir by Matthew Perry

“Hi, my name is Matthew, although you may know me by another name. My friends call me Matty. And I should be dead.”

That’s how Friends star Matthew Perry introduces himself in this memoir that touches on his pre-stardom childhood, including a successful stint in competitive tennis, and the struggles he faced in adulthood as his appetite for fame failed to fill the emotional void he felt inside even at the height of his career.

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All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir

A heart-wrenching novel steeped in teenage longing to escape a stifling small town—and a young man’s struggle to be free of his family’s baggage.

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Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution by R. F Kuang

A wickedly intelligent work of speculative fiction that plays with the form of the academic novel while weaving in elements of fantasy and carving out an alternate history—in which Oxford University’s Babel program attracts the world’s top scholars who come together to learn the art of translation yes, but also magic.

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Every Summer After by Carley Fortune

A story about childhood friends who once spent every summer together—and once thought they’d be together forever. For readers who enjoy a romance—but aren’t quite into romance novels (yet).

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A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham

Since she was twelve, Chloe Davis’ dad has been serving a life sentence for the murders of six teenage girls carried out over a single summer. Now in her 30s, working as a psychologist counselling troubled teenagers, a new string of disappearances give her the feeling that she’s re-living her horrifying past.

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Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner

College student Cassie Klein had a wonderful one-night stand with an older woman, who she learns the next morning—at the breakfast table—is her friend’s mother. The pair keeps their fling on the down-low during Family Weekend, but there’s something between them that neither of them can deny, and they’re going to need to decide what to do about it.

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Son of Elsewhere: A Memoir in Pieces by Elamin Abdelmahmoud

An open-hearted series of essays by writer and podcaster Elamin Abdelmahmoud on his experience of moving to Canada from Sudan in his early adolescence, and learning to find his place in different fandoms—ranging from Nu Metal to pro wrestling.

We spoke with Elamin on the Kobo in Conversation podcast.

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Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley

Kiara and Marcus are a pair of siblings in East Oakland trying to get by as rents skyrocket and threaten to kill any future they might imagine for themselves beyond mere survival. A chance encounter tips Kiara off to a line of work she never imagined doing but has an immediate flair for: nightcrawling, where a freelance photojournalist listens in on first-responder communications to get to grisly scenes in time to get shocking photos. But this new job threatens to consume her whole life when she’s named as a witness in a police corruption investigation.

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When We Lost Our Heads by Heather O'Neill

Marie and Sadie are the unlikely pair at the heart of this drole historical novel set in late 1800s Montreal. As they reach adulthood, Marie inherits an empire while Sadie sinks into the underworld—where she stokes a revolution of the working class.

We spoke with Heather O’Neill about how she finds the stories she ends up writing about.

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The Song of the Cell: An Exploration of Medicine and the New Human by Siddhartha Mukherjee

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies and The Gene rounds out his masterful and literary trilogy on human biology with this study of the fundamental operating unit of your body: the cell. Readers can expect at once to recalibrate their recollection of high school biology while leaping into the current science of what we know, what we don’t, and what hopes researchers hold today.

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Finding Me: A Memoir by Viola Davis

Actor Viola Davis’ memoir is unflinching and bold in its honesty, and she’s written it with the intention to not only share her own story but to offer strength to readers who see in her struggles a reflection of themselves.

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The Last Housewife by Ashley Winstead

A dark thriller with a fresh and contemporary premise... Shay long ago escaped the cult that swallowed her and her friends years ago. Then one day while listening to a true crime podcast she learns that one of those friends who stayed behind has died. She decides to infiltrate the shadowy group to get answers, and just maybe—revenge.

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A Minor Chorus by Billy-Ray Belcourt

In his first novel, poet Billy-Ray Belcourt takes us inside the mind of an unnamed narrator who flees from academia to his hometown in northern Alberta. In prose textured by the voices of the narrator’s relatives, neighbours, and hookups, we learn of their ambition to capture the story of his home on the page. A poetic, challenging, and exhilarating book.

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The World We Make by N. K. Jemisin

N. K. Jemisin’s The City We Became was one of the great speculative fiction books of 2020, and hit readers just as the pandemic was throwing us all into a real-life sci-fi story. The sequel and conclusion of The Great Cities duology is somehow even more spectacular, and proves once again that Jemisin is a true genre-defining master.

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The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan

Frida has let down just about everyone, from her cheating husband to her parents. But with her daughter Harriet, Frida finds that one thing she’s extremely good at is motherhood. Then one day, during the briefest lapse in judgement, she’s brought under the most merciless scrutiny and forced to prove to state officials that Harriet shouldn’t be taken from her.

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Hello, Molly!: A Memoir by Molly Shannon and Sean Wilsey

The “superstar” comic actor tells the tragic and moving story of being raised alongside her siblings by her widower father and how she ultimately made her way to the SNL stage.

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Motherthing by Ainslie Hogarth

Ainslie Hogarth’s domestic horror story is funnier than it should be, given that it’s about depression, suicide, and a cruel mother-in-law whose death only amplifies her power over her son and daughter-in-law.

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Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor by Xiran Jay Zhao

For middle-schoolers who’ve blown through all the Percy Jackson adventures and want more mythology-infused, funny, action-packed stories—Zack Ying and pals deliver in the first installment of this new series.

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Scars and Stars: Poems by Jesse Thistle

Jesse Thistle’s fans already know he doesn’t pull punches in his prose. But this collection of poetry—written during the time in his life recounted in his award-winning memoir From the Ashes—has a vivid intensity that only verse captured in a moment of vulnerability can convey.

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