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9 Classic Books that Sum Up 2022

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • December 29, 2022

As the year draws to a close, it is customary to reflect back. For a fun twist on this tradition, we've gathered a set of classic books that sum up a handful of the events (both serious and not-so-serious) that dominated the headlines this year and had people talking. Here, in no particular order, are nine reads that relate (some better than others) to big stories from 2022.

1. Cain's Jawbone

From Wordle to jigsaws, we love our puzzles. This 1934 book is a murder mystery printed out of order and has only been solved by a handful of people. The legendary literary puzzle by Edward Powys Mathers saw a recent surge in popularity after a TikTok user began charting her attempt to crack it.

2. The Slap

The title of this modern classic by Christos Tsiolkas conjures up Will Smith's public wallop of Chris Rock, an infamous moment in Oscar History. Set in Australia, the story of a man slapping another couple's child at a neighborhood barbecue, which inspired a 2015 TV series, seems oddly apropos.

3. Gas Light

When British playwright Patrick Hamilton wrote his 1938 Victorian thriller, he couldn't have imagined that Merriam-Webster would choose "gaslighting" as the word of the year in 2022. The dark play is about a man who is trying to make his wife believe she is losing her mind.

4. The Martian Chronicles

People reported being moved to tears by images from the James Webb Space Telescope this year. The ten billion dollar project is transforming the study of astronomy and has drawn new interest in space exploration. Ray Bradbury's sci-fi vision of fossil seas and crystal pillars seems a stellar read.

5. Persuasion

Bennifer part two! Nearly twenty years after their 2004 breakup, the rekindled romance of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez brings to mind Jane Austen's heartfelt romance in which heroine Anne Elliot gets a second chance with her former fiancé, handsome naval captain Frederick Wentworth.

6. Love in the Time of Cholera

As Covid continues to have an impact on our world, we're revisiting some of our favorite novels set during other historic pandemics, like this decades-spanning tale. Author Gabriel García Márquez named Daniel Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year as one of his inspirations.

7. The Fight

We will remember 2022 as the year of the GOAT. No, we're not talking about Chinese zodiac signs. We're talking about two headline-capturing athletes who earned the title Greatest Of All Time, Serena Williams and Lionel Messi. In honor of them, here is Norman Mailer's 1974 portrait of the original GOAT.

8. Wolf Hall

From the passing of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip to the continuing drama of the Harry & Meghan exit, the British monarchy has suffered some serious upheaval lately. The late great Hilary Mantel's brilliant saga reimagining the storied turmoil of King Henry VIII's court seems an apt read.

9. How to Win Friends and Influence People

Elon Musk has made waves this year with his $44 billion purchase of Twitter. Since taking over, he has made sweeping changes that have had everyone talking about what it takes to be successful, making Dale Carnegie's Depression-era motivational tome more relevant than ever.

As always, we love hearing from you. So let us know if you have any thoughts on our 2022 retrospective here in the comments. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for daily book recommendations, literary tidbits, and more.

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