The Books You Turned to in 2022

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 (Fotografía de eLuVe via Getty Images)

When people say publishing is  a dying industry, Brad Johnson begs to differ. East Bay Booksellers, which Johnson owns, had its best sales in the store’s history during the past two years. So, it’s fair to say that in some pockets of the world, and particularly in Oakland, books are very much still a thing. And, as the world opened up, people are not only enjoying solitary reading time, but have returned to filling seats at literary readings and in-person book festivals. As the year comes to a close, we’ll talk to booksellers like Johnson, critics and writers about the books that we couldn’t put down. Share your top book recommendation from 2022 via email to or leave us a voice memo at 415 553 3300.


Listener Recommendations


  • “A Place for Us” by Fatima Farheen Mirza
  • “The Mountain in the Sea” by Robert Nayler
  • “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” by Gabriel Zevin


  • “This Body I Wore” by Diana Goetsch
  • “Playing with Myself” by Randy Rainbow


  • “The Age of Wood: Our Most Useful Material and the Construction of Civilization” by Roland Ennos
  • “American Midnight” by Adam Hochschild
  • “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • ”Breath: A New Science of A Lost Art” by James Nestor
  • “Climate Restoration” by Peter Fiekowsky
  • “Essential Labor: Mothering as Social Change” by Angela Garbes
  • “Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey” by Florence Williams
  • “Hotbed: Bohemian Greenwich Village and the Secret Club that Sparked Modern Feminism” by Joanna Scutts
  • “How the Word is Passed” by Clint Smith
  • “An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us” by Ed Yong
  • “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” by David Grann
  • “Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon” by David Grann
  • “The New Science of a Lost Art” by James Nestor
  • “Sweat: A History of Exercise” by Bill Hayes


  • “Customs” by Solmaz Sharif

Alexis Madrigal's Recommendations


Brad Johnson, owner, East Bay Booksellers in Oakland

Anita Felicelli, editor, Alta Journal‘s California Book Club; 2022-2023 fiction chair, the National Book Critics Circle board; author, "Chimerica: A Novel" and the short story collection "Love Songs for a Lost Continent"

Vauhini Vara, author, "The Immortal King Rao;" former business editor,; former reporter, the Wall Street Journal in San Francisco

Carlos Lozada, opinion columnist, New York Times; author, “What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era;" former nonfiction book critic, The Washington Post.



  • “The Hurting Kind” by Ada Limon


  • "After Lives" by Abdulrazak Gurnah
  • "Candy House" by Jennifer Egan
  • "Nightcrawling" by Leila Mottley
  • “The Mountain in the Sea” by Robert Nayler


  • "The Man Who Could Move Clouds" by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
  • "Stay True" by Hua Hsu
  • "Lost and Found" by Kathryn Schulz
  • "Solito" by Javier Zamora
  • "If I Survive You" byJonathan Escoffery
  • "Liberation Day" by George Saunders
  • “Lost and Found: A Memoir” by Kathryn Schulz
  • “The Man Who Could Move Clouds” by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
  • “Stay True” by Hua Hsu


  • “Elite Capture: How the Powerful Took Over Identity Politics (And Everything Else)” by Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò
  • "Ways of Being" by James Bridle
  • "Serious Face" by Jon Mooallem
  • "Arabiyya" by Reem Assil
  • "Bad Sex" by Nona Willis Aronowitz
  • "Democracy’s Data" by Dan Bouk
  • “Let’s Get Physical” by Danielle Friedman
  • "Dilla Time" by Dan Charnas
  • "Surveillance State" by Josh Chin and Liza Lin
  • "Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American" by  Ian MacAllen

Carlos Lozada's Recommendations


  • “His Name is George Floyd: One Man's Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice” by Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa
  • “The Quiet Before: On the Unexpected Origins of Radical Ideas” by Gal Beckerman
  • “The Right: The Hundred Year War for American Conservatism” by Matthew Continetti
  • “What It Took to Win: A History of the Democratic Party” by Michael Kazin
  • “The White Darkness” by David Grann
  • “Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell” by Tim Miller
  • “How Civil Wars Start: And How to Stop Them” by Barbara F. Walter
  • “Confidence Man” by Maggie Haberman
  • “Confidence Man” by Maggie Haberman


  • “Easy Beauty: A Memoir” by Chloe Cooper Jones
  • “Stay True” by Hua Hsu

Brad Johnson's Recommendations


  • “Demon Copperhead” by Barbara Kingsolver
  • “A Cat At the Edge of the World” by Robert Perišić


  • “Curious Minds” by Perry Zurn and Dani S. Bassett
  • “A People’s History of SFO:The Making of the Bay Area and an Airport” by Eric Porter

Anita Fellicelli's Recommendations


  • “The Immortal King Rao" by Vauhini Vara
  • “Rabbit Hutch” by Tess Gunty
  • “A Tiny Upward Shove” by Melissa Chadburn
  • “Septology” by Jon Fosse


  • “Stay True” by Hua Hsu
  • “How to Read Now: Essays” by Elaine Castillo

Vauhini Vara's Recommendations


  • “All This Could Be Different” by Sarah Thankam Mathews
  • “If an Egyptian Could Not Speak English” by Noor Naga