Staff picks

Seymour Library’s Staff Picks of 2022

If you have visited Seymour Library in person or on social media, you know that we love to talk about books! For all of our readers and holiday shoppers, library staff have compiled a list of our favorite reads of 2022. These titles include a mix of books published in 2022 and a couple that finally made it off of our To-Be-Read pile.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

“Bonnie Garmus’s debut novel has been deservedly chosen as a Good Morning America Book Book Club pick. Set in the 1960s, the main character of Lessons in Chemistry, Elizabeth Zott, finds herself the victim of sexual discrimination at her job in a research lab. She also finds herself to be a single mother and is forced to host a cooking show to support herself and her child. The characters are strongly developed; they are quirky, relatable and utterly entertaining to the reader. The plot moves quickly with twists, turns and surprises. Elizabeth challenges both her readers and the audience of her cooking show to rethink what women (and everyone!) are capable of becoming.” —Janet

Lonely Planet’s Guide to Train Travel in Europe: Plan Sustainable and Stress-Free Journeys Throughout Europe

“Having wanderlust? Looking for an eco-friendly way to explore Europe? Lonely Planet’s Guide to Train Travel in Europe will have you exploring the newest high-speed services to the slow, scenic routes illustrated with lovely photographs.” — Kathy

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

“This will probably be recognized as one of the best books of the year. Babel blends dark academia with historical fantasy. I was given an advanced reader copy of the ebook by the publisher and was quickly swept up in the story of Robin Swift, a Chinese boy who was orphaned during the cholera epidemic and taken in by an Oxford professor. Robin is rigorously trained for future acceptance at Oxford’s Royal Institute of Translation (Babel), which is the world’s center for translation and magic through silver working. Once there, Robin discovers the hidden secrets to his own history and recruitment to Babel and must choose between competing loyalties.” — Mary

The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline

“In 2022, I finally read Christina Baker Kline’s newest novel, The Exiles, (published in 2020), and it was one of my favorite historical fiction reads of the year. Set in the 1840s, The Exiles follows the lives of three women; London governess Evangeline, whose life is turned upside down after a relationship with her wealthy employer’s son leaves her pregnant, imprisoned, and sentenced to transport to Van Diemen’s Land, a penal colony in Australia, Hazel, a young midwife, sentenced to seven years’ transport for stealing a silver spoon, and Mathinna, the orphaned daughter of the chief of the Lowreenne tribe, who is stripped of her identity and culture and forced to live with the new governor of Van Diemen’s Land and his family. Filled with emotion, heartbreaking twists, and silver linings of friendship, this book will stick with you long after you put it down.” — Jackie

The Last Slave Ship: The True Story of How Clotilda Was Found, Her Descendants, and an Extraordinary Reckoning by Ben Raines

“Ben Raines brings us from the past to the present with a nonfictional piece that encompasses the voyage of the last slave ship, the Clotilda. Raines chronicles the legacy of her cargo — illegal slaves taken from the Kingdom of Dahomey (now present-day Benin) to Mobile, Alabama. The book focuses on the story of Clotilda survivor Cudjoe Lewis, the struggles and triumphs of the band of slaves as they form their own settlement, Africatown, and the search for the remains of the ship.” — Maureen

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh

“The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is a young adult fantasy retelling of the classic Korean folktale The Tale of Shim Cheong. This beautiful retelling follows Mina on a journey through the Spirit Realm to appease the Sea God and save her village. A mesmerizing and heartfelt read.” — Madi

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

“Identical twins grow up in a town so small that it does not appear on any maps. They are closer than close. Desiree is shocked when her twin sister, Stella vanishes one night after deciding to give up her entire past. I really liked The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. The author touched on several issues, such as race relations and family struggles, especially sibling relationships. Highly recommend it.” — Kathleen

Plus a few more that library staff enjoyed this year:

  • The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis
  • Book Lovers by Emily Henry
  • Sentient: How Animals Illuminate the Wonder of Our Human Senses by Jackie Higgins
  • Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow
  • Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
  • The Red Knight by Miles Cameron
  • The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy
  • Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka
  • The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell