Best of 2022
All the books, movies, TV shows and music I loved this year
Hello and welcome to everyone’s favourite form of culture writing: end-of-year best-of lists! In this issue, I compiled all of my favourite books, movies, TV shows and music from 2022.
Thank you to everyone who read and shared my work this year. You can support my writing financially by buying my book or tipping me. Show your love for free by sharing this on social media, or forwarding it to a friend who might like it.
Best Books of 2022
Best Essay Collection - Making Love with the Land by Joshua Whitehead: In prose that’s confessional, academic and poetic all at once, Joshua Whitehead ponders how pain can be transformed into love when it threatens to encompass all of you. The best book I read in 2022 by a landslide.
Best Short Story Collection - Bliss Montage by Ling Ma: This collection is surreal, innovative and surgically precise. “Peking Duck” is one of the best short stories to ever short story. I will read anything Ling Ma publishes.
Best Debut Novel - Monarch by Candice Wuehle: A genre-blending novel about a 90s teenage beauty queen who realizes she’s been programmed as a sleeper agent by the government. I love how it tackled questions of femininity, identity and queerness.
Best Book About Writing - Best Young Woman Job Book by Emma Healey: Emma Healey’s non-fiction debut showcases one millennial woman’s path of trying to make a career out of writing, while also critiquing the same institutions that informed her work. It’s funny, heartbreaking and brave all at once.
Best Celebrity Memoir - I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy: The book that broke Amazon, for good reason. Jennette McCurdy’s memoir is an honest and unflinching look at the toll that abusive parenting and child stardom takes on a person, as well as the path toward self-forgiveness and healing after the fact. Best cover of the year.
Best Graphic Novel - Acting Class by Nick Drnaso: Illustrated in Nick Drnaso’s trademark uncanny and minimalist style, this graphic novel is a surreal examination of loneliness, power and coercion that will leave you with chills.
Best Non-Fiction Re-Release - They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraqib: Poet and culture writer Hanif Abdurraqib’s cult essay collection gets its flowers in real-time with this five-year anniversary edition that includes new pieces, as well as an updated introduction and afterword. If you don’t cry while reading “Fall Out Boy Forever,” you don’t have a pulse.
Best Fiction Re-Release - Nevada by Imogen Binnie: The beloved novel that sparked a wave of contemporary trans fiction when it was first released in 2013 got a much-deserved mainstream reprint this year with a new afterword. One of the greatest divisive endings in modern fiction.
Best New-To-Me Read - Set-Point by Fawn Parker: While I loved Fawn Parker’s What We Both Know, which was longlisted for the Giller Prize this year, it’s her debut novel from 2019 that was my favourite new-to-me read. The Montréal setting added an uncanny feel to the novel for me personally, and I’m a sucker for aimless women narrators more broadly.
Best Movies of 2022
We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (Dir. Jane Schoenbrun): Low-budget indie horror that knows the scariest monster is loneliness. Hits hardest if you were ever a sad teenage girl staring at the glow of your laptop screen when you should have been sleeping. The evil version of Eighth Grade.
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (Dir. Dean Fleischer-Camp): One of the best movies of the year is an adaptation of a YouTube video from ten years ago. Prepare to start crying and then never stop.
Tár (Dir. Todd Field): Abuse of power comes as no surprise, lesbians included. A film that starts at 100 and never slows down. Cate Blanchett IS mother.
Elvis (Dir. Baz Luhrmann): Is it good? No. Is it great? Yes. A perfect pairing of director and material. Austin Butler’s brain has fully glitched and he’s just going to talk like that forever now.
The Batman (Dir. Matt Reeves): The perfect blend of mainstream subject matter with arthouse style. Surpasses The Dark Knight as the best Batman film. Something in the way!
Best TV of 2022
The Rehearsal (Season 1): Nathan Fielder’s magnum opus. The pilot is one of the best episodes of television ever made.
The White Lotus (Season 2): A character-focused examination of sex and power that’s completely gripping from start to finish.
Severance (Season 1): A mystery inside an enigma wrapped inside a peanut shell. John Turturro and Christopher Walken get a gay subplot!
Atlanta (Season 3): Politically astute surrealism that feels more true to life than it should. Two of the wildest cameos I’ve ever seen.
Station Eleven: An intertwining dystopia that emphasizes why we need art and each other to live, even at the end of the world. One of the best visual adaptations of a novel.
Best Music of 2022
Beyoncé - Renaissance: A jubilantly chaotic celebration of the entire history of dance music condensed into an hour-long masterclass. Instant serotonin at a time when we need it most. Favourite Track: “Pure/Honey”
Charli XCX - Crash: Pop perfection crystalized into two-minute bangers from one of the most innovative contemporary artists in the genre. Favourite Track: “Lightning”
Alvvays - Blue Rev: A swirling cacophony of indie shoegaze with pop melodies and heartbreaking lyrics. Favourite Track: “Lottery Noises”
Weyes Blood - And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow: Austere singer-songwriter religious transcendence. Favourite Track: “God Turn Me Into a Flower”
Beach House - Once Twice Melody: The soundtrack to the best David Lynch movie yet to be shot. Favourite Track: “Superstar”
Most Overrated of 2022 (AKA “The Hater Zone”)
Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh: Suffering for the sake of suffering. Someone needs to tell this woman “NO!!!”
Barbarian (Dir. Zach Creggar): The way this movie handles sexual violence is pretty terrible and even if it handled it better, it would still be bad.
The Banshees of Inisherin (Dir. Martin McDonagh): Gender isn’t real, but this movie’s for dads.
Yellowjackets (Season 1): The superior piece of YA cannibalism media from 2022 is Bones and All.
The 100 Drag Race Spin-Offs I Watched This Year Even Though They All Kind of Sucked: In the words of Jenny Holzer, “Protect me from what I want.”