Reading with the Seasons: 2022

By Write & Shine

By Write & Shine

This has been a lovely year for reading, so here are the books that have inspired my writing and ideas in 2022, starting with January and moving towards December. 


From poetry to memoir, short stories and novels, these 12 titles all have great sentences, fascinating themes and scenes that evoke the rhythms of the natural world. I’ve loved Gwendolyn Brooks' masterpiece of grit, hope and dreams 'Maud Martha' told in shimmering vignettes and marvelled at Sheila Heti's bright, brilliant novel, which includes a section on living life as a leaf in summertime.


These books follow the seasons, month by month—imagine them as a series you might read slowly as the year unfolds. Enjoy!

Crying in H Mart: The Number One New York Times Bestseller


£9.99 £9.49

JANUARY: This is a tremendous memoir, a highlight of my reading year. So tender and thoughtful on food, love and loss. I've chosen it for January, as it's filled with delicious meals and considers how food offers a way for people to express how they care for another.

Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head: Shortlisted for the 2022 Felix Dennis Prize

Warsan Shire

£12.99 £12.34

FEBRUARY: A poetry collection on love, beauty, healing and identity. Shire's work focuses often on girlhood and womanhood considering sensuality, bodies and their power.

Daily Rituals Women at Work: How Great Women Make Time, Find Inspiration, and Get to Work

Mason Currey

£10.99 £10.44

MARCH: A good time of year to spring clean your writing routines! We love this anthology gathering the daily obstacles and rituals. We see it's tough work being a woman and also an artist, but it's not impossible.

Maud Martha (Faber Editions): 'I loved it and want everyone to read this lost literary treasure.' Bernardine Evaristo

Gwendolyn Brooks

£9.99 £9.49

APRIL: "What, what, am I to do with all of this life?" Such a hopeful book! Maud Martha grows up on the South Side of 1940s Chicago, and looks for things to love: dandelions, New York, romance, cinema. It's a book of dreams, grit and joy. In a series of vignettes, we follow the inner life of one extraordinary woman marvelling at ordinary life.

Selected Stories

Katherine Mansfield

£7.99 £7.59

MAY: "Although Bertha Young was thirty she still had moments like this when she wanted to run instead of walk, to take dancing steps on and off the pavement, to bowl a hoop, to throw something up in the air and catch it again, or to stand still and laugh at–nothing–at nothing, simply." The pure joy captured here in the beginning, and throughout the piece, is spellbinding, especially as later it’s replaced with a darker set of feelings. At the heart of the story is “a tall, slender pear tree in fullest, richest bloom; it stood perfect, as though becalmed against the jade-green sky.”

Pharmacopoeia: A Dungeness Notebook

Derek Jarman

£12.99 £12.34

JUNE: ‘Pharmacopoeia’ by artist and filmmaker Derek Jarman is wonderful. It’s filled with stunning writing on nature, gardening and his home at Prospect Cottage, a fisherman's hut on the wild, remote shingle beach in Dungeness. The sections on early summer are sublime.

Pure Colour

Sheila Heti

£16.99 £16.14

JULY: Sheila Heti's 'Pure Colour' is a soft and thoughtful novel, odd and philosophical, mystic and seasonal, dreamy and poignant. It has an absolutely brilliant section on what it might be like to live as a leaf in summertime, which I think has been the highlight of my reading year!

The Glimmer

Shazea Quraishi

£10.99 £10.44

AUGUST: A poetry collection told from the perspective of a taxidermist in Mexico, tending animals in their after-life. I’ve selected this for August, because it’s the kind of collection that rewards slow, leisurely reading. Imagine yourself in a park, sun on your face, taking the time to marvel at Quareshi's delicate and constrained writing that quietly explores the deepest parts of human emotion.

Self-Help: Faber Modern Classics

Lorrie Moore

£9.99 £9.49

SEPTEMBER: The first writer I fell in love with was Lorrie Moore. Her wry, ironic, conversational voice. Those puns and quips! The way her characters stumble through life. Her stories made me want to write my own, about the ways people I knew lived their lives. I re-read this book most years, with a back-to-school mindset, especially her iconic story 'How to be a Writer' short story.

The Lottery and Other Stories

Shirley Jackson

£9.99 £9.49

OCTOBER: For All Hallow’s Eve and the shift to the darker side of the year, I choose Shirley Jackson. Her work is always unsettling, with the edges of this world blurred with the supernatural.

The Birds And Other Stories

Daphne Du Maurier

£8.99 £8.54

NOVEMBER: As the days start to darken, discover Daphne Du Maurier's short stories, including 'The Birds.' All dramatic, dark and complex. No one writes of nature, landscape, imagination and foreboding quite like Du Maurier.

Small Things Like These: Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2022

Claire Keegan

£8.99 £8.54

DECEMBER: Set in the weeks leading up to Christmas, this is a deceptively slight story of one man and his family, about loss and generosity, and what a small amount of empathy can lead one person to accomplish.

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