Editor's Pick

Editor’s Picks: The Best Books We Read All Year

Looking for a good book to cosy up with over the holidays? Here are our editors' favourites.

This is your sign to read a new book—whether you’re a voracious bookworm or haven’t picked up a novel since The Outsiders. The editors of Vanmag have put together a list of the best books we’ve read in 2022: here are our favourites.

Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi
Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi

Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi

I’m technically only 3/4 through this book, but I also only started it a couple of days ago. I am, in a very cliché way, devouring it. Choi writes with such brutal, relatable honesty that I think any reader could find a point of connection with Yolk (but especially people who have sisters and are Asian and struggle with body image). Often I feel like I’ve spent my whole day reading (that’s what being a magazine editor gets you) and don’t want to pick up a book when I’m off the clock, but this story feels like a reward. The novel focuses on Jayne and June, Korean American sisters living in New York, and the unorthodox way they deal with a difficult diagnosis. That’s all I’ll say—10/10 recommend. —Alyssa Hirose, associate editor

book cover with retro 90s telephone

The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman

Chuck Klosterman’s Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs was a seminal text for me as a teen pop-culture obsessive and aspiring writer, so it just seemed polite to pick up his latest: a series of thoughtful essays about the decade that (from his Gen-X perspective, anyways) shaped a nation. It’s wry and clever, though surprisingly more academic and dense than I was expecting, given the cheeky see-through phone on the cover; it’s also a bit of a nostalgia bomb. (I’m not complaining: reminiscing about those last heady days of answering machines is honestly part of why I picked it up.) But the remember-when’s serve a greater purpose, supporting some really compelling arguments for how-and-why social events of the times (the advent of cable news, and the success of Titanic) changed our cultural trajectory, for better or for worse. Taking such an anthropological look at a time you’ve lived through is a delightful experience, but be warned: merely glancing at the book on your shelf can plant Portlandia‘s “Dream of the ’90s” in your head on loop for days. —Stacey McLachlan, editor at large

sorrow and bliss meg mason

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

Martha Friel is a former Vogue magazine editor who now writes internet content for a grocery store in a gated community in Oxford—and, as you might imagine, it doesn’t make her feel particularly fulfilled. But she’s also been dealing with an undiagnosed mental illness since she was 17—and now that her husband has left, she’s forced to attempt to figure out how her life has gone so sideways. Like Miriam Toews, Meg Mason manages the incredibly rare art of writing a book that can make me both have me cracking up and then weeping within a few paragraphs. This was one of those gorgeously written books that I had to keep reading aloud to friends at the cabin, every time Mason crafted some perfectly ingenious way of describing the doldrums of every day life. Absolutely my top book of the year (and multiple copies purchased for Christmas gifts, too). — Anicka Quin, editorial director


A Heart That Works by Rob Delaney

I’ll be the first to admit I should read more. Nobody specifically is making me feel bad for this, but it’s something I always end up regretting when someone asks me about my favourite book that year. Whoops. Luckily, I started one at the eleventh hour this year, and it’s been a great read (so far, anyways—that’s right, I’m not done yet, get off my back!). It’s a memoir from actor, comedian and writer Rob Delaney, so I was instantly motivated to pick it up: I read pretty much everything comedians put out. The thing I enjoy about memoirs, and especially from comedians, is the manner in which they can help me deal with being human, and very human experiences like grief and death. Rob Delaney opens up his heart in such a vulnerable way in this book, trying to make sense of and also express his pain and journey with dealing with the loss of a child—truly an experience I cannot even imagine. As a comedian, he is able to put things in a way that feels relatable and safe. Obviously, given the topics, it’s not a laugh-out-loud riot, but it simmers with human emotion and the tension is broken with moments of genuine comedy. While tragedy isn’t a prerequisite for comedy, I won’t pretend the Venn diagram between funny and sad doesn’t exist, and I do think that comedians are some of the best artists to tackle the array of human sadness because they can find the punchline, even amidst the despair. Their ability to make you feel, process and laugh in the same moment is a true gift and this book has the same effect. Besides, who doesn’t like a good cry-laugh? — Kerri Donaldson, assistant editor