'I read 40 books in 2022. These are the 5 best ones.'

I spent quite a lot of 2022... lying down. 

See, I had a surgery in January and then another in September. And while I could have - and did - spend a lot of my recovery time feeling just a wee bit sorry for myself (there's something kinda mean about COVID lockdowns ending and it really not altering your life that much at all) - there was one major benefit to all this.

Watch: The most addictive thrillers Mamamia's pop culture editor read last year. Story continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

I got to spend a lot of time reading. I love to read at the best of times, so having my trusty little friend - also known as my Kindle - stacked with titles to purchase at the tap of a screen, during the worst of times really was one of the main things that got me through.

Shout outs also to: my ever-patient friends and family, literally all the streaming services, ice packs and drugs. 

I whipped through 40 titles this year - I've never actually counted before - but I'm going to assume that's more than a regular year where I would have, you know, left the house, etc. 


Here are the five books I enjoyed the most:

Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible, Thing by Matthew Perry.

Image: Booktopia/Mamamia.

I love an addiction memoir. I wrote about some of my favourites here. Add to that the star of one of my favourite TV shows of all time and well, could I have BEEN more excited to get stuck into this book? (Sorry).

It didn't disappoint. As well as some delicious nuggets of backstage Friends gossip (Perry had a crush on Jennifer Aniston and flirted with Julia Roberts via fax before she guest-starred), Perry offers an incredibly vulnerable account of his decades-long struggle with an addiction to alcohol and opiates (at one point he was consuming up to 55 Vicodin a day.)


How he held it together through 10 seasons of one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time is nothing short of a miracle - he was even carted straight off to rehab immediately after filming Chandler and Monica's wedding scenes.

He writes, "You can track the trajectory of my addiction if you gauge my weight from season to season. When I’m carrying weight, it’s alcohol. When I’m skinny, it’s pills. When I have a goatee, it’s lots of pills."

Does he sound like a massive pain in the a**e at times? Yes. But he's self-aware and sad enough that you can't help both liking and feeling sorry for him.

Near the end of the book, Perry, now 53, says he'd happily trade places with any of his poorer, less successful friends to not have to deal with his 'big, terrible thing'.

And, after all it has put him through, you absolutely believe him.

Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McCallister.

Image: Booktopia/Mamamia.


If Mamamia's Pop Culture Editor, Keryn Donnelly recommends a book, I will read it without question. But when she included Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister in one of her monthly book roundups, describing it as "Groundhog Day meets Girl on the Train", I wasn't sure.

Girl on the Train, I was on board with. But Groundhog Day? Sure, 'time loops' really made a name for themselves as a plot device in the movie, but in the real, gritty thrillers I like to read, I wasn't convinced they had a place.

How could a book about a mother who witnesses her son commit a murder, then wakes up the next day to discover it's now the day before the murder, and so on - something that could obviously never happen - really pull me in? 


Well, after just a few pages, I was hooked. And when I say hooked, I mean I read it in one sitting where the need for meal and bathroom breaks felt rather inconvenient. This truly original and utterly ingenious book blew me away. 

Having never read a McAllister before, I now have her entire back catalogue on order.

Exiles by Jane Harper.

Image: Booktopia/Mamamia.


About three quarters of the way through this novel, I realised something. Absolutely nothing had happened. A huge Harper fan, thrilled to have her original The Dry protagonist Aaron Falk back on the case, I'd been so excited about this book. Where was my thrilling, rural Aussie mystery, please?

In Exiles, Falk travels to South Australia's wine country where local woman and mum-of-two Kim Gillespie disappeared from a food and wine festival exactly a year earlier. No trace of her has ever been found. But bar handing out a few fliers with her family, and having a little walk around the site, Falk isn't being particularly gun-ho with his investigatin'.

To be fair, he's not actually there in a professional capacity, but come on, man!

Don't get me wrong, Harper had totally drawn me in with her vivid descriptions of the Marralee reserve - I felt like (and kind of wished) I was actually at said food and wine festival at times - but I started to wonder if she'd been so similarly giddy about Falk's return that she'd forgotten to actually... plot. 

I texted a friend who'd recently read and raved about it, saying I was thinking of giving up. 

Please keep going, she replied. It's so worth it. 

And oh my god, it was. 

The pay off you get after the slow burn is like taking your bra off after a 12-hour day. (For those who don't wear a bra, what I'm saying is: it's just really, really satisfying.)


In the same skillful and evocative way she builds atmosphere throughout, Harper builds suspense in those final few chapters as the truth slowly unravels and hits you like a punch in the gut. 

According to Harper, this will be the last Falk novel of the series. I can't be the only one who's not ready to say goodbye. 

Thursday Murder Club: The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman.

Image: Booktopia/Mamamia.


Richard Osman's Thursday Murder Club books are like warm hugs. Big, warm, murder-y hugs. Which are obviously my favourite kind. 

Set in the Cooper's Chase retirement village, Elizabeth, Ron, Joyce and Ibrahim (arguably the most adorable character in the history of cosy crime fiction), hang out and solve murders. They meet on Thursdays but if you think these four are just chilling out and playing bridge on the other six days, you'd be sorely mistaken, my friend.

In this third instalment of the series, the gang are working on a decade-old cold case - the suspicious death of local news journalist Bethany Waites, whose disappearance was chalked up to suicide, but no body was ever found.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth, the former MI5 operative, and let's be honest, absolute troublemaker, is visited by a new foe. She's given a mission - to kill, or to put her dear friends in danger. It's a dilemma she must navigate completely alone so thank god she's an ex spy with infinite sneaky resources, etc.

There's a lot going on here - with blossoming romances and deteriorating health mixed in with all the murder - but as always, it's intricately plotted by Osman with heart and humour on every page. 

My only gripe with this series is that International Treasure Osman (yes, I'm calling it) can't pump them out fast enough. 

The Twist of the Knife by Anthony Horowitz.

Image: Booktopia/Mamamia.


So, by now you may have realised I read 39 crime fiction books and one memoir - sorry about that. I will make it my new year's resolution to branch out into other genres, I promise.

If you haven’t read this metafiction crime series by Anthony Horowitz yet, I’m jealous of what you’re about to discover.

Basically, after writing the spectacularly smart Magpie Murders (which is a book, within a book - and I also highly recommend) Horowitz decided that wasn't quite clever enough, so he delved into the world of metafiction.


Basically, he's created a fictional detective called Daniel Hawthorne who, in the first novel (The Word is Murder), is looking for a writer to produce a book about his current murder investigation - and then he's placed himself - award-winning writer Anthony Horowitz - within the book, as that very writer. 

It. Is. Insanely. Clever. 

In this latest instalment in the series, Horowitz is really in trouble. After the opening night of his play Mindgame, he receives a terrible review from a critic called Harriet Throsby. The next day, she turns up murdered, and guess whose fingerprints are all over the dagger she was stabbed with? Horowitz's!

Of course, it's all a terrible mistake - and so Horowitz calls on Hawthorne for help. Problem is, while Hawthorne is an absolute genius investigator, he's also an infuriating a**ehole at times, so while the evidence mounts again Horowitz, and Hawthorne appears to have little interest in clearing his former sidekick's name, the tension mounts. 

Horowitz succeeds on absolutely every level of this mind-bending mystery and is without doubt one of the most creative mystery writers of the moment. Take it from a woman who read 39 of the genre this year. 

Feature Image: Supplied/Booktopia/Mamamia.

Want to get the most out of your day? Take our survey now to go in the running to win a $50 gift voucher!