Best Summer Books of 2022: Critics’ Picks

Roula Khalaf

FT Editor

At Fiona Hill There’s nothing for you here is a fascinating study in overcoming class and gender bias as well as a thoughtful reflection on our troubled times. Best known for her testimony during Trump’s impeachment hearings in 2019, British-American Hill is the daughter of a coal miner who became a leading expert on Russia and made it all the way to the post. special adviser to the White House. Weaving together the personal and the professional, she delivers a captivating book on populism, from Brexit to Donald Trump, and how Putin exploited it. Some readers may find Hill’s central argument – ​​a warning that Russia is a harbinger of what could become of a divided and polarized America – alarmist, but it won’t diminish the value of the book or the pleasure of reading it. . A work of fiction that I enjoyed a lot is the dystopian novel by Vladimir Sorokin Oprichnik Day, which came out a few years ago in English but is still very relevant.

Jo Ellison

Editor, HTSI

I enjoyed it very much The Palace documents by Tina Brown, a pretty juicy account of life on the planet Windsor since Diana’s death in 1997, and ending with “Megxit”, the death of the Duke of Edinburgh and the disgrace of the Duke of York. Come along for a compassionate account of Camilla’s slow but steady journey within our affections. Stick around for stories about the Queen’s fabulous toughness, ace cod psychology on ‘what’s going on with Harry’ and notes on Prince Charles’ ‘rider’ when staying with friends.

Tim Harford

FT columnist

Authenticity by Alice Sherwood — from the mysterious appearance of turkeys on ‘medieval’ church frescoes to the deceptions of cuckoo clocks, Sherwood’s meditation on authenticity is broad, witty and fresh. From what makes Snapple an authentic brand to vexed debates about what makes an Andy Warhol paint an Andy Warhol, this is thought-provoking reading. Authentic fun.

Henry Mance


Through the eyes of a veterinarian, by award-winning British vet Sean Wensley, is an insightful guide to how scientists get inside the minds of other animals, with insights into farms, racehorses and, of course, pets. An idea: do not approach your pet parrot, otherwise he may decide that you are his exclusive life partner.

Stephane Bush

FT columnist

At Ned Beauman’s Venomous lumpsucker is an endlessly inventive, witty, and dark literary thriller set in the not-too-distant future, when environmental collapse has destroyed much of our ecosystem. Ranging from weird cooking practices to shady corporate dealings, it will make you laugh and make you think.

Janan Ganesha

For a gay child with a speech impediment in a small town in New England, cities promised liberating anonymity. In imagine a city, Mark Vanhoenacker, now a professional rider, combines the divine vision of them with street-by-street detail. The book will enchant and even move all those who have feared in recent years for the future of both travel and urbanism.

Summer books 2022

All this week, FT writers and critics have been sharing their favourites. Some highlights are:

Monday: Economics by Martin Wolf
Tuesday: Environment by Pilita Clark
Wednesday: Fiction by Laura Battle
Thursday: Story by Tony Barber
Friday: Politics by Gideon Rachman
Saturday: Critics’ Choice

Enuma Okoro

Columnist FT LIFE & ARTS

In the memoirs of writer and scholar Margo Jefferson Building a nervous system, she considers her life by reconstructing her encounters with people, cultural figures in music, art, cinema and literature, and the things that have marked her over the decades. Part autobiography, part cultural critique, her book reminds us that the rules for how we structure memory and how we tell our stories are not set in stone.

Nilanjana Roy

FT columnist

It’s flamboyant in Delhi and the Himalayas—I’ve taken refuge from that heat wave in swimming pools and summer novels. blood sugar, the debut novel by Sascha Rothchild, features a cheerfully amoral 30-year-old protagonist who has committed three murders without guilt but must convince a police detective that she did not kill her own husband. Yet, strange as it may seem, Ruby is an extremely likeable and intelligent serial killer.

Frederick Studemann

Literary Editor FT

As a journalist who cut her teeth in the rubble of the Berlin Wall, Vesna Goldsworthy Iron Curtain: A Love Story was always going to be part of my reading pile. A poignant and bittersweet love story that unfolds across the East-West divide, it challenges conventional wisdom about loyalty, freedom and ideology. I read it as Russia unleashed its war on Ukraine, which made it all the scarier.

Equally timely is that of Oliver Bullough world butler, in which he draws a sharp line between the end of the British Empire and the complex network of financial, legal, real estate and financial services that allow, like a butler, a global gallery of oligarchs, kleptocrats and chance to go about their dubious business. Bullough, who also brings his research to life through tours of plutocratic London, offers many quirky facts about a world now coming under closer scrutiny.

FT readers are also avid listeners of audiobooks, one of the fastest growing segments of the book industry. On the occasion of the centenary of Ulysses I revisited Joyce’s masterpiece via Jim Norton’s entertaining read in which he brings the book’s bewildering polyphonic charm to life.

Rana Foroohar

FT Global Affairs Columnist

Americans don’t know how to talk about death, much less how to handle it with dignity. But in In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss, her memoir about her husband, who decided to end his life by assisted suicide in Switzerland after discovering that he had Alzheimer’s disease, Amy Bloom shows us another way. In deceptively readable prose that flows like summer beach reading, she sheds a warm light on what it means to live a good life and have a good death.

Anjli Raval


In All night lovers by Mieko Kawakami, Fuyuko is a thirty-something freelance editor who lives a lonely and miserable existence, until she decides to break free and develop “an ability to let go”. She starts drinking, meets physics teacher Mitsutsuka who takes her out of her comfort zone and helps her face her past. Kawakami’s novel, translated by Sam Bett and David Boyd, explores in depth the nature of relationships at work and intimate relationships while challenging society’s expectations of what it means to be a woman in public and in private.

Gillian Tett

Chairman of the FT Editorial Board and Editor-in-Chief, USA

There are many different cities in New York. There is a world of the wealthy, who value service, shopping, culture and endless choice. Then there are the desperate poor who often live in cramped quarters, amidst stress and uncertainty. Few foreigners enter this second world. But Andrea Elliott has spent years following a family through this squalid underbelly to produce invisible child. It’s shocking, inspiring, moving, funny – and fascinating if you want to understand America today.

Robert Shrimley


In A Duty of care, Peter Hennessy connects the story of the post-war welfare state with the post-pandemic case of a new colony. The pandemic exposed modern injustices to compete with the original five giants highlighted in the 1942 Beveridge Report and briefly created consensus for a fairer society. Normal politics may have resumed, but Hennessy lays out some thoughts on the shape of a new colony. Admirably concise, it is proof that a solid political dossier does not need hundreds of pages to make its point.

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