I fell short of my goal to read a book every two weeks during 2022, a total of twenty six for the year. However, I read far more than I did during 2020 or 2021 (which was a shameful amount) and ended up finishing a total of twenty books. Unlike my list of favorite music and favorite films (coming in the next couple days), my choice of reading material is not focused on newly released books. There is far too much literature from the past that I have yet to discover for me to focus on modern fiction and non-fiction. That being said, I did read one 2022 release and it was my favorite book of the year.

That should come as no surprise since it was written by my favorite filmmaker, Werner Herzog. His first “novel” The Twilight World is the moving story of a Japanese soldier who continued to fight World War II for decades after it was over. It’s based on true events, told in Herzog’s poetic style which feels as much like a dream at times as it does reality. The novel moved me to tears and I am certain I will return to it again.

Other highlights from the twenty books I read include Wraiths of the Broken Land by S. Craig Zahler (director of Bone Tomahawk) and a collection of Robert E. Howard’s original Conan stories. The former is a violent odyssey that isn’t for any reader with a weak stomach. I love Zahler’s films and his novels take his brutal vision of the world to a new level. Regarding Howard, I turned to his Conan stories as an inspiration from my series of scripts/books about Blackbird (the first of which is available here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BNCXZS96). What Howard accomplished in a very short lifetime is astounding and I was stunned by his dedication to world building, even writing a long essay about Hyborean Age in which his Conan stories are set. I would like to bring that kind of attention and detail to my Blackbird series. Soon, I’ll be publishing a longer essay about Howard’s stories, how they relate to the Arnold Schwarzenegger/John Milius adaptation, and what I would do with new Conan movie.

I finished the year by reading Richard Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America. Though not as enjoyable as some of his other works, a Brautigan book is always refreshing, a palette cleanser that reminds me of a completely different way to write and read. I also returned to Barry Gifford’s Port Tropique, one of the few books I’ve read more than once in my life and I am sure it will not be the last time.

Here is the full list of books I read during 2022 in the order I read them and hopefully this coming year I will read at least twenty-six more:

A Burnt Out Case by Graham Greene

Big Bad John: The John Milius Interviews by Nat Segaloff

Wraiths of the Broken Land by S. Craig Zahler

The Swamp Fox by John Oller

Duende Meadow by Paul Cook

Of Walking in Ice by Werner Herzog

Port Tropique by Barry Gifford

Rio Bravo by Robin Wood

Meet Me in St. Louis by Sally Benson

Brainquake by Sam Fuller

Hawks on Hawks by Joseph McBride

The Feudists by Ernest Haycox

The Prisoner of Sex by Norman Mailer

Tintagel by Paul Cook

The Triumph of William McKinley by Karl Rove

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

On the Way to Hell by Jethro Bodine

The Twilight World by Werner Herzog

Conan: Broadsword Legacy Collection by Robert E. Howard

Trout Fishing in America by Richard Brautigan