Best of Books for 2022
“When you turn the pages of a book, you are practicing the art of attention to keep turning the pages of your own story with hope.” -KJ Ramsey
I will always take a book recommendation, but there’s something about the end-of-the-year book roundup posts that I love. Keeping track of my books read has been a practice for the last five years. I never have a specific goal in mind, but love looking back over the year and remembering what I read.
This year I read 63 books, a good year for my reading, and consequently, a good year for my writing too. They go hand in hand, good writing comes from good reading.
Now to get to it!
Below are the books that delighted me the most, the ones that I will recommend over and over, the ones that I didn’t want to end. I hope you find some new books here to add to your library holds.
The book series I couldn’t put down: Kate Dicamillo’s Raymie Nightingale books. There’s three books total, each focused on one of three teenage friends — Raymie Nightingale, Louisiana's Way Home, Beverly, Right Here. I love Kate DiCamillo because she doesn’t shy away from hard topics, and her hope for this world and the people we meet is inspiring.
The book with the longest library hold: Louise Penny’s latest book in the Inspector Gamache series, A World of Curiosities. I’ve been making my way through Penny’s books since her first one, Still Life. Each book has a murder but beyond the mystery and turn-paging who-dunnit her books are filled with the deep truths of good and evil, community, love, and forgiveness.
The perfect book club pick: This year I started a book club in my town and now it’s one of my favorite dates on the calendar. We gather once a month with snacks and conversation. Our first choice, Sparks Like Stars, provided great discussion. Sparks Like Stars is a story of home--of America and Afghanistan, tragedy and survival, reinvention and remembrance, told in Nadia Hashimi's singular voice.
My book club pick was Kelly Corrigan’s Tell Me More! I loved introducing the ladies to Corrigan’s humor and truth telling through stories. She’s one of my favorite writers to recommend!
A book of essays: Ann Patchett’s These Precious Days was my first book of 2022. I will read anything Ann writes from her sweeping fiction to her essays. There’s everything in this collection from her friendship with Tom Hanks personal assistant, a story about a typewriter, and why we need the local bookstore.
The fantasy book I didn’t think was my style but was an absolute delight: The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. This book has everything from magical children, a love story, and the power of friendship. Such a heartwarming read!
My favorite WWII Historical Fiction: The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel. Just read this one if you’re a fan of WWII and be moved by the ending.
The tearjerker memoir everyone raved about: Bess Kalb’s Nobody Will Tell You This But Me: A True (as Told to me) Story. This is such a unique memoir, a reconstruction of a beloved grandmother's words and wisdom to tell her family's story with equal parts poignancy and hilarity.
Poetry books that help me pay attention to my life: Mary Oliver’s Devotions and How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope. I begin my day with hot coffee, a devotion, and some poetry and these books of poetry have stayed with me this year.
The fiction book illuminating a piece of history I didn’t know about but should: Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez which is inspired by true events that rocked the nation, a searing and compassionate new novel about a Black nurse in post-segregation Alabama who blows the whistle on a terrible injustice done to her patients.
Feel good fiction: Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt. A book that has an octopus as a character, yes please!
The book that helped me believe in the goodness of humanity: The Day the World Came to Town 9/11 in Gander Newfoundland. Ever since I saw the musical Come From Away I’ve been obsessed with the story of the plane people who were stranded for a week after 9/11 throughout Canada. The book recounts the hospitality and goodness of the people of Newfoundland who opened their hearts and homes to strangers from around the world. This is the feel-good tear jerker I needed this year.
That book everyone was talking about and was worth all the hype: Tomorrow, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. This is a book about video games and the gaming world, but it’s so much more. It’s a book about friendship, vocation, love, and forgiveness. It’s a story that had me immersed from the first page.
The Middle Grade book I can’t wait to read with my children: Kate DiCamillo’s The Magician’s Elephant was the perfect December read about a young boy, an elephant, a magician, hope, and how we become family.
Rom Coms I needed for joy: After some heavy reads I was ready to be delighted and have something that didn’t bring me to tears. The Bodyguard by Katherine Center and Meet Me in the Margins by Melissa Ferguson are perfect light reads to bring a smile to your face.
Devotions that instilled hope and peace: Basically anything Laura Kelly Fanucci writes meets me in my wondering and believing. She writes with such deep hope and beauty. I go back year after year to her Easter devotional Risen and her Christmas book Emmanuel.
The read-alouds I’m loving with my kids: The Magic Tree House has captivated my five year old son who loves the stories of two kids traveling in their tree house to different times and places to learn about history and our world. Each night my eight year old loves to read with me Eva the Owl, part of the Owl diaries series.
And finally, the book I’m the most excited to preorder and have in my hands for 2023: The Beauty of Motherhood: Grace-Filled Devotions for the Early Years! Yes, this is my book that I co-wrote with my friend, Erin. With scripture, stories, prayers, and practices, The Beauty of Motherhood provides refreshment, encouragement, and the reminder that you are not alone as you mother.
Alright, now it’s your turn! Tell me what you’re reading and loving.
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// Photo credit Unsplash.