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  • Writer's pictureCaroline

Book Recs for 2022 (My Top Reads)

I'm arriving fashionably late with my list of top books I read last year! Do you see any you'd like to add to your reading stack this year? Let me know!

This year I'm expanding this list to include not only the new releases I reviewed on this website but also other books that greatly impacted me. At the end of this post I'll share a bullet point list that you can screenshot if you want, but first, let's take a look at each book.

This Beautiful Truth by Sarah Clarkson

This was definitely my favorite new release of 2021. It's not perfect, but the perspective on mental health and the connection between beauty and God's goodness was life-changing. Also, having access to Sarah while on the launch team was one of the highlights of my year. I reviewed it here.

Top Quote:

"In a world wrecked by sin, our pain is the crucible in which we will work out our faith. No human story is exempt from grief. There is no faith without the wild ache of impossible questions. To wrestle with God—to grip him like Jacob with hungering, angry hands—is the work of every person born into a fallen world. This is what it means to be human and follow God in a world at war, wrenched away from the Beautiful One who crafted its being. But the way we wrestle will shape the whole ofour story, and Beauty tells us what we are wrestling for."

When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin

This WWII novel was perfect. Crackling with chemistry between the most endearing of characters, set against the world of a female reporter in Germany. Bonus points for the subtle yet chilling correlation between Nazi Germany and certain political climates. (cough cough) Read my full review of it here!

Awaking Wonder by Sally Clarkson

My only caveat for this book - you will either love it or be put off by it. Yes, Sally Clarkson is the mother of Sarah Clarkson, and I adore her approach to the education of our children. Her idealized reminiscing of raising her children needs to be taken with a (large) grain of salt, but her wise concepts and nurturing spirit overcame the rose-colored glasses flaw for me. As G.K. Chesterton said and she expounds upon, “The world will never starve for want of wonders, only for want of wonder.”

This book is about lighting the fire of love for learning in our children to create life-long learners. This book isn't just for those planning to homeschool, either. The principles can be applied to parenting in general, no matter the method of education. I was deeply inspired by this book as a mother.

Top Quote:

“The work of seeking to be a mentor to your children, seeking to pass on a spiritual formation that creates a live faith, giving the training required to develop godly character, and creating a love for learning is absolutely one of the most profound works of our whole society and world.”

Untangling Emotions by J. Alasdair Groves and Winston T. Smith

I'm technically still reading this, but it has already been eye-opening in regards to a balanced and Christian approach to understanding and engaging our emotions biblically. Finally, a book that doesn't lean too much toward invalidating emotions or letting them control you! I highly recommend this one already.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Judge me if you must-- I only just got around to reading this classic at the insistence of a friend! I listened to the audiobook version, which I highly recommend. All I have to say is, it did not disappoint me in the least.

The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi

By far my favorite practical book of the year! I also enjoy Kendra's podcast of the same name and can't recommend this book enough. Her down-to-earth approach to priorities, time management, and staying sane in our culture are life-giving. I love her fresh take on life and her doable principles (13, to be exact) to be a genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don't. This book is a NYT bestseller for a reason!

A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken

This one gripped me! I almost threw it out the car window one time, but that's another story. At first glance, it’s a little hard to like Vanauken as a person for most of the book. He had a tendency to be overwrought and self-absorbed. But I loved how honest he is, how self-deprecating he is (as he should have been!) and I think it gives permission to be human, not to have everything figured out, to be wondering and questioning and wrestling and sometimes wrong, but at the end to rest humbly in not having the answers and in the sovereignty of God. This book was a weighty reminder of the truths of God's character and a peek into one man's imperfect journey of faith and intimate view of his friendship with C.S. Lewis. It was worth the whole book just for Lewis' letters!

How Far You Have Come by Morgan Harper Nichols

I reviewed this book of poetry earlier this year on Instagram! I am always encouraged by Morgan Harper Nichols' unique art, honest storytelling, and gentle poetry. This book is a reminder that our pasts shape us but don't define us, and reading it feels like a hug. Highly recommend!

The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water by Erin Bartels

And finally, the new novel that I finished at 1 am this morning! This book releases to the world TODAY, January 4, 2022!

Erin Bartels has made my top reads list before and this is a gutsy, well-written story. I’ll be reviewing it soon. Run to add it to your cart!

There you have it: my top reads of 2021! Here's the shortlist to save for later:

  1. This Beautiful Truth by Sarah Clarkson

  2. When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin

  3. Awaking Wonder by Sally Clarkson

  4. Untangling Emotions by J. Alasdair Groves and Winston T. Smith

  5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

  6. The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi

  7. A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken

  8. How Far You Have Come by Morgan Harper Nichols

  9. The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water by Erin Bartels

If you want to keep up with everything I read (trust me, my "currently-reading" list is way too long) connect with me on Goodreads, the social app for bookworms!

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