Top Ten Reads of 2022
Updated: Feb 22
Choosing the 10 most impactful books this year was a challenge because I read so many amazing books this year! I started only reading books I truly enjoyed and consequently amazed myself by surpassing my goal to read 30 books and read 51! It's okay to stop reading books and move on to the ones that are perfect for you, friend!
As a result, many of this year's books were 4 and 5-star reads, and you can get the whole list and follow me on Goodreads HERE!
The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie by Rachel Linden
I read this one over Thanksgiving, and you can read my full review of it HERE. Literary fiction that's highly quotable is a favorite of mine, I realized this year.
Top Quote: "'My best advice?' Mom squinted at me appraisingly. 'Let it fall apart. .... It took me a while to finally understand the truth. Sometimes things don't work out the way we hoped, despite our best intentions. And when they go pear-shaped, you have to let them. You can't keep holding on, trying to redo the past and stop the bad things from happening. The happened, and you can't change that. You can't keep holding on to the version of the future you imagined you'd have, the way you thought things would turn out. You have to let the present be what it is--broken, flawed, painful, but real.'
God of the Garden by Andrew Peterson
This is my second book to read with Maribeth Barber Albritton, and I gleaned more by digesting the book together than I would have by myself! This was a wonderful work—part memoir, part poet-waxing-eloquent, with a couple passionate rants thrown in. My favorite chapters shared the stories behind his songs “The Burning Edge of Dawn” “The Rain Keeps Falling” “The Silence of God” and others. I also loved the focus on gardens and trees (as only a poet can see) in God’s story, the world, and our lives.
Favorite quote: “The gospel broke through because it isn’t just about the fact that we’re all fallen—that part’s easy for me to swallow—it’s about the fact that we’re perfectly loved. ... It’s easier, though, to fling that glorious truth out to the masses than it is to let it settle deep into my own murky waters where the dragons writhe.”
The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van der Kolk, M.D.
Greater minds than me have reviewed this book, so I'll declare it one of the most helpful and fascinating books I've read. Please read it. It's heavy but so worth it.
A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw
Theo, Calla, and Bee were my favorite characters this year. Hands down. This slightly-creepy read was enthralling and twisty with a great ending. Can "psychological thriller with pervasive beauty throughout that triumphs over darkness" be a sub-genre? Because I'd be a super-fan.
Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Oh I fell hard for this sleek new release this year. I first met Carrie Soto in Malibu Rising and was curious to learn more about her story! I enjoyed venturing into the world of women's tennis as Carrie comes out of retirement to reclaim her title. It dives into the complexities of fame, father-daughter relationships, ambition, self-image, and being a woman in the spotlight.
Circe by Madeline Miller
This epic spanned millennia but was still somehow a pageturner. Circe's journey to realizing her own resilance and strength was inspiring and I loved her heart for humans. Madeline Miller's writing style is gorgeous! So much food for thought among these fickle gods of Mount Olympus!
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
This one filled my cup, not just as a writer, but as a person. There are a lot of parallels between writing and just living life. I don't agree with her on everything but I'll be reading it again in 2023! I loved her chapters "Broccoli" and "Finding Your Voice."
My favorite quotes were too many to count, so here's the one that inspired the title!
“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report written on birds that he'd had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books about birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'”
Aggressively Happy by Joy Clarkson
Joy Clarkson's book about being a realist who believes in the goodness of life hit me hard. I buddy-read this one with my friend Maribeth -- I highly recommend her wonderful review HERE because she says it better than I can. No self-delusion or toxic positivity here -- Joy wisely strikes a balance between holding our sadness and our joy and living out our faith well.
The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
Look up historical fiction with character development done right and you'll find this book in the dictionary. I highly recommend the audio version! It was the best novel featuring friendship I've EVER EVER read, and features a great neurodivergent character (and a Prince Philip cameo)! If you're a history nerd, get ready for the code-breaking, top secret true story of Bletchley Park and Enigma machines. Masterful. Perfect. They're adapting it for the screen and I can't wait.
The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis
Currently re-reading this one since I listened to it the first time. Wow, so good. Definitely a must-read for everyone!
Favorite quote: "The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.”
Are you doing a reading challenge in 2023, or taking it easy? What were some of your favorite books this year? Please sound off in the comments!