I brings me great joy to FINALLY share my 12 favorite books of 2022! This was a great year for reading! I finished 60 books this year, started a book club of wonderful women and was asked to participate in an exciting and soon-to-be-announced fun, literary event!
These are my 12 favorite books of 2022. Not all of them came out in 2022, but I read them last year. There are nine fiction and three non fiction (which is, I think, the most non fiction I’ve ever featured). In each paragraph, I’ve linked where you can buy these books through Bookshop.org, an online bookseller that directly supports indie bookstores.
Be sure to read all the way through and, at the end, check out an awesome giveaway that I’m doing! I’m always thrilled to share the books I love and so happy to encourage others to read, too!
Evvie Drake Starts Over follows Evvie Drake, a recent widow. Her husband died one year ago. Since then, she has shut herself in her home, seeking to avoid the prying stares and eyes of her community. The only person she sees is her best friend, Andy, for their weekly breakfast. Andy suggests that Evvie, who is still living in a big house alone, rent out her guest quarters. Andy connects Evvie with his old friend, Dean, to become her tenant.
Dean is a former major league baseball pitcher who has experienced a phenomenon calling “the yips.” He is trying to move on from the career that was once his life as well as the prying stares and questioning looks from his former fans.
Dean moves into Evvie’s place and they soon become friends. Their friendship allows each person to knock down walls and heal in the midst of respective life changes. Of course, more than friendship might occur, too.
This book was super sweet. While it did have romance in the plot, the entire story wasn’t revolved around it. The setting takes place in Maine and it was a beautiful and refreshing place to “travel” as a summer read. I devoured the book in one day! I highly recommend if you’re looking for a light, heartwarming read with some romance!
You’re gonna want to buckle your seat belt for this one!
The Cherry Robbers is definitely going in my top books of the year and was a huge surprise. I think I found out about this book through my favorite book podcast What Should I Read Next, but I really didn’t know much about it going into it. When it became available on my library holds list, I rushed to read it because lots of people had it on hold, too. Boy, was I in for a surprise!
This book has been compared to Mexican Gothic, and I can definitely see the comparison. I would describe it as a feminist gothic novel. It tells the story of the Chapel sisters, all six of them, their haunted mother and the lavish, Victorian house they’re all stuck in. The sisters grow up with only themselves as company as their mother is distant and believes the house is haunted, and their father is a workaholic.
This story is set in the 1950s where, for many women, the hope of leaving their family or town means marriage. Unfortunately for the Chapel sisters, they soon realize that, for them, marriage means death. When the oldest sister marries her groom, tragedy strikes, and the others follow soon after. I don’t want to give away too much as I found it really fun to go into this blind. I will say that this novel was incredibly riveting and compelling and I didn’t want to put it down!
Trigger warning that it can get graphic. I am a sensitive reader and didn’t find it too disturbing, but go into it with that understanding. You’re going to want to talk about it when you’re done!!
The Sentence by Louise Erdrich will always be special to me because it was the first book we read for my book club that I started in 2022! It is a timely and beautiful novel set between November of 2019 and November of 2020 in Minneapolis.
The Sentence follows Tookie, a woman who just received a job as a book seller at a small, independent bookstore after years of being in jail. As Tookie works at this bookstore, she discovers that it is haunted by a ghost of a former customer.
As she grapples with this haunting, the times she lives in, the community around her, and the world at large is faced with incredible change. This story takes place during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bookstore where Tookie works (which actually exists in real life and is owned by the author) is very nearby the place in Minneapolis where the murder of George Floyd occurred.
Tookie and her community and family are forced to deal with all the fear and anxiety that the beginning of the pandemic brought about. Compounded with that is the reality of racial injustice right outside their door.
I found this book incredibly moving and beautiful. It was definitely heavy but felt manageable and the humor and warmth within the relationships of these characters brought lightness to the story. I found it beautiful to read how a community of Native people, who have experienced great injustice, were handling racial injustice of a different, but similar, kind.
If I had to narrow down my list to a top 5 books of the year, this one would be in it. I want everyone to pick it up!
I am not the first person to buzz about their love for this amazing sci-fi novel, Project Hail Mary. I am just SO glad that I finally read it. This book came to me in 2021 right before I decide to partake in a “media fast” for a week. Unfortunately, this meant putting this book down in the middle and having to then return it to the library. After finally getting it back on my holds list, I restarted it, finished, and LOVED it in 2022. I will say that I’m not usually a science fiction reader but this book was incredibly accessible for readers of all genres.
This book, like many amazing sci fi stories, is about the end of the world and one man’s quest to save it. Now, before you let that thought scare you, the writing and main character, Ryland Grace, bring incredible lightness and humor to the story. Ryland Grace wakes up in a mysterious ship and realizes that all this crew mates are dead. His memory is fuzzy and he seeks to remember why he is here and what he must do.
This book is an incredible adventure and features a main duo of characters who you will LOVE. I also know that this book has been picked up to become a movie and Ryan Gosling is signed on to play the lead. Let that be even more of an encouragement to pick up this fast moving, adventurous tale!
Winter Solstice was my first 5-star read of the year and I listened to it on audio! It was an incredibly (if not long) enjoyable experience with narration by Jilly Bond. It’s a perfect Winter or Christmas read and was lovely to listen to as I took many walks in a chilly Tucson January.
This beautiful winter epic follows Elfrida Phipps, Oscar Blundell and a cast of five characters who all end up in a picturesque town in Scotland for the Winter holiday. Their life circumstances are all challenging and, the ripple effects of those circumstances, lead them together in an estate for Christmas. The town and house each offer something special and important to each of the characters, as do their newly forming relationships with each other. All of the above bring healing and profound joy to their lives.
This book was so lovely and a wonderful surprise; not something I’d usually pick up. I highly recommend it on audio and it’s a great Winter read.
This book was a surprise to me! Though, when it came out, it was receiving rave reviews, I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it. By the end of the book (which I read in one day) I had fallen in love with it!
Nora Goes Off Script is about Nora, a screenplay writer for a production company very similar to “Hallmark.” Her latest story was written about her life and recent divorce from her husband and father of their two children. When this script gets picked up to become a movie, it is decided that the movie will be filmed at Nora’s own home. In comes Leo Vance, actor and Sexiest Man Alive. When the movie wraps up filming, Nora finds Leo has decided to stick around and asks Nora if I can stay at her house for one week and will pay her one thousand dollars. What ensues is a sweet, romantic and funny story that was very enjoyable and hope-filled. Highly recommend if you’re looking for something light and uplifting.
The subtitle of this says “An Introduction to the Christian Faith,” but truly it felt even deeper than an intro. I read this book with a group at my church after hearing a friend rave about it and share how it deeply impacted her. After reading it and discussing each chapter, I agree with her raving statements. It definitely impacted me deeply, too.
Admittedly, Christian theology books are often challenging for me to get into and I find many quite dense or boring. Michael Reeves delves into the often confusing topic of the Trinity with humor and clarity. The biggest takeaway I received from this book is that God is a triune, relational God. He is triune and relational because he is a loving God. As someone who has been following Jesus for many years, I found that Delighting in the Trinity explained a beautiful and mysterious topic so well. Not only did I learn a lot but I feel like my view of God and, thus, toward myself, shifted to a one of more compassion and love. I would highly recommend to another Christian seeking to understand more about God’s character or anyone interested in the Christian faith.
Oh man! What can I say about this amazing book that hasn’t already been said?! If you haven’t read it yet – do it! It lives up to the hype!
Lessons in Chemistry is set in the 1950s and follows Elizabeth Zott, a chemist. Elizabeth, being a woman in a male dominated field, experiences a lot of sexism and discrimination. I absolutely loved the writing, the characters, and teared up multiple times at the beauty of the relationships. The fierce tenacity of the lead definitely makes her even more lovable and one to root for!
Though the discrimination she faced infuriated me at times, the writing was so great and the voice and humor used was so brilliant that it didn’t leave me, as the reader, in anger for long.
If you are a woman who has ever felt less than, looked down upon, belittled or reduced to your gender, this book is for you! It will renew your spirit. As Elizabeth’s strength grows, so will yours! Zott is hilarious, tenacious, fierce and unrelenting in her pursuit for justice and what she believes in! I highly recommend!
*Trigger warning for sexual assault and rape. This book does not shy away from very real things that women experience. Please be aware going in. I am a sensitive reader and I will say that these parts left me disturbed but I was able to move on from them quickly.
This is one of the most important books I’ve read in the recent past. If you’re looking for a book to aid in your education on racial justice, this is the perfect one to pick up!
Clint Smith, in How the Word is Passed, gives a history of slavery across America. He leads the reader on a tour of monuments and landmarks that aid in telling the story of slavery’s past. These stories tie together to give a poignant description of how that past informs our present. He goes from Monticello, to the Whitney Plantation, to Angola prison and even visits a sons of confederacy gathering.
This book is beautifully reflective and lyrically written. I loved it on audio and learned so much from it. It really shows the horrific, but necessary to understand, history of slavery in this country and the role that history plays today. After reading it, I knew it would be in my top of the year and I’m so pleased to share it here in my 12 favorite books of 2022. Please read!
I finally read this amazing memoir in 2022 after hearing rave after rave about it. I really enjoyed listening to it on audio with Julia Whelan as the narrator.
Educated is a true story about Tara Westover who grew up in an extremely conservative and fundamentalist Mormon family in the mountains of Idaho. She was secluded from society; her parents keeping her out of school, away from mainstream society, anti doctors, anti establishment, the whole gamut. She did not receive a traditional education and was forced to work in her family’s business in a junk yard. Tara was abused by her brother and, without her parents intervention, and with a thirst for more, Tara educates herself and gets into college all on her own.
This memoir follows her throughout childhood and through the amazing and scary situations she and her family get into. It describes Tara’s quest toward education as she gets herself into college at Brigham Young University and even ends up going to Harvard and Cambridge. Not only is Tara’s story engaging but it goes through what it’s like to grow in a direction that is seemingly opposite from the people who raised you and formed you and the struggle that causes.
Educated is an engaging and inspiring read and certainly lives up to the hype.
When is the last time you read a book with an octopus as the main character?! I never had either but I’m so glad I picked up this sweet, heartwarming novel.
Remarkably Bright Creatures is about Tova, a widow who works at the Sowell Bay Aquarium. At the aquarium she has befriended one of the institution’s oldest and most persnickety friends, Marcellus the octopus. Tova’s son, Erik, mysteriously disappeared over thirty years ago and her cephalopod friend might be the only one who knows the secrets surrounding the disappearance, as well as many other secrets too.
This book not only surrounds Tova and her beloved friend, but other people living in Sowell. In this small town, everyone is connected and Marcellus keeps up with their lives and secrets.
I feel like I’m making this book sound super mysterious. I guess it has an element of mystery, but mostly it’s just so heartwarming. It’s about people overcoming hard things and the importance of community and the joy of finding solace in one another. Plus, this is one of the sweetest animal characters I have ever read. I fell in love with Marcellus and hugged the book when I was done!
To round out my 12 favorite books of 2022, here is one of my top 5 favorites of the year: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin.
This novel has receved a lot of buzz. In my opinion, it is well deserved. When this came out, I knew I had to pick it for book club. My group loved discussing all the themes and layers this book contains. It is beautiful and poetic and sad and moving and just an amazing masterpiece that was an easy sell to be in my top 12 favorite books of 2022.
If you haven’t heard about it already, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is about Sam and Sadie; following them from their time as childhood friends to when they reunite as college students on a subway platform.
Sadie and Sam are talented video game designers and, together, they pull their resources and receive support from their friends to create a blockbuster hit called Ichigo. The video game brings them practical overnight success. The two friends are forced to confront fame and challenges that come with it. The story continues along their lives and the twists and turns that their careers and personal lives take.
To me this book was about disability, women in business, friendship, loyalty, failure, art and love. It’s beautiful and sad and sweet and so layered and perfect. Though this book is very much about video games, the fact that I knew next to nothing about them did not make it any less exciting to me. I highly recommend it to anyone!
That’s all, folks! My 12 favorite books of 2022 If you read this far I have an exciting surprise for you! I’m doing a giveaway; giving away one of these books to you! Comment on my instagram post, this blog post, or my facebook post with which book you’d like to win. I’ll purchase the book and send it to you supporting a local indie bookstore.I shared each book here with a link to where you can purchase it on Bookshop.org, a website that supports indie bookstores as opposed to buying books off Amazon. I think we can all agree we’d like to keep bookstores around, yeah?!
I truly hope you find a book you’ll enjoy reading!
Check out my top books from 2021 if you’d like to find more great books to add to your shelves!