2022 Reading List

This year is the year! 50 books is the goal. Here’s what I read in 2020 and 2021.

  1. Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman – a book of poems. So many dog-eared pages! “What can we call a country that destroys Itself just because it can? A nation that would char Rather than change? Our only word for this is Home.” And I loved the short poem Life: “Life is not what is promised, But what is sought. These bones, not what is found, But what we’ve fought. Our truth, not what we said, But what we thought. Our lesson, all we have taken & all we have brought.”
  2. Call Your Daughter Home by Deb Spera – a view of a world I am unfamiliar with and yet also felt familiar with somehow. “I see the man for what he is. No worse, no better than his son. He is the root of the tree he grew.”
  3. Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune. Honestly, I love his writing style and his work. This is my second TJ Klune novel, and I look forward to many more. “I can’t grieve for myself.’ Hugo shook his head slowly. ‘Of course you can. We do it all the time, regardless of it we’re alive or not, over the small things and the big things. Everyone is a little bit sad all the time.'”
  4. The Girl from Berlin by Kate Hewitt. There is something about well done historical fiction that I just find myself falling into and unable to put down until I’ve finished. “…at the end of the day, a government has to do what is best for the most people who benefit from its leadership.”
  5. Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah. Nice, easy read with an emotional pull for parents. “Girl’s fear pushes her forward. She follows, grabs Sun Hair’s hand, and holds so tightly it hurts.”
  6. A View Across the Rooftops by Suzanne Kelman. Historical fiction featuring heartbreaking loss and a hero who overcomes so much. “Why had he not felt the true weight of what was happening around him? As he stumbled along the rest of his journey home, he was obsessed with just one thought. When had all of this become normal?”
  7. The Bones Beneath My Skin by TJ Klune. I’m a fan of his writing style. The stories pull you in. This is my second read in just a few months by this author. “You think yourself alone. You think yourself lost. … We came to be your friend. To make you understand that, in the end, you are never alone.”
  8. Every Last Secret by A. R. Torre. A juicy read that makes you think about the true intentions of those around you. “That was the secret to success in this town. Presenting a picture of effortless perfection with behind-the-scenes ruthless hard work.”
  9. Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover. Quick read, emotional, but a great story of love, loss, and more love. “She wasn’t saying I would move past what I was feeling, or that things would get easier. She was telling me this was it–the misery I felt was my new normal. I could either learn to live with it or I could let it consume me.”
  10. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave. I enjoyed the writing style and surprises in this book. “He never understood that I wasn’t scared of someone leaving me. I was scared that the wrong person would stay.”
  11. We Are Displaced by Malala Yousafzai. Sometimes difficult to read but in a way that forced me to recognize and consider my privilege–where I was born and who I was born to. “I immediately understood the extent of my privilege: Where I saw so many problems, they saw opportunities. …Either you lose hope completely and you shatter and break into pieces, or you become so resilient that no one can break you anymore.”
  12. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth E. Wein. A story of friendship and hard choices during an even harder world experience. “I am no longer afraid of getting old. Indeed I can’t believe I ever said anything so stupid. So childish. So offensive and arrogant. But mainly, so very, very stupid. I desperately want to grow old.”
  13. The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan. First of all, thank you to my new workplace for hosting a monthly book club and recommending this read for March! Second, to the author Ruth, thank you for including a character with “dancing drome” and portraying her with grace, love, kindness and realistic experiences. This was a wonderful read. “Talk to her. She has Down syndrome, she’s not daft. Tell her how you feel. Work something out. And while you’re at it, tell her what really happened on your date.” and “Marvin loved the rain. It washed the world clean and made everything shine; made the grass smell like heaven.”
  14. The Humans by Matt Haig. This one makes you think about the world and how we see it. “In every human life there is a moment. A crisis. One that says, what I believe is wrong. It happens to everyone, the only difference is how that knowledge changes them.”
  15. Sweet Bean Paste by Durian Sukegawa. An Amazon Kindle suggested read. I enjoyed the glimpse into a different culture from my own, the connection between food and life, and a look at how history has a hard time of shedding the negativity that gets so engrained in our understanding of the world. “That’s what public opinion is. That’s why I can’t let you leave that canary here. Everyone’s afraid of bird flu these days. Ten years ago, maybe, but now people’d have a fit at the sight of a bird in a food and drink establishment.”
  16. The Botanist’s Daughter by Kayte Nunn. Lovely read and an interesting view of the intricacy of family history and nature. “Oh, hear Elizabeth, the heart chooses its own path and rides roughshod over everything else. Love does not respect intentions, nor boundaries, nor continents, nor wishes. …For it must be the most glorious thing to love and be loved in return.”
  17. People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry. Fun and witty read. Bonus, the author went to Hope College! That’s just around the corner. …maybe I need to look into the creative writing program. “Everything I’d done since high school had been to escape that feeling, that person. …You can’t outrun yourself. Not your history, not your fears, not the parts of yourself you’re worried are wrong.”
  18. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Loved it! That is all. “Intimacy is impossible without trust. And we would have been idiots to trust one another. …Heartbreak is loss. Divorce is a piece of paper.”
  19. The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller. I felt like I knew Eleanor. A few unexpected twists and a good amount of life-lessons to ponder. “‘Perfect. Cold.’ The best lesson my mother ever taught me: there are two things in life you never regret–a baby and a swim. …Does letting go mean losing everything you have, or does it mean gaining everything you never had?”
  20. Several short sentences about writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg. A read to learn how to become a better writer and story teller. Loved this and will reference the book regularly throughout the rest of my writing days. “If the thought was worth having, you’ll rediscover it or find a better one. The fear of forgetting and the rush to be done are closely related.”
  21. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. Lovely read. Free little book library grab from down the road. Whoever stocks the books enjoys a similar writing style and genre that I gravitate toward. “He came up to the lectern and he said, ‘Gentlemen, close your books and listen. We have nothing less than the world to consider.'”
  22. Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler. Southern flair with a generous helping of characters. There’s a lot going on in just 274 pages! “The torn feeling seemed to have grown more pronounced, spreading its ragged edges deep inside her. She sat upright against her pillows and fixed her gaze on the phone. But no one else called.”
  23. Paper Towns by John Green. I give it a 2/5 stars. The writing is solid and the story is there, but I didn’t love it. “But isn’t it also that on some fundamental level we find it difficult to understand that people are human beings in the same way that we are? We idealize them as gods or dismiss them as animals.”
  24. Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez. Lovely story and a new author to follow! ‘”I felt a hand on my arm. “Don’t let them decide the life you’re going to live. You only get one.”‘
  25. Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy. I found this book in a Little Free Library around the corner. It started out slow for me but I quickly finished in just two days! Amazing writing and strong story. ‘”Of course, love, I would be honored to have you. It’s so much easier than most folks know,” Mrs. Doyle adds. “But now, change is frightening to some,” she concedes after a while. “And when you open your heart to rewilding a landscape, the truth is, you’re opening your heart to rewilding yourself.”‘
  26. Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris. A glimpse into the hardships we face and what we do to keep our families safe. “It told him to leave well enough alone, that there was no good reason to press on. Hadn’t he disrupted enough lives already?”
  27. Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan. A fun little read (ha!) for young readers. I found this in my neighborhood little free library. “I guess I’m now keeping secrets, which I decide might be a sign that I’m growing up. Adults go two ways: Either they share way too much, or they keep all kinds of stuff to themselves. I’ve always had things I don’t explain to anyone else.” And, later in the book, “I have to remember how powerful it can be to say thank you. Especially to the people you live with.”
  28. Book Lovers by Emily Henry. Quick read. I loved her writing style. “That’s life. You’re always making decisions, taking paths that lead you away from the rest before you can see where they end.” “The only two ways I’ve ever managed to get out of my head are through reading and rigorous exercise. With either, I can slip out of my mind and drift in this bodiless dark.”
  29. The Hive by Gregg Olsen. Lots of twists and turns in this one. I didn’t want to put it down. “Heather pulled herself together and hoped it all would blow over before it destroyed what she knew was rightfully hers. Hope was, she knew, for voters and the foolish.”
  30. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. A work book club reading selection. I won’t be joining the group discussion, as it falls on a scheduled PTO day, but I decided to read the book anyway. I’m glad I did and can see myself reading it again in the future. “When I find myself focusing overmuch on the anticipated future happiness of arriving at a certain goal, I remind myself to “Enjoy now”.” “And think about all the other things it could have been. … it could have been a lot worse–but it also could have been nothing it all.”
  31. The Last Green Valley by Mark Sullivan. Again, a historical fiction story set in World War II pulled me in. This story is so well written, heart breaking and inspiring all in one. “What you seek is what you will find, but only if you hunt it with all your heart and mind.” “She told me once that she believed that life does not happen to you; it happens for you, and that your whole life is a blessed journey of discovery. But you can only see life clearly and relish it when the journey is almost at an end.”
  32. Things We Never Get Over by Lucy Score. First read by Score. Definitely a rom-com story. Easy read. A little uneasy with the overly forceful masculine character. “You’re the one who has to live your life. Don’t apologize to other people for the decisions you make for yourself.”
  33. A Harvest of Secrets by Roland Merullo. A lovely read but also tragic in that World War II era I find myself reading time and time again. “…that perhaps all the trouble in the world has, at its root, our insistence on denying others their full humanity.” And about a character described much like our Jameson: “Had he been sent to them like a kind of sun, pouring light into the world without asking for anything in return?”
  34. The Night of Many Endings by Melissa Payne. I liked how much of the story was set in a library over the span of just one cold winter night. So much can happen in a short time! “… regret was a nail poking into his skin no matter which way he turned.”
  35. The Singing Trees by Boo Walker. Life is full of twists and turns, and really, you never know what tomorrow will bring, let alone today. “…but living as much as possible was the secret to making true art.” “…one must be just as good at receiving gifts as they were at giving them.”
  36. These Tangled Vines by Julianne McLean. Lovely story about love and loss, guilt and commitment, longing and realistic expectations. “I also think it’s important to reflect on past mistakes and learn from them. It helps you move forward in the right direction.”
  37. The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte. A pretty intense read with a lot of literature references. At times it was hard to follow and it took me a while to get through. Once I got past the initial chapters, I got pulled into the twisting story. “It’s all well and good. But it all comes to the same. You can make a text mean anything, especially if it’s old and full of ambiguities.” and “A person who’s interested only in books doesn’t need other people, and that frightens me.” and “A reader is the total of all he’s read, in addition to all the films and television he’s seen.”
  38. A Fire Sparkling by Julianne Maclean. Back to World War II historical fiction with this one. There’s a pretty good twist at the end. “Remember, darling, there’s no such thing as fairy tales. It’s never what you dream it will be. So learn how to be prudent.”
  39. The Fixer Upper by Lauren Forsythe. A fun, quick read. “‘That’s fear and shame talking, Alyssa. Never be too proud to apologize. To make things right.'” “Maybe they lived small lives, but they were so aware of what they had, of how much joy there was in small moments.”
  40. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. This was my second workplace book club read. The previous book, The Keeper of Lost Things, had a character with Down syndrome. In this book, the main character Charlie is considered to be far behind mentally for his age. This story got to me in several ways and at different moments. It is heartbreaking and eye opening. “Normal kids grow up too soon, stop needing you…go off on their own…forget who loves them and took care of them.” and “There are a lot of people who will give money or materials, but very few who will give time and affection.”
  41. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. I found this book in a used book bin and was pleasantly surprised by how much I fell in love with the writing style and storytelling. “Bibi replied that dreaming wasn’t naive but essential for survival, dreaming was the equivalent of hoping on a large scale, utopias were an unachievable ideal by definition, and yeh, she really couldn’t see billions of people accepting the abolition of the idea of gender completely in her lifetime … Bibi said it was a first step towards changing people’s minds, although yes, like all radical movements, there’d be much resistance and Megan would have to be resilient”
  42. The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman. Back to my Kindle for a while, I downloaded three books! “For what you can fix, there are a hundred remedies. For what cannot be cured, not even words will do.” “In this short life that only lasts an hour how much–how little–is within our power.”
  43. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – Illustrated – Rowling/Kay. Jameson and I are reading the series. He asked and of course I agreed! We read a chapter or so each night before bed when it is my turn to put him to sleep. It’s a lovely little routine and I am glad we can share in the stories together.
  44. Write My Name Across the Sky by Barbara O’Neal. “Life. You’re born and imagine a big life for yourself, and maybe you even have it for a minute, and then your lover turns out to be a thief, or you can’t kick a bad habit, or your best friend finds another.
  45. The Bookstore Sisters by Alice Hoffman. “… but fate can turn dark when you least expect it to, and there you are alone and in mourning with no one to help you raise the child you’re about the bring into the world.”
  46. The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict. “Tell your manager that one of his guests would like to speak with him.” … “I actually wrote down everything I could remember overhearing about military strategy and weapons and hunted around for the idea where I could make the most different, but then Benares happened.”
  47. Reluctantly Home by Imogen Clark. “Gender-defining though the arrangement was, their lives were symbiotic, each one vital to the well-being of the other. It was a true partnership.”

I didn’t quite hit 50 books in 2022, but I came close! (I guess I did exceed 50 reads if you count the hundreds of children’s books I enjoyed with Jameson and Max!

Here’s to 50+ books in 2023.

2021 Reading List

2020 Reading List

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