One of my favorite things about 2022 was reading! It’s always been my favorite pastime, and I made the goal to read 50 books—the most I had read in one year since childhood!
In order to accomplish this goal, I needed to learn to like audiobooks since I’m on-to-go so much. I previously would have said “I dislike audio books,” and “I really can’t learn as much via audio” (since my favorite part of reading is learning).
To my complete surprise, not only did I learn to tolerate audiobooks, but I LOVE them now! I also learned that your brain can learn to absorb more via different mediums the more you train it to do so, and while I thought I could never listen to things faster than 1x speed, I must now listen at no less than 1.5x speed or the narrators sound too slow to me. (I listened to many books at 1.75x speed and some books at 2x speed!). If I’m not using earbuds, Will will say “there’s no way you can understand what they’re saying,” but to my brain the faster speeds now sound normal!
I have a couple of tips for how I listen to so many audiobooks. First, check out the Libby and hoopla apps to see if they carry the audiobooks you’re interested in listening to. Selections vary greatly by libraries, but this has worked out really well for me!
If there’s a book I really want to listen to, but I can’t get it for free, I add it to my Audible wish list. I don’t keep my Audible account active forever. I usually start it up during a really good sale, and then cancel it after I have spent my credits on books I really want to read but can’t find for free!
Not all 50 were audio. I usually had an audiobook, an ebook, and a print book going at the same time, but I always finish the audio ones first since I can listen to them while I’m on-the-go.
The 50 doesn’t include books I didn’t finish. I still have quite a few that are partly finished that I’ll finish in 2023.
My favorite genre is memoir, but in 2022 & I read from a variety of genres:
- Fiction: 6
- Christian Living: 8
- Memoir: 10 (several others were memoir-like)
- Biography: 4
- General Non-fiction: 4
- Personal Growth: 4
- Parenting: 7
- Business: 5
- Health: 1
- Marriage: 1
Focusing on my favorite genres helped me read more.
That said, I’m lowering my 2023 reading goal to 30–yes, 20 books less! Why? I love podcasts and learn a lot via them (particularly business podcasts). I only have so much time to listen because I don’t listen while working or when the family is with me, so I found that I barely listened to any podcasts in 2022. I want to give myself margin to listen to both books & podcasts, and I think my goal for 2023 will allow for that.
Here are my top 10 books read in 2022:
#1: Everything Sad is Untrue
Where do I even begin with this book? I didn’t even know what it was about when I started reading it, but it came so highly recommended that I stuck with it. I didn’t get into the book until about halfway through, but then I couldn’t put it down!
This book is written unlike any other book I’ve ever read. The story is equal parts heartbreaking, inspiring, laugh-out-loud funny, and hopeful.
This book will stick with me for a long, long time. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good memoir, especially those who enjoy reading about internationals (and specifically about refugees).
I recommend the audio version narrated by the author. I don’t typically read a book more than once, but this is one I would most definitely read again.
#2: It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way
This is one of the best books I’ve ever read…probably because it spoke to both past wounds I’ve experienced & present challenges as well. I was reading the chapter on her getting a lifesaving surgery (that she didn’t know she needed) when I got the call from my doctor’s office to schedule my surgery. Yes, I got chills! It sat on my shelf for 3 1/2 years because I was scared to read it while navigating one of my hardest years (2019). It turns out this was the perfect time for me to read it. Highly, highly recommend.
#3: Parenting is Heart Work
If you are a parent, this book is a MUST READ.
I’ve read a lot of other parenting books, but this one FAR EXCEEDS them all.
My biggest regret is not reading this book earlier. I was reading my highlights to Will on the way home from a trip, and he finally asked me if I underlined the entire book. (Pretty much! )
Do not wait to read this book. Get it & read it asap. You will thank me later!
Note: We had some well-meaning friends recommend some really horrible parenting books when we were new parents. I wish we had known about this book back then! I do NOT recommend Babywise, To Train Up a Child, or Raising Godly Tomatoes. In my opinion, those three advocate for abuse. Shepherding a Child’s Heart has some good nuggets but also some questionable methods and is just “meh” compared to this one.
#4: Hormone Repair Manual
I believe strongly in knowing what’s going on inside our bodies. Hormonal shifts are inevitable with age, but we’re not helpless on doing anything to feel better! I’ve long followed the author—Canadian naturopath Lara Briden—via her blog, podcast, and other book on periods. She gives practical tips on lifestyle changes — including foods, exercise, supplements, etc. to help improve female health. This book is an absolute MUST-READ for women 35+!
#5: What Is Girl Worth? My Story of Breaking the Silence and Exposing the Truth of Larry Nasser & USA Gymnastics
*Trigger warning for those who have been sexually abused: This book describes sexual abuse in detail.* This memoir is incredibly inspiring & kept me engaged the entire time. I could barely put it down! This story will stick with me for a very long time.
#6: Love Her Well
I loved this book. The books gives reasons for WHY tween/preteen/teen girls may act like they hate you one minute & want to cuddle on the couch the next. With a focus on RELATIONSHIP, the book gives practical ways to help your daughter navigate through this often-difficult season of life. This book is written from a Christian perspective and includes plenty of Scripture, which made me love it even more. A must-read for every mom with adolescent daughters!
Tara Westover is a phenomenal writer. When the book started, I immediately thought: “She is either brilliant (because no one with her lack of education could write so well), or she had a ghost writer.”
By the end of the book, it’s clear that she is brilliant.
Memoirs are my favorite genre, and I could barely put this one down. The story is gripping, the action & descriptions read like a novel, and the dialog is believable.
Yet, the story is also heartbreaking, in so many different ways. I found myself not only heartbroken for Tara but also for her parents & siblings.
I took off 1/2 star because some of the injuries seem a little hyperbolic—particularly her dad’s badly burned body. I looked up pictures of her dad, and he doesn’t look scarred at all in the pictures.
As a memoir author myself, I know the genre takes on the form of creative nonfiction—meaning some details are fleshed out with elements of fiction, while the overall story is true. However, the number of times she mentions her father’s badly burned body felt a bit suspicious.
It gave me pause that she and several of her siblings went on to become highly (as in PhD!) educated, when she paints the mother as having barely taught the children in her homeschool. While I can see huge gaps in education being plausible (she had never heard of the Holocaust until college), it’s hard to believe that Tara grew up without any academic foundation at all and then went on to get her PhD. But, then again, she sounds brilliant, so maybe it all just came naturally to her once she learned how to study.
I was also sad to find out—through some internet digging—that her parents’ business has been negatively affected since she published her memoir. They own an essential oil company called Butterfly Express. I had stumbled upon them about a decade ago when trying to find some quality oils. At the time, they had really good reviews.
All-in-all, I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good memoir. Just set aside all of your regularly-scheduled activities until you finish it…because you won’t want to stop reading.
(As an aside, I listened to the audio, and the narrator was EXCELLENT. She reminded me of Cherry Jones, the narrator for the Little House books.)
I loved this book.
I highly recommend reading Maid, ESPECIALLY if you’re an upper middle class to high income earner & ESPECIALLY if you’ve ever hired a house cleaner. We’ve had various house cleaners & help over the past 9 years or so, and this book made me think we should be paying more (although we do pay much more than the author made as a maid).
Parts of the book gave me chills, and parts were reminiscent of our days when we were barely making it & had WIC when the girls were babies/toddlers (which I wrote about in my memoir). Although, our situation was VERY different and paled in comparison to this woman’s experience…there really is no comparison.
Parts of the book nearly brought me to tears. Warning: there is some language, but it’s not too much. This book gives some much-needed perspective to those who are truly barely making it in our own country.
Note: I started watching the Netflix series and could barely make it through two episodes. The book is very different – and SO much better – than what I saw in the series. I can’t even bring myself to go back and watch it.
#9: The Tattooist of Auschwitz
The only fiction book to make my top 10, I probably enjoyed this one so much because it was based on a true story, even though it was fictitious enough to classify it as a novel.
The World War 2 period—and particularly the Holocaust—has been my favorite time period to study since I was a teenager. Like most stories from that time, this one is equal parts heart-wrenching and inspiring. I could barely put it down and read it in a day.
#10: Seen: Healing Anxiety & Despair in Kids & Teens Through the Power of Connection
I loved this book! Highly recommend to parents of tweens & older read this + anyone who works with teenagers or older kids!This book should be on every parent’s bookshelf!
Check out my complete 2022 Goodreads reading list.
I would love to see yours to add some of your favorites to my TBR list! If you’re on Goodreads, let’s follow each other!
What good books did you read in 2022? What’s on your list for 2023?
I really enjoyed reading this blog post! The Hormone Repair Manual, sounds super interesting, I’m adding it to my list. Thanks for sharing!