Woohoo! It’s time to share what I read this year! I look forward to writing this post every year and it’s finally here!
Let’s jump right in, shall we? This year I read 42 books which was admittedly less than years past, but I’m in grad school right now so I spend a great deal of time on required reading and writing. These are the top books I read in 2022.
Non-Fiction Books I rated 5 stars this year:
- Find Your People: Building Deep Community in a Lonely World by Jennie Allen. I tell you. Jennie really gets to the heart and truth of community as well as our need for community in this one.
- I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemnas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel This book is so much fun for anyone who might enjoy the “What Should I Read Next,” podcast. I enjoy Anne Bogel.
- Waymaker: Finding the Way to the Life You’ve Always Dreamed Of by Ann Voskamp If you’ve been around the blog for a bit, you know how much I love the writing of Ann Voskamp. She knows Jesus deeply and His grace flows from her words.
- Undistracted: Capture Your Purpose. Rediscover Your Joy. By Bob Goff This was such a fun read, as to be expected by Bob Goff! Listen to the audiobook narrated by Bob for the full experience!
- Boys Should be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons by Dr. Meg Meeker This book led to reading other books by Meg Meeker because it was so full of wisdom!
- Acts Study Book by She Reads Truth
- Strong Mothers, Strong Sons: Lessons Mothers Need to Raise Extraordinary Men by Dr. Meg Meeker
- Boy Mom: What Your Son Needs Most from You by Monica Swanson I’m now a loyal listener to Monica’s Boy Mom podcast. She is so wise and I’m learning so much from her expertise as a mother of boys!
- The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy by Jon Gordon I learned so much from this book and loved it, but I nearly rated it four stars because it almost got a bit too out there for me at one point. See my commentary for Dare to Lead below. Those were similar for me: both helpful, educational, but a few moments that had to be digested with a grain of salt. That’s sort of the nature of the leadership book genre, it seems. They tend to have moments that aren’t five stars for me, but overall- I loved this book! I still highly recommend both aforementioned titles.
- Beholding and Becoming: The Art of Everyday Worship by Ruth Chou Simons This author is best known for her watercolor paintings, but Ruth Simons writes every bit as beautifully as she paints. She is a role model as a fellow boy mom and follower of Christ.
- The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King This is the first time I’ve ever cried during an audiobook. I’m not much of a cryer, but I had tears rolling down my cheeks from gratitude for the work of Mr. Rogers and his impact on my own life. This book has changed the way I speak to children on a daily basis as an educator and a mom. This is a must-read if you work with children. Fred Rogers worked with such conviction. This book was humbling and inspiring.
- Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam M. Grant This book challenged my thinking in all of the best ways!
- The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian This book profoundly impacted my prayer life and gave me new ideas for praying for my own three boys. I’ve begun praying for areas of their lives that I hadn’t considered before. I’m so thankful for this one.
- Advent 2022: Joy of Every Longing Heart by She Reads Truth I cannot say enough good things about the studies by She Reads Truth. They always point me to Jesus.
Fiction Books I rated 5 stars this year:
- The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth I think Sally Hepworth is my new favorite author. Every book she writes is a page turner, but never scary. She’s a smart writer.
- Out of my Heart by Sharon M. Draper This book is children’s literature and I highly recommend sharing this book with students in 3rd-9th grades. This is the sequel to Out of my Mind which I read another year and also highly recommend. I am becoming less and less impressed with recently published children’s lit and this one is a true gem!
- Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid Definitely add this book to your summer read list. This was one of my very favorites of the year and almost made my top three list. It was a close one!
- The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth I’m completely obsessed with the writing of Sally Hepworth. Her twists and turns are so smart that I find myself playing out various scenarios in my mind, but I never quite figure out an ending that matches her own writing until I see the entire story unfold at the end. Just wow.
- A Nantucket Christmas by Nancy Thayer This was the most fun Christmas fiction book I read this year. The characters weren’t quite as memorable as Elin Hilderbrand’s first Christmas trilogy (the trilogy that includes: Winter Street, Winter Stroll, Winter Storms, and the bonus—Winter Solstice) but I think Nancy Thayer might be a tad more wholesome than Elin Hilderbrand. They both have pros and cons. This was an enjoyable Christmas fiction read!
Fiction Books that I rated a strong 4 stars:
**I should mention here that I often rate a fiction book 4 stars if the content had questionable matter, but would otherwise have been a 5 star book. I have a hard time putting my seal of approval on books that don’t line up with my code of ethics. Proceed with caution when reading any of the fiction books listed here or even above in the five star category. I tend to enjoy a good page turner the most of any genre, but the authors usually include content that I wouldn’t have included myself. You’ve been warned.**
- Class Mom by Laurie Gelman I read the entire series and rated the books 3 or 4 stars each for content purposes. The entertainment value was rather high, however. Listen to the audiobooks narrated by the author for the full experience, but listen with your earbuds in (if you have little ones) due to content that isn’t appropriate for little ears. The author is Laurie Gelman, the wife of Michael Gelman who produced Regis and Kathie Lee/Kelly. The entire series was hilarious and so relevant in my season of life! I enjoyed it more when I got used to the humor and also when I switched to audiobook format. This author is an entertaining narrator!
- Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult I read several Jodi Picoult books this year and this was my favorite Picoult *this* year. I read this book early on in the year and I still remember the characters and storyline vividly, a sign of a good book. The plot and ending both took me by surprise!
- Stealing Home (The Sweet Magnolias #1) by Sherryl Woods Sweet Magnolias is my very favorite series on Netflix and the books are equally as charming.
- Good Apple: Tales of a Southern Evangelical in New York by Elizabeth Passarella The entire concept of this book was interesting from beginning to end. Actually, I believe it was non-fiction now that I think about it. It was a true story, but more of a narrative non-fiction/autobiography that read as enjoyably as good fiction. I’ll keep it here in this category because it reads like fiction.
- The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand I love most Elin Hilderbrand books and this one was a solid four for me. I liked it very much, but it wasn’t true book love because the ghost story was a tad unbelievable for a realistic fiction author.
- Summer Love by Nancy Thayer I’m really beginning to enjoy Nancy Thayer.
Non-Fiction Books that I rated a strong 4 stars:
- Growing Slow: Lessons on Un-hurrying Your Heart from an Accidental Farm Girl by Jennifer Dukes Lee
- Dare to Lead by Brené Brown I underlined, read, and reread this book. The only reason I didn’t give it a 5 star rating was due to the parts that felt a bit…not New Age-y but…secular worldview–ish? Seriously, it was a very strong four stars, very nearly five.
- The Coffee Bean: A Simple Lesson to Generate Positive Change by Jon Gordon
- Called to Care: Opening your Heart to Vulnerable Children through Foster Care, Adoption, and other Life-Giving Ways by Bill Blacquiere
- Welcome Home: A Cozy Minimalist Guide to Decorating and Hosting Year Round by Myquillyn Smith We bought a new home this year and I love Myquillyn’s simple yet meaningful methods of decorating and hosting.
My favorites of 2022…drumroll, please.
One of my very favorite bloggers, Shay Shull, always picks a favorite but I’ve found that I typically just say, “Welp. Here’s what I read and liked.” I don’t know if I can pinpoint my very favorite, but I’m going to tell you the top three that I’m still thinking about on this last day of December 2022 from the list above.
- Boy Mom: What Your Son Needs Most from You by Monica Swanson This one really reached me in that way that I began recommending it to every one of my boy mom friends. I began listening to the podcast. I even taught a summer school class called “Adventures for Boys,” after reading this book. If you’re raising a son, read this book.
- The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth I will read anything Sally Hepworth writes until further notice. This one kept me turning the pages quickly and surprised me multiple times. That’s my idea of a fun fiction read. I won’t say anymore so that I don’t spoil it for you. It isn’t an especially light or an especially heavy read. Sally Hepworth is the queen of the family drama/suspense type of twists and turns. I’ve learned that genre is most often my favorite escapism whether on television or in a book. If you like a good story, you will love Sally Hepworth. I also feel like she isn’t as dark as some other authors in the suspense genre, but that isn’t to say that you’d be able to find Sally Hepworth in a Christian bookstore. You would not. Sally Hepworth’s books are more like shows such as This is Us, Brothers and Sisters, or Parenthood. They aren’t comparable to HBO which is always a bit much for me, but they aren’t Pureflix either. If you tend to enjoy Netflix, you will likely enjoy the content of Sally Hepworth. Disclaimer: I’m painting with broad strokes to explain the content, but I don’t love everything on Netflix by any means. That seemed worth saying. It’s important to me that I am clear with you. I don’t want to lead anyone astray.
- The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian If you’re raising children, read this one. This book revolutionized the way I pray for my children, their future wives, and my children’s friends. When I got to the final page, I quickly began researching which of Stormie’s “Power of Praying” books I should read next and I think I’ve decided that I want to reread this very book again because I want to keep praying this way for my children. The topics covered more than I was remembering to pray on my own. If you read a non-fiction book from my list, this one might be most worth your time. This is the biggest bang for your buck, for a lack of better words.
This was a fun year in reading, but it wasn’t my best ever reading year. I didn’t read any fiction that totally changed my life like years past, but I do think you can easily find a truly great read or ten from the list above.
May this be a wonderful reading year for you and for me. Have a safe New Years Eve, sweet friends.
From my reading heart to yours,