Inspired by my high school friend, I decided to look at the books I read this year, and thought I would share some highlights. I highly recommend her blog too, but here is her post about her books https://dontstopbelieving.me/my-year-in-books-2022/. She shares recommendations on books, beauty, and a host of Memphis pride. I have added some of her books to my reading list for 2023.
According to my Goodreads, I read 44 books this year. That is more than last year, and I definitely listened to some of them. I will put the “must reads” at the top and the ones I didn’t love as much at the bottom of each category. I’ll share a tiny bit about each, and I will let you know if I listened to them instead of reading.
Midnight Library by Matt Haig. Best book I read this year, hands down. I am still thinking about it, months later, and want to reread it.
The Arc of a Scythe series by Neil Shusterman. I listened to The Scythe, The Thunderhead, and The Toll, read by Greg Tremblay. I have just downloaded Gleanings on Audible. Science fiction isn’t always my jam, but these young adult novels take place in the future, where humans no longer die of natural causes. Instead, scythes must end lives. We learn how scythes are chosen and taught. Fascinating ethical questions are raised by this series.
I listened to several books by Elizabeth Strout: Olive Again, My Name is Lucy Barton, Anything is Possible, and Oh William! The last 3 are in the same series. All of them are narrated by Kimberly Farr, and I enjoyed her voice.
I have been a fan of PJ Tracy’s Monkeewrench series, and I read Ice Cold Heart, the 10th in the series. They are a mother-daughter duo, but now the mother has passed away. I also read Return of the Magi. This was a short book -only 170 pages. I was intrigued by this short novel of a different genre. It was a great December read.
The Wings of Fire series by Tui T. Sutherland. My youngest daughter got me addicted to these middle grade fantasy books. I have finished the entire series now, and they were fun and a hit among her friends. I know boys and girls who have enjoyed this series!
The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie. This is the first of her Hercule Poirot novels, and also her first published novel. I felt that I had been missing out by never reading her. It was a quick read, and fun.
The Hypnotist’s Love Story and What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarity. I will read anything she writes!
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Eleanor is eccentric, but it is a beautiful story about the need for human connection.
Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner. Fun summer chick lit. I like Weiner and have read several of her books.
The Excellent Lombards by Jane Hamilton Told from a child’s perspective, the story of an apple orchard, family dynamics, and changes that they endure together.
The Supermodel’s Best Friend by Gretchen Galway. Fun chick lit, took no brain power, predictable, but sometimes that is a nice escape.
All Things Bright and Beautiful by Amber Belldene. This is the 2nd in the Reverend Alma Lee mysteries. I enjoy reading about a clergywoman written by a clergywoman.
Angry Housewives Eating BonBons by Lorna Landvik. Landvik is a Minnesota author whose books I have enjoyed. This one is about a group of housewives who are neighbors. It chronicles their friendship over time, beginning in the 1950s. Their book club picks are listed at the beginning of the chapter. I enjoyed a historical look at life in Minneapolis.
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. This book had been on my “to read” list for awhile. Though it is long, and a lot about training dogs, it kept me interested. I did enjoy the fact that it took place in northwest WI.
Virgil Wander by Leif Enger. Leif is a Minnesota author. I didn’t love this book as much as Peace Like a River, but it had interesting characters.
Burying the Lede by Joseph LeValley. I read this because the author’s daughter is co-host of one my favorite podcasts, Dieowa. This mystery also takes place in Iowa, and is the first in the series about journalist Tony Harrington. I will definitely read more.
Louder than Words by Kathy Kacer. This is another middle grade story about a Jewish family in a small Ukrainian town during WWII. I felt that if my young reader was going to read about a challenging topic, I should read it, in case she wanted to discuss it. This is the 3rd in a series, which we didn’t realize.
Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself by Nedra Glover Tawwab I commend this book to you! And if you are on Instagram, I recommend you follow her. Her no nonsense plain explanations make boundaries feel doable. She has a new book, Drama Free, that is on my list.
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. I listened to this, and it was beautiful. She uses her training as a botanist with her indigenous learning. It made me think about plants differently.
The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine N. Aron. My therapist had me read this book, and I was not surprised to learn that some of my quirks come from being a HSP. A friend loaned me the one about children, but I am still in chapter one. You can see if this book applies to you at http://hsperson.com. After that, I read The Gifted Highly Sensitive Introvert: Widsom for Emotional Healing and Expressing Your Radiant Authentic Self by Benita A Esposito. It was interesting to hear her story, but it was more memoir than self-help.
The Way of Integrity: Finding the Path to Your True Self and Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live by Martha Beck. Both of these books had exercises that I found helpful as I try to discern what is next for me.
Discovering the Inner Mother by Bethany Webster. I also follow her on IG. I liked how she discusses mothering ourselves not only personally, but also some of the cultural implications of the patriarchy that cause a mother wound. This is a book about claiming self-love rather than blaming. “Revealing how women are affected by the Mother Wound, even if they don’t personally identify as survivors, Discovering the Inner Mother revolutionizes how we view mother-daughter relationships and gives us the inspiration and guidance we need to improve our lives and ultimately create a more equitable society for all.”
The New Codependency: Help and Guidance for Today’s Generation by Melody Beattie. I knew I needed to revisit codependency, but I didn’t want to read Codependent No More for like the tenth time. I appreciated how she shares some of her personal story in this book, the stories of others, assessments, and the analysis of certain codependent behaviors.
Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor. The author narrates this book, and I have listened to several of the parts multiple times. My primary care physician pointed out to me that I hold my breath often, unconsciously. This was a fascinating study in breath, and how essential breath work is.
The Places that Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times by Pema Chodron. One of my friends recommended Pema Chodron, and then we both ended up reading this book at the same time. Helpful. Pema is an American Buddhist nun.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. This is an involved study of how one woman’s cells changed our medical history. Sadly, it is also about her family and how little they knew of what was happening.
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. Clearly I did not read the description before buying, because I thought it was fiction. I did not love all the description of falconry, but the story of grief came at a good time for me.
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson. This is one I listened to, and it is read by the author. I thought the beginning was funny, but then it kind of got annoying.
Thanks for reading! What books do you recommend I add to my list for 2023?