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I read some fantastic books this year! From classics to new releases, I really enjoyed my fiction selections and it was hard to narrow it down to just my top favorites! And as far as non-fiction goes, one of my goals this year was to read more non-fiction from various genres. I feel like I really accomplished that. I read more than one fantastic biography (I used to love biographies but in recent years haven’t delved into that category so much), memoir, self-help, and a fantastic Advent book.
Instead of sharing my complete booklist with you from the past year as I used to do, I am picking my best 10 books of 2022: 5 fiction and 5 non-fiction selections. If you wish to see all 50 books I read last year, head on over to Goodreads.
Top 5 Fiction of 2022
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
I didn’t like Rules of Civility, which kept me from trying this novel for a long time. Even after I started it I wasn’t too sure what I thought about it, but I’m so happy I kept going. I became very attached to the main character and all the minor ones too. I enjoyed the tone of the writing and finished the book with a smile on my face.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
I loved this book! I never thought I’d like a Dickens’ novel this much. Listening to the audio version read by Gildart Jackson definitely added to my enjoyment. And the ambiguous ending makes for a fantastic discussion!
All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
While I was familiar with all of the Herriot picture books, I never tried reading his novels until I started watching the new PBS adaptation. Oh my goodness, I LOVED this book. It was so much more delightful than I expected it to be. Siegfried Farnon and brother Tristan are hilarious, as are many of the stories of caring for the animals and their quirky owners in Yorkshire, England, during the 1930s. I mean, sometimes I laughed out loud. I definitely will be reading more of the series but I really want to savor them!
Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
A trusted friend told me to not read the synopsis of Cloud Cuckoo Land, but just to dive in. I think this is good advice, because it’s almost impossible to explain. I will add that it took me until halfway through the book to really be hooked–which is quite a lot of reading for a 640 page book. Then, it really took off! The story originates in ancient times and reaches into the future and entwines various threads into a beautiful tapestry. From Constantinople to Idaho to a space ship, the main characters all are connected. This novel also includes many references to The Iliad and The Odyssey. It’s not necessary to have read those books to understand the story, but it made me smile. It was a unique book that really is it’s own experience. If you like fiction with a twist and a nod to mythology, this is for you.
The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman and The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman
I’m afraid I’m overselling these books but they truly are one of the most delightful, funny, endearing, murder mystery series I’ve ever read. They really are one-of-a-kind! I want to be both Joyce and Elizabeth when I’m 70! I particularly like these on audio.
Top 5 Non-Fiction of 2022
It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War by Lynsey Addario
The memoir begins with the kidnapping of conflict photographer Lynsey Addario by pro-Qaddafi forces during the Libyan civil war. From there it backtracks over the events of her life that led to Addario being a war photographer. She has covered most of the major conflicts that have developed since 9/11. From war in Ukraine or Afghanistan to rape victims in Congo, Addario’s photos are beautiful, heartbreaking, and poignant. Her book gave me a new appreciation to what it takes to be a war correspondent. For a full, in-depth review go here.
When a Family Member Has OCD: Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Skills to Help Families Affected by Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder by Jon Hershfield, MFT
I highly appreciated this book written to the families of people who struggle with OCD. The fact is, OCD affects every person in the family–not just the person who has OCD. It helps provide context for the OCD-sufferer’s struggle and also ways you can help–and how you can unintentionally help strengthen OCD tendencies without meaning to. It also helps with boundaries: what you can do and what is not your responsibility to be involved in.
God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew
An engaging book about the life and ministry of Brother Andrew, founder of Open Doors. Brother Andrew reminded me of a modern day George Mueller in his humble reliance on God to provide his needs and the needs of his ministry. As a poor Dutch young man he began traveling through Europe meeting with Christians in closed-off Communist countries. His work has now expanded to include the entire globe. I was so happy I read it before he died this year.
Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman by Lucy Worsley
I was totally thrilled with this wonderful examination of Christie’s life. The audiobook version was entertainingly read by the author. I have enjoyed the film and television adaptations of Christie’s work more than I’ve actually read her books, but this has certainly made me want to read more of her novels. I particularly appreciated how the author approached Christie’s infamous 11-day disappearance in 1926 and how that often overshadowed her life and her family’s afterwards. If you enjoy The Queen of Crime, definitely add this to your list.
Heaven and Nature Sing: 25 Advent Reflections to Bring Joy to the World by Hannah Anderson
Anderson takes the Christmas story and the various symbols we are so familiar with and weaves daily essays for the Advent season with great skill, insight, and depth. I will probably be rereading it next year. Simply one of the best Advent books I’ve read in a long time.
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