Books I Read In 2022 (and my favorite 4)

1. The Midwife of Hope River, Patricia Harman

2. To Paradise, Hanya Yanagihara

3. Silver Sparrow, Tayari Jones

4. Bright Line Eating, Susan Pierce Thompson, PhD

5. How The Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History Of Slavery Across America, Clint Smith

6. Good Enough: 40ish Devotionals For A Life of Imperfection, Kate Bowler & Jessica Richie

7. My Evil Mother, Margaret Atwood

8. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent, Isabel Wilkerson

9. It’s Okay To Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too) Nora McInerny Purmort

10. What The Dog Saw, Malcolm Gladwell

11. A Little Thing Called Life: On Loving Elvis Presley, Bruce Jenner, & Songs in Between, Linda Thompson

12. America’s First Female Serial Killer: Jane Toppan And The Making Of A Monster, Mary Kay McBrayer

13. I’ll Take You There, Wally Lamb

14. The Paying Guests, Sarah Waters

15. Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality & Threatens Democracy, Cathy O’Neil

16. Fourth of July Creek, Smith Henderson

17. Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love & Being Comfortable In Your Skin…Every Inch Of It, Brittany Gibbons

18. The Diving Bell & The Butterfly, Jean-Dominique Bauby

19. It Ends With Us, Colleen Hoover

20. I Hate The Ivy League: Riffs & Rants On Elite Education, Malcolm Gladwell

21. Into The Beautiful North, Luis Alberto Urrea

22. The Winners, Fredrik Backman

23. Get Good With Money, Tiffany Aliche

24. Our Missing Hearts, Celeste Ng

25. The Nature of Life and Death: Tales of a Forensic Ecologist: Every Body Leaves a Trace, Patricia Wiltshire

26. Bel Canto, Ann Patchett

27. Everything I Know About Love, Dolly Alderton

28. Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want To Come, Jessica Pan

29. Excuse Me While I Disappear, Laurie Notaro

30. Emotional Inheritance: A Therapist, Her Patients, & The Legacy of Trauma Galit Atlas, PhD

31. Effin’ Birds, Aaron Reynolds

32. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse, Charles Mackesy

My favorite four:

I am such a fan of Fredrik Backman. He is one of my absolute favorite authors & I will read anything he writes. His ability to describe people in relation to their relationships (including the one they have with themselves) is impeccable. This book completes the Beartown series.

“Marriage. There ought to be a different word for it once you’ve been married for enough years. When you’ve long since past the point where it stopped feeling like a choice. I no longer choose you every morning – that was a beautiful thing we said on our wedding day – I just can’t imagine life without you now. We aren’t freshly blooming flowers, we are two trees with intertwined roots. You’ve grown old within me. When you’re young you believe that love is infatuation, but infatuation is simple, any child can become infatuated, fall in love. But real love? Love is a job for an adult. Love demands a whole person. All the best of you, all the worst. It has nothing to do with romance because the hard part of a marriage isn’t that I have to live seeing all your faults, but that you have to live with me seeing them. That I know everything about you now. Most people aren’t brave enough to live without secrets. Everyone dreams about being invisible sometimes; no one dreams of being transparent. Marriage. There ought to be a different word for it after a while because there’s no such thing as eternal infatuation. Only love lasts that long & it’s never simple. It requires a whole person, everything you have, the whole lot…Dear Lord, how close you have to be to giving up each other to remember to fight for each other…There really ought to be a different word for marriage, but perhaps also a different word for divorce. One for when you’re only almost there, when you want to whisper that I don’t know what I want, I just don’t want it to be like this. A word for simply saying that I can’t bear it. I can’t bear it if all we’re going to do with each other is just bear it…Above all the other words for love, there ought to be one for this. One that says how many times we’ve come close to losing each other, but turn back & start again. One for the very smallest things, the inches when we brush past each other in the kitchen instead of only almost doing it. Something that says, I can’t bear it. I can’t bear it if you can’t bear me. I can’t bear it without you.”

This is by far one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read. Chances are, you’ve likely never given much, if any, thought to dust, pollen, & spores. If you read this book, you’ll never look and/ or consider them the same again.

“What I am doing is absorbing all the information I can and using it to paint a mental picture of a place that I have never visited, and quite possibly never will. I call the image “the picture of place” – an imagined construct, but out there somewhere. This picture represents something real, a place I can summon into being by carefully considering the pollen, spores, and other microscopic matter that I retrieve from exhibits. It is the place I can see on the backs of my eyelids whenever I close my eyes. Some parts of the image are sharp, others are murky, sliding around like amoebae as more information is gleaned from the microscope. The place where you buried your lover, the place where your victim says you pinned her down and raped her, and which you say you were never near. It’s the place where you picked up telltale clues that will one day expose you, and it is how nature relays the stories that nothing else can.”

If the book before was the most interesting, this book has to be one of the most important. I’m a trained & licensed social worker with a lifelong interest in people & their stories. I believe self introspection is imperative to overall growth & function. The more you know about yourself, you’ll likely become more compassionate & empathetic which will naturally lend itself to others; even as their actions & choices can affect you.

“In ways that often feel mysterious, emotional material left unprocessed tends to appear & reappear in our lives. The unexamined life repeats itself & reverberates through the generations. The untold stories clamor for reenactment; they insist on being told. That which cannot be consciously identified forces itself into our reality & repeats itself. It is those now seen patterns that we search for & unpack. Again & again, the human unconscious brings us to the original site of where things went wrong with the wish to do it all over again, repair the damage, & heal those who were hurt & wounded. We identify with previous generations, with those who have been injured, who have been humiliated, & who have died. In our fantasy, their cure is also our own.”

Lastly, one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. Just the other day, after brunch, we headed to the bookstore across the street from the restaurant. Our oldest handed me this book with the following instructions: “Open to any page & just read.” From that moment on, at minimum for the next 15 minutes, we pealed with laughter, doubled over wheezing & crying, me trying not to pee. This is a gem of a book. From the inside of the book:

Here’s to another year of reading. Happy reading!

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