Hello friends! I was initially going to post a life update (but not much has changed for me, although there may be some things on the horizon), so I’m going to share with you my favorite books of 2022. I can’t believe I haven’t done this in years past, I do have a series called books & songs where I share my current favorite songs and what I’ve been reading, but this will be out of all the books I’ve read in 2022.
This year I’ve read 70 books thus far. I’m planning to read a few more before the new year comes. I will list my favorites in order that I’ve read them. If you want to follow me on Goodreads, let me know!
Now let’s get into the ~books~
I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet
“What I miss, what was lost, what’s still unfolding. I’m not perfect or shiny or bulletproof. The story of my life is not a fairy tale. It’s not a horror story. It’s just a story like most stories – dark and light and beautiful and terrible and still being written.”Shauna Niequist
Shauna Niequist came in hot with this book! This was my first four star read of the year. I just loved the way she held her story open. Acceptance is a big theme for this book. We so often resist when things aren’t going our way or our plans have shattered. Shauna gives us wisdom to be open-hearted to what God is doing and what life can teach us if we’re willing to let go of control. If we’re willing to do the work of forgiveness and starting over.
I Don’t Wait Anymore
“Okay, God,” I whispered. “I’m here. I don’t know where to start, but I’m here. And I’m not leaving until we figure this out. I know if You are who You say You are, if everything I’ve always known and heard about You is true, then my life won’t make sense until it’s all about You.”Grace Thornton
I read this book by Grace Thornton twice this year. I’ve been in a waiting season for 7 months, and I have no clue when it will end. So this book was necessary. It focuses on singleness, but I honestly think it’s the perfect book on trusting God while waiting. We have to learn about His nature and know His heart to decide if He’s worth following. Spoiler alert: He is. Grace wrote such beautiful stories in this book, following God where He wanted to take her, even if that meant she would experience pain. It’s a stunning book.
Related Post: Life in the Waiting Room | quote series
“How ironic, then, and how poetic, that humankind may have created the Creator out of want for one. Man creates God, who then creates man. Is that not the perfect circle of life? But then, if that turns out to be the case, who is created in whose image?”Neal Shusterman
Some fiction for you! This is the second book in the Scythe trilogy by Neal Shusterman. I also read the last book. But I think this second book may be a far, far more delightful sequel than I’ve read in a long time. The first book was incredible, but this one tops it completely. New characters, evocative storyline. If you like science-fiction, this will be perfect for you. It’s kind of a utopia gone dystopia with compelling characters and AI that’s morally complex. I absolutely will be rereading this series again!
The Rest of Us Live Here
“Not everyone has to be the Chosen One. Not everyone has to be the guy who saves the world. Most people just have to live their lives the best they can, doing things that are great for them, having great friends, trying to make their lives better, loving people properly. All the while knowing that the world makes no sense but trying to find a way to be happy anyway.”Patrick Ness
I haven’t read YA fiction in a long, long time. I’m a little bit older now, but it’s also just harder for me to relate to 16 year-olds. Different life seasons, I suppose. But I really enjoyed this one by Patrick Ness. It subverts the storytelling trope of the Chosen One. It follows the story of a random group of kids and their senior year of high school. It’s funny and endearing. I love the lesson that you don’t need to be the Chosen One to have a meaningful life. It also includes the Chosen One narrative in a hilarious way.
The Power of Place
“Those who are willing to lose the freedom of a thousand different options will find they have everything they need right in front of them.”Daniel Grothe
I feel like I’ve read a lot about place and I mentioned that in a blog post a while back. I highly recommend this book by Daniel Grothe if you’re thinking of the long-term ramifications of moving or of trying to stay in a city/town. My top lesson is that do what you can to stay rooted and have good community no matter how long you’re in a particular place.
Related Post: The Pull of Staying Rooted
At Home in Mitford
“One of the things that makes a dead leaf fall to the ground is the bud of the new leaf that pushes it off the limb. When you let God fill you with His love and forgiveness, the things you think you desperately want to hold on to start falling away . . . and we hardly notice their passing.”Jan Karon
This is my top read of the year. One of the two five stars. I rarely give five stars. I give four stars if I find a book compelling and well-written but five stars is for books that wow me. Books that engage me and give me exactly what I need when reading them. This book by Jan Karon gave me that. Friendship. Family. Small-town. Faith. Humor. I read it at the perfect time, and it was an utter delight.
Girl Meets God
“…but that is how the clues God leaves sometimes work. Sometimes nothing comes of them. Sometimes, as in a great novel, you cannot see until you get to the end that God was leaving clues for you all along. Sometimes you wonder, how did I miss it? Surely any idiot should have been able to see from the second chapter that it was Miss Scarlet in the conservatory with the rope.”Lauren Winner
I’ve read Lauren Winner before, and this by far, is my favorite from her. It’s basically her testimony but it’s also a memoir-like book. She segments it by chapters on specific faith areas like the Eucharist or Lent. I just loved her Jewish and Christian connections. This was an awesome read and it made me want to pray more Compline.
Related Post: Fighting for faith on a winding path | quote series
Praying Like Fools, Living Like Monks
“The middle is where the mystery lies. The middle is where all our questions about prayer are littered.”Tyler Staton
Speaking of prayer, Tyler Staton wrote a whole book on it. Tyler is an interesting storyteller. He always gives you an image to anchor onto. When prayer can feel amorphous or intangible, this book is a perfect remedy. The number rule, of course, is to pray as you can. And keep showing up. If you’re interested in more of him, he teaches at Bridgetown Church in Portland.
The Screwtape Letters
“Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”C.S. Lewis
Not my first C.S. Lewis book, but my favorite thus far (We’ll see how I feel after The Great Divorce). If you want a book on spiritual warfare, you found it. I wish I read this book as a baby Christian. It would have saved me so much heartache. I don’t even feel like I understood spiritual warfare until reading this. It’s also just really creative–it’s an epistolary. I only wish it weren’t one-sided. I took a ton of notes reading this book that I could honestly write a whole blog post on it!
Tables in the Wilderness
“The slightest and most gentle tap in one direction, that perhaps the will of God is found in the midst of, not before, the setting out on the journey.”Preston Yancey.
And last but certainly not least. Preston Yancey blew me away with this one. I didn’t have it on my list to read as I did with some of the others, but I randomly picked it up one day and I’m so glad I did. And it became my second five star read of the year. Preston’s relationship with God at the beginning is slowly how my relationship with God is right now. I love the way it was structured. There are sentences that make me gasp. Preston is so insightful in his description of people. I love how he writes about moments and includes his reflections of the moments, so it’s both an experience and his reflection at once. I just loved everything about this read. Preston is honest in how he portrays himself, which makes him credible to me as a reader. And of course, who doesn’t love discussing how we hear God? This is my second top book of the year.
Well, friends, I have read a lot of good books! I’m surprised by the memoirs, but anywhere there’s a God story, I follow. I hope you have some new books to enjoy!
And I wish you an early Merry Christmas!