2022 was not my best reading year. Although I did read plenty of books (more than are recorded in Goodreads; I don’t list everything I read there), I ended up with a high percentage of rereads and not as much good reading as I would have liked. That is entirely due to a lack of planning on my part. Aside from books I read for my book club, almost everything was spontaneous and what I feel like reading at the time, rather than intentional choices.
Here are my stats for 2022:
I read 100 fiction and 20 nonfiction books for a total of 120 books. Of those, only three were audio books, seven were children’s fiction, and 59 were rereads! Most of the rereads were from detective fiction series by Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh.
My favorite books of the year were (in order that I read them):
Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis – This was a reread. I picked it up after seeing The Reluctant Convert movie at the end of 2021 and thoroughly enjoyed reading Lewis’s thoughts on how God drew him to salvation over many years. I also ended up with a large “to-read” list of books that Lewis enjoyed.
Be Thou My Vision by Jonathan Gibson – This devotional guide is superb. Gibson has pulled together prayers, catechisms, and other devotional helps to create a 31-day guide with a structure to build your quiet time upon. I borrowed this from my e-library but intend to buy the print book sometime in 2023 to have on hand for when my prayer and Bible reading time seem a bit lackluster.
Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams by Susan Branch – In looking for comparative titles for the book I’m writing, a friend suggested I try Susan Branch. I loved this book about how she fled to Martha’s Vineyard for several weeks to regroup during a difficult time in her life and found a wonderful new life waiting for her on this tiny New England island. Beautiful illustrations and an uplifting story.
Be Still My Soul by Elisabeth Elliot – Reading Elisabeth Elliot is always an encouraging AND convicting process. I am still pondering some of the teaching in this book of essays that I had not read before.
All the Colors We Will See by Patrice Gopo – I read this for my book club and had the privilege of hearing Patrice Gopo speak to our group and answering our questions. The book of essays left me pondering the influences on her life as well as my own. Highly recommend.
Emmanuel by Ruth Chou Simons – Another great book club read, this Christmas devotional kept me focused on Christ throughout December. I will certainly reread this during Advent in future years. Plus her artwork is just gorgeous.
Passing by Nella Larsen – This slim novella is the story of two African-American women in the 1920’s, one of whom lives in an African-American community and one of whom “passes” for white. The ending is unforgettable and it has spurred me on to pick up more books about “passing” and what it meant to those who did it. I also read The Personal Librarian, which has a similar theme.
Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callihan – A thoroughly enjoyable book about C.S. Lewis, the Narnia books, and a young woman finding her place in the world.
The Maid by Nita Prose – A debut mystery novel about a neuro-divergent woman who gets caught up in a murder mystery. Disturbing and intriguing.
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien – A reread. Very few fantasy books can compare with Tolkien’s masterpiece. I plan to reread The Two Towers and Return of the King soon.
The Lost Book of the Grail by Charlie Lovett – This book pulled together many of my interests—the Grail legend and King Arthur, old books, liturgy, mysteries, and faith. I loved every second of it.
All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny – Finally I picked up Louise Penny’s series again. I had tried to read this in 2020, when it first came out, but could not get into it. I was still reading mostly comfort reads at that point and so put it aside for a time. Then she published a new book in 2021 and another one this fall, prompting me to finally pick this one back up in order to not fall any further behind. Things went much better this time around. I couldn’t put it down and read feverishly every minute I could spare. Paris, books, and Gamache–you can’t do much better than this.
My reading goals for 2023 are simpler than in past years. I want to keep up with my book club books, read more nonfiction (a perennial goal), finish War and Peace and the remaining books in Trollope’s Barchester Chronicles, read at least three books of poetry, and read six biographies and six works of theology. If I manage that, no matter how many books I read, I will have read better than in 2022.
How did you feel about your reading in 2022? What are your reading goals for 2023? Do you have any suggestions of great biographies for me to try this year?