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I Read 100 Books in 2022 - These Were the Best Ones

2022 was the most difficult year of my life. We found out my dad was sick at the end of 2021, and the first few months of 2022 were filled with appointments, treatments, anxiety, taking care of my dad, and lots of reading.

I lost my dad in April, and the rest of the year passed in a blur of deep grief and exhaustion. One of the only things that helped me get through 2022 (besides the amazing people in my life) was reading. Getting up and going through my day often felt draining and impossible, and sometimes, the only thing that got me through was knowing I could lay on the couch with a book at the end of the day. As if I needed a reason to love books even more, they comforted my broken heart through my darkest times.

Although I usually don't like to share my personal life, I feel that it's important in the context of this post. I've always believed that books will hit differently based on your season of life. I know I would not have reacted the way I did to some of these stories had I not lost my dad this year. And because my own life felt difficult and confusing, I continuously reached for books that were simple and easy. I read a ridiculous amount of romance books this year, ones where I knew no one would die in the end and everyone would end up together and happy. I say this without judgment --- this is why all genres are important, because each one gives readers something they need in the moment, and I am grateful for the endless supply of comforting reads that filled 2022.

So, here are the 10 books that stuck with me in the sea of 100.


The first is a bit of an odd ball. I am including this anthology of poems for a few reasons. One, the cover is stunning, and it's a pocket book that you can carry around for comfort. Two, I bought it in Paris, at the most beautiful bookstore Shakespeare and Company. I took a trip in the fall to visit one of my best friends who lives in Frankfurt, and we traveled to Paris and Amsterdam. That trip felt like the beginning of me feeling like myself again. I felt alive for the first time in months, and this book will always be a special reminder of that wonderful adventure.

If you're a book lover, or even want to purchase a gift for a book lover, I highly recommend this little beauty filled with the tender words of those who have adored books over the centuries as much as I have.


My best friend gifted me this book a few days after my dad passed. I'm a big 'morning chapter with my coffee' gal, and this book was perfect for the quiet mornings I had before I began work each day. The author, Jan Warner, lost her husband and her grief spills through the pages of this book, but it helped me sit with my own grief. She divides the book into chapters and phases, each with different quotes and practices that might give someone a little more structure to the awful blob that is the passing of a loved one.

Whether or not someone is a consistent reader, I think it's a great resource for someone struggling with grief, no matter how much time has passed.


This might be controversial for some. If you aren't a regular reader of romance books, Emily Henry is a queen of the romcom genre. I've read all of her books, and thoroughly enjoyed each one, but the one that stuck with me was undoubtedly People We Meet on Vacation.

The story follows two best friends from college in two different timelines --- one from the past and one from the present. Alex and Poppy kept up their precious friendship over the years by meeting up for a vacation at least once a year. But something happened that caused them to drift away, and each chapter brings the reader closer to finding out what went wrong.

I feel like this book needs the context of when I read it. It was about a month after my dad passed, and I was on my annual beach trip with some of my best friends, which I look forward to every year. I had purchased the book from a used bookstore the year before, but wanted to wait to read it on a vacation, of course. You'll see that the theme of friendship was a big factor when choosing my favorite books of this year. I wouldn't have gotten through 2022 without my friends, and maybe that affected the way I now look at fictional friendships.

There's something about the friends to lovers trope that hits right with me. It feels more realistic to me when two people get to know each other without immediate chemistry and romance. Many relationships in romance books feel weird, forced, or overly sexual. The connection between Alex and Poppy feels so warm and familiar, and the love that blossoms between them feels natural.

This book enveloped me in its fictional world, and made me forget about my broken heart for just a little bit, all while on a warm beach with my closest friends. If possible, I highly recommend the same setting if you plan to read this book.


My love for this memoir shocked me. Even after I sat and thought about what books stood out for me this year, it still surprised me that A Very Punchable Face was one of them, but I can't deny its greatness.

Colin Jost, one of the host's of SNL's Weekend Update, isn't necessarily someone I was super familiar with before reading his memoir. I haven't watched SNL in years and the times I have watched Weekend Update, I wasn't crazy about his humor or demeanor. However, I've enjoyed memoirs quite a bit over the last few years and I believe one of my friends, Alison, raved about this one and I wanted something that could make me laugh.

This now one of my favorite memoirs of all time. I listened to the audiobook version, which I definitely recommend, and was shocked at how engrossing Colin's stories were. He talks about his upbringing on Staten Island, going to a fancy private school, getting into Harvard, and finding his way to SNL. All of those facts might deter you from picking this up (it certainly made me wonder how I could relate to a guy like this), but please reconsider. I laughed out loud so many times, I even cried a few times. The story of his mother as the Chief Medical Officer of the NYFD during 9/11 really moved me (that's where the tears came in). His ridiculous antics kept me entertained and engaged the entire book, and I don't know if I've ever enjoyed a memoir quite as much.

If you're in a slump, or need a companion on your daily drives or walks, I highly recommend Colin's memoir.


Autumn is my favorite time of year for so many reasons. The weather, the smells, that inexplicable cozy feeling, candles, big blankets, oversized mugs with tea, and needing no excuse to curl up with a good book. Books hit different in the fall, it's just a fact. And if it's in the dark academia category, it's even better. One of my favorite reads from a few years ago was The Secret History by Donna Tartt (another favorite of mine), and this book was recommended by countless bookstagrammers for the perfect autumn read that's similar to The Secret History, and I picked it up this past October.

If We Were Villains opens with a man who was in prison for ten years for murder, although it's clear from the beginning that his imprisonment might have been unjustified. The story goes back and forth between present-day Oliver, who is recently released, and his group of college friends from a decade ago. This Shakespeare-obsessed clan has secrets that spill through the pages at unexpected times, each member hiding their own motivations or desires.

What a majestic, beautifully written, unsettling book. There were moments I was at the edge of my seat, anxiously reading and wondering if that chapter would hold the details to the murder, to who did it, and why. The thrill of 'whodunit' isn't necessarily driving the story --- it's more about the personality of each character, the anxiety I felt as I watched the events unfold. The moral quandaries felt remarkably relatable and believable, which I find is difficult in a book about murder.

Try to snag this book in that precious autumn window, preferably during a chilly and rainy night, and prepare for an intoxicating ride.


I've already written about this book in my Top Books of Every Genre post I wrote a few years ago, but it must be resurfaced.

I reread this book every few years, but this year felt different. It follows Macy, a 17-year-old girl who recently lost her father and is struggling to process her grief and move on with her life. She meets a rambunctious catering crew, filled with the most wonderful and memorable characters, who help her realize that it is okay to be sad and it is okay to let go of control sometimes.

Can you tell why this story might have hit different during this reread? I read it days after my dad passed. It was during those few precious days I had off work to grieve with my mom and my sister. It was a surprisingly beautiful time. We cremated my dad and got to take him home, we had friends and family come to give their support, having flowers and food sent to us. But mostly, it was just the three of us. We watched old home movies, looked through countless pictures, cried together, and spent time alone. Honestly, it's a time I will always remember fondly. Life didn't feel real. We took a break from reality, and it didn't really set in yet that my dad was truly gone.

I knew I wanted to revisit The Truth About Forever during that week, my most precious and dear comfort read. And reading the book in that moment, feeling real empathy for the girl who also lost her father, was a different experience. I began to realize that I will always gravitate towards characters who lost a father. Losing a loved one can feel strangely isolating, even when you're close with the people who also lost them. But their relationship with that person will never be yours, and you will never find another like it. Macy's relationship with her dad reminded me so much of mine. They had a precious bond, and I felt incredible comfort knowing that my pain was similar to her pain.

Regardless of age or grief or stage of life, this book will always be relevant. It is a book I will never stop recommending, and I will never stop rereading.


This was probably the most over-hyped book on bookstagram this year. Everyone seemed to have read it on the bookish side of the internet, and I was skeptical but intrigued because it was a storyline I had never heard before.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow follows two childhood friends, Sam and Sadie, as they work their way through life and eventually begin working on video games together. That is the basic premise, but holy shit is this book so ridiculously engaging and intricate. A theme of my favorite books of this year was friendship. I truly believe fiction lacks strong and nontoxic friendships, so when I find instances where it's done well, I fall in love.

Sam and Sadie are unique characters that aren't the most likable but are flawed in a way that's realistic and captivating. They continuously struggle throughout the book with communication, which isn't uncommon in the real world. People in their lives often question why they're not romantically involved, and both explain that their friendship doesn't have to be sexual in order to be significant. It is such a refreshing take on male and female friendship. I also really enjoyed the video game creation storyline. I'm not super into video games but the way Gabrielle Zevin builds the world, both in their reality and in their video games, is utterly fascinating and absorbing.

Although this isn't a small book, it captures the reader's attention and holds it firmly throughout the entire story. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves fiction, but especially if you enjoy playing video games. What a strange marriage of the two vices, but what a feat of literature.


This is a book that I know wouldn't have hit me so hard had I not lost my dad. I don't think it would've been a favorite of the year --- I don't know if I would've even picked it up. My sister sent me a list of books that were recommended for dealing with grief, and this happened to be on it.

Lost & Found is Kathryn Schulz's account of losing her father and finding her soulmate. The similarities between her situation and mine felt uncanny. Her father was a Jewish and Polish immigrant, who was loud and charismatic and was constantly forgetting where he put things. She has an older sister and grounded mother, the four of them being a tight knit group that, though not perfect, was loving and precious. If all these parallels weren't enough, the way her father passed was so eerily similar to mine that it was almost difficult to read. I cried very, very hard reading this book.

But it might be one of the few books I will ever read that wholly understands my pain. Schulz was able to voice her grief in a way that I still can't do. I was shocked at how similarly we reacted to losing our dads --- with exhaustion and a painful quiet. Her words are haunting, beautiful, powerful, brilliant. Her grappling of death and what it means to those still living, was miraculous to read. Her realization of how precious life is, how fleeting, helped me process my own grief. I wish I could say we had even more in common --- I desperately wish I could've met my partner before my dad passed, that he could've met the person I would spend my life with, the way Schulz's dad did. Those were perhaps some of the more painful parts to read. I felt jealous and crushed, the way I do every time I realize my dad will never know the person I marry, and that person will never experience the wonder that was my incredible father. He is such an integral part of who I am, let alone where I get my name from, that it haunts me knowing my future partner will never understand that precious piece of me.

But to see Schulz find happiness and love after such intense sadness and loss gives me hope. And if I ever feel alone in my grief, I know I can turn to her to feel a little more understood.


Every few years, I come across a book I consider a masterpiece. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does, it becomes embedded in my soul. Project Hail Mary is one of the best books I've ever read, period.

The story follows Ryland Grace, who realizes after waking up from a medically induced coma, that he is the sole survivor of a space mission to save Earth from destruction. He is millions of miles from home, and feels the crushing weight of being alone in the galaxy he is hurtling through --- until he learns he might not be as alone as he thought.

I am floored by Andy Weir. How can a guy know so much about science, math, and physics yet also be able to write the most perfect science fiction novel to ever exist? His writing is so rare for the genre --- it is sarcastic, engaging, has emotional depth, and had moments I laughed and cried. I felt so connected to the two main characters. The plot was so clever yet reasonable (as reasonable as a journey in outer space can be). The ending was perfect, perfect. I cried so many beautiful tears. The friendship in this book is one of my favorites of all time. This story encompasses what it means to have empathy, to sacrifice, to love, and to care deeply and wholly.

Project Hail Mary reminded me why I love fiction so much. A great fiction book can feel more real than nonfiction. It can engross you in its world, yet make you feel more connected to reality and those around you. I truly believe anyone would love this book, no matter what genres usually capture your attention or what season of life you're in ---- it's a modern masterpiece for everyone.


If you happened to read my January 2022 Wrap-Up post, you'll be familiar with this book. It hit me in a way few books ever have in my life, which for a voracious reader like me, is a big deal.

The Anthropocene Reviewed is actually a book of essays that was originally a podcast by Green. I'll link the podcast here but I never actually listened to it and I'm glad I didn't. I prefer reading people's personal words on a page, hearing their voice in my own head. I think it makes me feel more connected to them.

Green began this podcast and subsequently published this book during the pandemic, reviewing quirky and obscure topics like the QWERTY keyboard and sunsets and Canada geese and the city of Indianapolis, rating them on a scale of one to five. He talks about making a garden in the pandemic, wondering if we'll be able to save the earth from our own demise, and the typical existential humanitarian crises. Each essay is only a few pages long, and Green's writing is just as I remember it ---- beautiful, poetic, direct, accessible, and soulful. I laughed out loud many times. I cried many times. His essays didn't give me an escape, they pulled me back into reality ---- reality of the world, of humanity, but especially, of my own personal life.

There's one essay in particular I want to highlight. It's titled "Auld Lang Syne," the famous song that people sing on New Years Eve. If you Google it, you'll know it. Green chronicles a precious friendship with his mentor Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Amy had a particular fascination with Auld Lang Syne because it was sung by soldiers in the trenches of World War I one Christmas Eve. The soldiers ---- whether English, Scottish, Prussian or German --- put down their weapons for one night and gathered to play soccer, exchange souvenirs, and sing this song. They began to sing this tune but instead with the words, "We're here because we're here because we're here because we're here."

Amy died of cancer in 2017, and Green reflects on why that song and story meant so much to her. He writes, "Although it's a profoundly nihilistic song written about the modernist hell of repetition, singing this song with Amy, I could always see the hope in it. It became a statement that we are here --- meaning that we are together, and not alone. And it's also a statement that we are, that we exist. And it's a statement that we are here, that a series of astonishing unlikelihoods has made us possible and here possible. We might never know why we are here, but we can still proclaim in hope that we are here. I don't think such hope is foolish or idealistic or misguided. We live in hope --- that life will get better, and more importantly, that it will go on, that love will survive even though we will not. And between now and then, we are here because we're here because we're here because we're here."

Those words crawled into my soul. They have been burned into me. Even writing them out now evokes a depth of response I haven't felt from a book in a very long time. These words hold my heavy grief in gentle hands, they tell me it's okay to feel sad and scared and yet, still hopeful.

My dad is gone but the love I have for him lives on. It grounds me, pulls me into the present moment, which feels fleeting but precious. Sometimes, I get lost in the pain, but books like The Anthropocene Reviewed remind me that life will get better, that it will go on, that love will survive even though we will not.


This post turned out to be more emotionally raw and vulnerable than I anticipated, but I hope it inspires some 2023 reading. I also hope it made those who might be struggling with grief feel a little less alone. I'm always just an email away, happy to talk books or life or death ----

Happy reading, y'all.


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