2022 was the year my love for reading resurfaced full force. I’ve always had a love for reading, but it’s easy to get lost in adulthood and not make time for things you once enjoyed. Even the best books can fall through the cracks when you’re out of the habit.
Last year, I started using Goodreads again to track my reading goals. There were a lot of book releases I was excited about, which helped keep the reading momentum going. Now, we’re halfway through 2023 and it’s showing no signs of slowing down again.
Here are the best books I read in 2022.
1. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
This is one of those books that stays with you long after you read it. The content is controversial and there are plenty of Karens out there who have a real problem with it. I think that, while uncomfortable at times, it’s an important reminder that not everyone is born into an easy or traditional life. Some of us are dealt pretty shitty cards right from the start and try to make the best of it. Or not, in some cases.
The book follows 8 year old Wavy, daughter of a Midwest drug dealer and dysfunctional mother throughout the course of her life. Wavy is a smart, quiet girl and often the most responsible in the household, left to care for her younger brother.
One day, she befriends an ex-con involved in a motorcycle accident on her property. This moment transforms the course of her difficult life.
Part coming of age, part love story – this book was unlike anything else I’ve read. It’s sad, heartwarming, uncomfortable, and powerful. It’s still one of my favorite books to date.
2. Beyond the Wand by Tom Felton
When I heard Tom Felton was writing a book, I pre-ordered it immediately. Growing up, the Harry Potter world was huge for me (and still is). My best friend had the biggest crush on Tom (Draco Malfoy) and we’ve kept an eye on him over the years.
From videos strumming on his guitar, his continued engagement with the Harry Potter community, and his lighthearted attitude, he’s always seemed like such a cool guy.
In the book, he covers his life, including bits before and after Potter. The book reads in Tom’s voice rather than sounding like someone trying too hard to be autobiographical, which I loved. I could hear him in my head throughout. (I’d recommend giving the audiobook a listen as well, I loved hearing him tell his story and reading in a variety of voices)
Tom talks about his upbringing, early career, landing the role of Draco, life on set, friendships, struggles with alcohol, and his life and career after the series ended. He has a refreshing self-awareness and humor throughout, and I learned a lot of new things about him.
P.S. If you’re a fellow Dramione shipper – that FOREWARD was everything.
3. An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon
Each year I read a book from the Outlander series after the recent season of the show debuts. Prior to season 7, I started reading an Echo in the Bone (not knowing they’d be blending books in the show). I’ll admit, some of these books take awhile to get going. I’m looking at you, The Fiery Cross. This one, however held my interest throughout, although the pace definitely sped up near the end.
I enjoyed all the extra bits we received about time travel and hints at some abilities in the Mackenzie children and Jamie. There were several big moments throughout the book that I’m sure affect the outcome of the story to come.
I particularly enjoyed this one due to the variety of loved characters featured throughout, the fast paced ending, and surprises towards the end. William’s narrations aren’t always my favorite, but I like that we’re able to catch parts of the stories from new perspectives in these later books.
4. Waypoints: My Scottish Journey by Sam Heughan
I know, I’m surprised two autobiographical books made it on the list myself, but there were a lot from people I was excited about. I wanted to read this book for two reasons:
1 – I am a huge fan of Sam in Outlander
2 – I’d just completed hiking the West Highland Way five months before the book was released. In the book, Sam talks about life and his career while weaving it into his own journey walking the West Highland Way.
I loved both parts of the book in equal measure and felt he did a great job setting it up that way. Hearing about his early life in Scotland and his developing love for acting was fascinating to me. He also tied in later moments with the passing of his estranged father, a moving moment that you can tell had a great impact on him.
Reading this so fresh from my own adventure on the West Highland Way made everything he discussed about the trail vivid in my own mind. I was also pleased to hear that the very in shape Sam also had his own struggles mentally and physically on the trail .
Sam is humble, humorous, self-deprecating at times (in a good way), and a natural story teller.
5. Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover
While I haven’t fully jumped on the Colleen Hoover train, consuming everything she puts out like a lot of people have, this was one of my favorite reads this year.
The book follows Kenna after she is released from prison, hoping to reunite with her young daughter. This proves difficult as many of the people from her past want to keep her in the past, no matter what she does to change.
It’s a quick read about overcoming the past that is sure to take you on a mini feels trip.
Honorable Mention: Wild – From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
I read this book in the evenings while on my solo hike adventure in Scotland. While her experience was much different than mine, I found it relatable and it kept me going when I was wasn’t sure how I’d get through my own. Mostly when I was unbelievably sore in the evening.
I loved hearing about her life and all the moments that led her to take on the trail on her own.
Keep on Reading!
This year, my reading momentum hasn’t slowed down. I’ve read some great books and I know I’ll have some favorites to share with you.
What’s the best book you read last year? I’m always looking to grow my TBR list!