I read a lot…like a lot a lot.
We do read alouds for our homeschool every morning and some evenings.
I always have several books on my Kindle app or nightstand or side table, throughout the house, really.
I love exploring new concepts in history or self-help and reading fiction with my kids.
I try to intersperse fun and quick fiction reads. There are no fluffy, bad, or wrong books. There are just preferences.
I read lots of books. It tends to go in waves depending on what’s going on in my life, how busy we are, my moods and availability of library eBooks. I think I notice themes each year that help me grow and become a better person, wife, mom.
I don’t like quitting, but if I really loathe the book, the characters, and story, then I can’t find any reason to finish. Some books I read in a single evening. Others take a few days or even weeks.
My Favorite Books I Read in 2022
The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture by Gabor Maté
A culmination of everything we need to address and change in our society.
In this revolutionary book, renowned physician Gabor Maté eloquently dissects how in Western countries that pride themselves on their healthcare systems, chronic illness and general ill health are on the rise. Nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug; more than half take two. In Canada, every fifth person has high blood pressure. In Europe, hypertension is diagnosed in more than 30 percent of the population. And everywhere, adolescent mental illness is on the rise. So what is really “normal” when it comes to health?
Over four decades of clinical experience, Maté has come to recognize the prevailing understanding of “normal” as false, neglecting the roles that trauma and stress, and the pressures of modern-day living, exert on our bodies and our minds at the expense of good health. For all our expertise and technological sophistication, Western medicine often fails to treat the whole person, ignoring how today’s culture stresses the body, burdens the immune system, and undermines emotional balance. Now Maté brings his perspective to the great untangling of common myths about what makes us sick, connects the dots between the maladies of individuals and the declining soundness of society—and offers a compassionate guide for health and healing. Cowritten with his son Daniel, The Myth Of Normal is Maté’s most ambitious and urgent book yet.
Vita Nostra: A Novel by Marina & Sergey Dyachenko
This book is so unique and I cannot stop thinking about it. I preordered the sequel and read their other novel translated into English.
Our life is brief . . .
Sasha Samokhina has been accepted to the Institute of Special Technologies.
Or, more precisely, she’s been chosen.
Situated in a tiny village, she finds the students are bizarre, and the curriculum even more so. The books are impossible to read, the lessons obscure to the point of maddening, and the work refuses memorization. Using terror and coercion to keep the students in line, the school does not punish them for their transgressions and failures; instead, it is their families that pay a terrible price. Yet despite her fear, Sasha undergoes changes that defy the dictates of matter and time; experiences which are nothing she has ever dreamed of . . . and suddenly all she could ever want.
The School for Good Mothers: A Novel by Jessamine Chan
This book is not pleasant. It sure made me think and fear and wonder. What could our society turn out to be like if we stop trusting mothers, anyone? Do we really need a carceral state at all?
Frida Liu is struggling. She doesn’t have a career worthy of her Chinese immigrant parents’ sacrifices. She can’t persuade her husband, Gust, to give up his wellness-obsessed younger mistress. Only with Harriet, their cherubic daughter, does Frida finally attain the perfection expected of her. Harriet may be all she has, but she is just enough.
Until Frida has a very bad day.
The state has its eye on mothers like Frida. The ones who check their phones, letting their children get injured on the playground; who let their children walk home alone. Because of one moment of poor judgement, a host of government officials will now determine if Frida is a candidate for a Big Brother-like institution that measures the success or failure of a mother’s devotion.
Faced with the possibility of losing Harriet, Frida must prove that a bad mother can be redeemed. That she can learn to be good.
Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May
A lovely reminder to rest. It’s not a reward; we need to practice more rest. A snuggly reminder any time of year.
Sometimes you slip through the cracks: unforeseen circumstances like an abrupt illness, the death of a loved one, a break up, or a job loss can derail a life. These periods of dislocation can be lonely and unexpected. For May, her husband fell ill, her son stopped attending school, and her own medical issues led her to leave a demanding job. Wintering explores how she not only endured this painful time, but embraced the singular opportunities it offered.
Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole by Susan Cain
A great example of why positivity is toxic. Just let me be melancholy and feels all the feels. If we are content, we are not changing.
Bittersweetness is a tendency to states of longing, poignancy, and sorrow; an acute awareness of passing time; and a curiously piercing joy at the beauty of the world. It recognizes that light and dark, birth and death—bitter and sweet—are forever paired.
If you’ve ever wondered why you like sad music . . .
If you find comfort or inspiration in a rainy day . . .
If you react intensely to music, art, nature, and beauty . . .
Then you probably identify with the bittersweet state of mind.
The Maid: A Novel by Nita Prose
I’m not normally a fan of mysteries. This one surprised me and I can’t wait to see the film. I was shocked by the ending since I really didn’t expect that.
Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.
Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.
But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?
The Sparrow: A Novel by Mary Doria Russell
I also read the sequel. It made me think about what makes us human. It made me question history, capitalism, caste and class. So much philosophy and religion examined.
A visionary work that combines speculative fiction with deep philosophical inquiry, The Sparrow tells the story of a charismatic Jesuit priest and linguist, Emilio Sandoz, who leads a scientific mission entrusted with a profound task: to make first contact with intelligent extraterrestrial life. The mission begins in faith, hope, and beauty, but a series of small misunderstandings brings it to a catastrophic end.
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