The Best Books I Read in January 2022

January has been a bizarre reading month, to say the least. I started off strong in terms of amount of time spent reading, but found none of the books were really hitting me in that 5-star spot. 

Then, I got COVID and spent several days moping about taking DayQuil, playing Skyrim, and not really reading much, at all. I am thankfully on the mend, although the cough is lingering (something that always tends to happen when I get a cough). 

In spite of not quite finding the perfect book mood for my dreary January, I do have a few pretty good reads I’d like to recap in the first best books of the month post of 2022! 

In total, I read 7 books in January. 5 in print, 1 eBook, and 1 audio. Let’s talk about the best of the best, shall we? 

(Full disclosure: Book links are affiliate links, which earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you. Book of the Month links are referral codes). 

The People We Keep by Allison Larkin

Format Read: Hardcover (Book of the Month edition)

Why I Read It: I’m working on getting through some of the Book of the Month backlog, and this one came highly recommended. 

I enjoyed The People We Keep well enough, but it didn’t quite land in that “OMG best book ever” range that I’ve defined as my 5-star rating feeling. April is a compelling and flawed protagonist who is doing the best she can to get by, but makes a ton of mistakes along the way. 

The book pulls you through, wanting to see what happens next and where April winds up. For me, though, some of the ways in which we’re supposed to be happy about the ending just didn’t fully land, but that’s for highly personal reasons, I think. My full review is up on the blog if you’re curious to hear more: “The People We Keep” Will Keep Hold of You
I didn’t expect to be so

The Witch’s Book of Self-Care

Format Read: Hardcover 

Why I Read It: 2022 goal to read at least one self-care/spiritual book a year. This was January’s pick.

I really liked The Witch’s Book of Self-Care! I’m still new to reviewing self-care books because they’re pretty personal and the reading experience is more like referencing activities a future self might do. A lot of great ideas and activities in this one, and I’m glad I picked it as my first self-care read of the year. My full review appeared in Your Book Friend, here: Self-Care Book Reviews: The Witch’s Book of Self-Care
One self-care book a month for me means one self-care book review for

We’ve Got to Stop Meeting Like This: A Memoir of Missed Connections

Format Read: Paperback (gifted copy from the author, as part of a book tour)

Why I Read It: For a book tour through Love Book Tours 

I am a sucker for a memoir that features yoga teacher training, and as a newish dog mom, I love a story that involves adopting some doggos. So, naturally, I was sold on We’ve Got to Stop Meeting Like This. 

This is a book that follows the author through a difficult time full of grief and change, where yoga is a tool in the backdrop more than the central focus. I appreciated the way the book lets us see that even the yogis of the world are still real human beings with actual lives, and how the author applied what she was learning in her yoga courses to what was happening in her day to day. It’s also fun that her daughter goes to college in Pittsburgh, where I live, so I got to enjoy a few familiar references. 

My full review appeared on Your Book Friend, here: “We’ve Got to Stop Meeting Like This” Explores the Yoga of Real Life
A memoir that reminds us people in yoga teacher training are human,

Getting Clean with Stevie Green by Swan Huntley 

Format Read: Print (review copy from Over the River PR)

Why I Read It: Received an email and ARC from the book’s publicity team and it sounded interesting, so I signed up for a book tour!

Getting Clean with Stevie Green (out February 1st, 2022) is so well written! The voice is compelling and smart and funny, and you root for the characters even when you don’t necessarily agree with their actions.

I’m so very glad I decided to read this book, as it was precisely the story for my reading mood. I wanted some fast paced fiction and I got it! 

My full review is coming on my book tour date of February 14th, so check back then! 

Honorable Mentions

The other books I read this month that just didn’t quite make the cut for best of the best, which is kind of a long list this month. Maybe it’s my mood or maybe it’s the books I picked, but a lot of them just didn’t quite work for me. 

That’s it for me this month! I enjoyed sticking to the TBR plan a bit more than usual and look forward to cracking through some more of my bookish backlog in February. The fiancé and I are taking a little wintery getaway and I can’t wait for that cozy cabin reading time!

What did you read this month, book friends?! 

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The Best Books I Read in 2021

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Um, I’m sorry, how can it be time for an annual reading recap for the year 2021 when we are clearly still in 2020? Just me?

Even if it feels like time has stood still, in fact I had a pretty solid reading year this year. I got back into book blogging and joined Bookstagram, which spurred me to read more than I did last year, and that had been one of my best since college.

How to narrow down the best books of the year? For me, it’s about which ones still spark something for me after I’ve closed the page, the books I will recommend and revisit as the years go by. And while I’ve read a ton of phenomenal books this year, only a few can hold the best of the best title. Let’s get down to business, shall we?

(Full disclosure: Book links are affiliate links for Mentions of Book of the Month are referral codes that earn you a discount and me a free book!)

A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

Cover Image Courtesy of Goodreads

Month Read: January

Format Read: Print (Book of the Month edition)

Why I Loved It: This book is a multi-generational saga for readers who don’t think they like multi-generational sagas. A Woman is No Man follows three generations of conservative Arab women living in America as they explore their identities and navigate American culture. This was Etaf Rum’s debut novel, and wow does it pack a punch!

This book is a rich, complex novel that explores what it means to be a woman and how to balance the different expectations across generations. I love a book that challenges and expands my understanding of beliefs and cultures that differ from my own, and this was definitely one of those reads for me. It was the first thing to pop in my mind when I thought about my best of 2021 list. You should 100% read this one.

While poking around on Goodreads to remind myself about the synopsis, I also saw that Etaf Rum’s second book, Evil Eye, has an anticipated publication date of July 2022, so that’s something to look forward to!

Bravey: Chasing Dreams, Befriending Pain, and Other Big Ideas by Alexi Pappas

Cover image courtesy of Goodreads

Month Read: February

Format Read: Audiobook

Why I Loved It: The top reason I love Bravey is that it brought me here. Back to blogging about books. Back to writing consistently. Back to pushing myself to do impossible things.

In this memoir-in-essays, Pappas explores her career as a runner and as a filmmaker, tackling the big questions of how to stay motivated, chase your dreams, and handle setbacks. Time will tell whether it just hit me at the right moment, but as a runner and creative myself, I found the stories shared in these pages “like, crazy inspirational” (that’s a Mindy Project quote, which feels apt since Kaling provided a blurb for this book).

After reading this book I decided to stop being afraid of writing. I began writing regularly on Medium, re-started my book blog, and started writing my own memoir. Now I kind of sound like a self-help infomercial for this book, and I’m sorry about that, but… maybe read it?

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizbeth Gilbert

Cover image courtesy of Goodreads

Month Read: March

Format Read: Audiobook

Why I Loved It: Eat, Pray, Love may be the only book that I, a nonfiction writer, have ever lied about reading.

But, after the aforementioned book set me off on reclaiming my writing life, I encountered Big Magic atop many a writer’s list of best books about writing. So, I snagged it on audio and drove around town in a sometimes-slightly-annoyed awe at Gilbert’s tenacity. Her philosophy around how ideas work is a bit mystical, but then, so am I, so it kind of… worked?

I plan to revisit this one in print format in the coming year so I can underline some key quotes and tape them up around the house, or something.

There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura, Translated by Polly Barton

Cover image courtesy of Goodreads

Month Read: May

Format Read: Paperback

Why I Loved It: There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job is a book about which I can truly say I’ve never read anything like it. Not that I didn’t try, after loving it so much.

This weird, quirky, kind of maybe slightly magical book follows the narrator as she takes on a series of odd jobs after suffering from burnout in her former career. She strives to be the best whatever it is she’s being, in ways that are bizarre and hilarious and endearing all at once. I’ve never really read a book that focuses on someone’s work life so exclusively, or with a narrative voice quite as idiosyncratic as this one.

My full review lives over at the wonderful Coffee Time Reviews if you’d like to hear more about why this book makes my top picks of the year.‘There’s No Such Thing As An Easy Job’ Explores How Work Defines Our Lives
I never imagined reading about odd jobs would be so

How Not to Fall In Love by Jacqueline Firkins

Cover image courtesy of Goodreads

Month Read: May (ARC, Expected Publication December 21st, 2021)

Format Read: Digital Galley (via NetGalley)

Why I Loved It: You know how some books fall so solidly into your wheelhouse that you kind of worry the author somehow infiltrated your brain? How to Fall In Love was one of those books for me. This books blends the friends-to-lovers tropes with a teenage love triangle and sprinkles in some Funko Pops and a little bit of LARPing (that’s live action role playing, as in, kind of like a Renaissance Faire but moreso). It is 100% my kryptonite and I cannot wait for this book to come out so other readers can share my joy.

I’ve got a full review of this one over at Coffee Time Reviews, as well if you’d like to hear more. It’s out December 21st of this year, so you still have time to read it in 2021 and make it the best book of your year, too!Falling in Love With ‘How Not To Fall In Love’
I stayed up past my bedtime to keep

Cultish by Amanda Montell

Cover image courtesy of Goodreads

Month Read: October

Format Read: Audiobook

Why I Loved It: This book is pretty much everything I look for in an audiobook. It’s investigative nonfiction with a dash of narrative, telling us the story behind why the author became invested in this particular topic and what it was like learning more about it.

Cultish is Montell’s linguistic exploration of how words build our world and can be used to change how we view it. This kind of thing feels especially relevant in these us vs. them political times when it does kind of feel like real-life “brainwashing” has occurred. I put that term in quotes because Montell objects to it as a concept in the book. Which you can learn when — not if — you read it because this book is just that good. I’d throw it down everyone’s chimney for the holidays if I could (but I think that’s probably a criminal offense of some kind?)

Here’s my full review if you’d like to hear more about why I loved it:“Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism” Sheds Light on How & Why We Hold Our Beliefs
This exploration of language and cult-mentality is relevant to our

That’s my top six picks for the year 2021! This really was a great reading year, and I enjoyed so many of the books I read, not to mention getting back to sharing those books with the interwebs through my revived book blog.

I’m really looking forward to another year in reading, including my annual tradition of downloading the Read Harder challenge list and making my way through no more than half of the items.

First, though, I’ve got to ask — how was your year in reading? What were your favorite reads?

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