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One of the best things I did this year was to get myself a library card and the Libby app. This has significantly increased my ability to read (and not to continue to spend money on books to add to the unread pile on the shelf next to my bed…) I credit these two things with reading 18 books–almost double the 10 book goal I set for myself at the beginning of the year. As you’ll see, I don’t do much light reading. I also typically steer away from fiction, but that changed this year and I’ve enjoyed adding fiction books to my typical biography favorites.
I Take My Coffee Black – Tyler Merritt
I found this book because of two things. First, Tyler is dating Jen Hatmaker, whom I adore. Second, I saw a couple of videos he did in response to social issues and found them extremely compelling.
This book was a really remarkable combination of funny life stories, historical information, honest discussion of racism in the US, and hilarious one liners. I cannot recommend it enough. It is one of the best memoirs I’ve read.
Although I read this hard copy, Tyler’s voice is amazing, and I trust this would be a fantastic audiobook option.
Carrie Soto Is Back – Taylor Jenkins Reid
This book is what got me started down what you’ll see is a Taylor Jenkins Reid rabbit hole. I really enjoyed this book. I found myself unable to stop thinking about Carrie and the upcoming tennis match she had on the way. I could picture everything like I was right there on the courts at Wimbledon. I really love TJR’s writing and highly recommend it.
Malibu Rising – Taylor Jenkins Reid
Since I loved Carrie Soto so much, my sweet librarian got me every TJR book she had. This was the second one I read…I loved it too. It’s an amazing story with great family dynamics. The way that TJR can describe a scene and a person is just unreal. Highly recommend. I’d guess that a lot of people might like this book better than Carrie Soto–it’s close for me, but I’ll go with Carrie is my favorite TJR read thus far.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid
Listen. I fancy myself a pretty intuitive person. It’s rare for me to really be shocked. Hear me when I tell you that the twist in this book literally had my mouth wide open. My jaw was on the floor. I had to step away for a couple of hours just to process. I didn’t see it coming at all. AT ALL. I recommend if for no other reason than I’d like you to message me after you read so we can discuss.
One True Loves – Taylor Jenkins Reid
I told you I went all in with TJR the last two months. This was another great fiction read. It felt a little bit Hallmark movie-ish to me, but not in a bad way. I found myself really torn in the middle of the story, which was interesting to analyze through.
The Kitchen House – Kathleen Grissom
Y’all. I don’t know if I recommend this book or not. It is a fantastic story that I could not stop listening to, but hear me when I say it’s heavy. You probably need to be in the right headspace before you read. I listened to this one on audible (excellent performance by the two readers) on a work trip. I still think about the characters and the stories. It is amazingly well-written. Without giving too much away, suffice it to say, there aren’t many happily ever after endings in books about slaves in the South. Parts of this book continue to kind of haunt me. Maybe that’s how you know it’s good? So…do what you will with that.
I adore Carlos Whitaker on Instagram. He’s just the kind of person the world needs more of. This book was a really honest look into some of the struggles in his life and how he fought his way out of some difficult situations. I read this on Kindle, but his voice is so good that I am sure it would be a great audio book option.
All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
This was my first book of the year, and my longest book for sure. But it’s another really great story with writing that is unbelievable. It took me a hot minute to get into it–just know that it’s going to be written from two different perspectives and it goes back in time and then to the present day…it was just all hard for me to get my head around. But once I did, man I loved it so much. Again…turns out that WWII books don’t leave you with a fuzzy feeling, so just keep that in mind.
Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Conner and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court & Changed the World – Linda Hirshman
I will recommend this to legal nerds only. Lots of legal discussion, talk about specific opinions, etc. But man, it was really interesting insight into the first female US Supreme Court Justices, their lives, their approach to the law, and the relationship between them.
How Did I Get Here – Christine Caine
There are few people who I think can preach as powerfully as Christine Caine. This book is a big ol’ sermon from her and it was really powerful. I listened on audio–she narrates–and if you’re a Chris Caine fan, you’ll absolutely love it.
Good Enough – Kate Bowler & Jessica Richie
I highly recommend this devotional, which I read for Lent this year. I adore Kate Bowler. I think she has so much wonderful insight on life and death and kindness and the world. This book contains 40 quick, easy-to-read, yet powerful devotionals.
Tunde is one of my favorite Peloton instructors. This book is her life story, and I loved it. I have so much respect for her and enjoyed hearing about what all she has been through to become the powerful woman she is today. She reads the audio version and it is great.
Not Tonight Josephine: A Road Trip Through Small Town America – George Mahood
Two British men come to America, buy a crappy van for a couple hundred bucks, and set out on a road trip. What’s not to love? This was an easy read but also had me chuckling out loud several times.
I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet – Shauna Niequist
I love anything Shauna Niequist does. This book is no exception. Her style is short essays about her life and they’re just always fantastic. Highly recommend.
All The Forgiveness – Elizabeth Hardinger
Another heavy read (why do I do this to myself?) but great story. Again, the family dynamics that the author is able to describe on the pages just amazes me.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me – Mindy Kaling
Okay, here’s the book that’s the anecdote to all the depressing ones I’ve shared. Everyone loves Mindy. This book is cute and hilarious and easy to read. If you’re looking for a good beach read option, here it is.
Fatty Fatty Boom Boom – Rabia Chaudry
I learned about Rabia, as most people probably have, because of her involvement with the Adnan Sayed case. This book wasn’t about that, but the story of her life. It was fascinating. I’ve not read a biography by a Pakistani author before, so hearing about her family and food and traditions was really fun. Rabia reads the audio version, which I really enjoyed.
The Sun Does Shine – Anthony Ray Hinton
Ready for another not-so-light topic? Innocent men on death row. It’s an issue that this whole country should be up in arms over. I am grateful for Ray for sharing his horrific story. I highly, highly recommend. It’s honest and frustrating and inspiring all at once.
Okay now…your turn. What were your favorite reads this year? What must I read in 2023?