In 2022, I read 76 books! Weirdly, I read 76 books in 2021 as well!

I had set a reading goal of six books per month. Although I missed that goal four times, I averaged slightly higher over the course of the year. Therefore, I am going to keep the same goal for 2023.

In a new tradition (started just last year), I am now going to share my top ten favorites with you. I am arbitrarily omitting books from a series and re-reads from this list. I’ll link each book to its review from earlier in the year, so click on the titles if you’d like to learn more.

And now, in no particular order, my top ten books:

My first four choices are Georgetown book club selections.

The Violin Conspiracy

Cover of the Violin Conspiracy, red background with violin imagery

Absorbing story, a great main character to root for, topical content, and the opportunity to learn about the world of competitive classical music–there is a lot to recommend Brendan Slocumb’s first novel. I am excited to see what he writes about next,


Book Cover for Honor, red with yellow lettering above and below two mangoes on twigs with green leaves

Heartbreaking in a lot of ways, but again this book comes with the opportunity to learn about different cultures and real-world issues via an absorbing work of fiction.

High Conflict

I find myself still thinking about this book, which is an important read for the polarizing times in which we find ourselves.

Long Petal of the Sea

Cover of A Long Petal of the Sea, in shades of blue that suggest waves

This was such a beautiful book. In contrast to the first two novels on this list, which covered one important event in the lives of the characters, this spans decades and covers entire lives. Not only did i enjoy it, I learned some history also, which is always a good thing.

The next two selections I owe to my in-person book club, which meets next door and which I have attended monthly since 2011!

Just Mercy

Book Cover reading Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

This goes on the list of books EVERYONE should read. If you don’t have some feelings about criminal justice in this country after you read this, I would be worried about you.

Change of Possession

Book cover for Change of Possession by JT Dwyer. Shades of blue and gray; title in white over a silhouette of a football player.

A brilliant and hard to categorize first novel, with two sequels on the way, this book will stick with you if you stick with it. I find it to be profoundly Catholic and found it fascinating how much our non-Catholic members liked it.

These next two were books I read on my own.

Our Lady of Hot Messes

Book cover for Our Lady of Hot Messes by Leticia Ochoa Adams. Colorful picture of the blessed virgin with the title in yellow over the lower part of her.

This is a raw and real spiritual story written in a confessional and conversational style. The author imparts the life lessons that she has learned the hard way.

The Murder of Mr. Wickham

I have to use my favorite adjective for this one: It was delightful, and if you like Jane Austen’s novels you MUST read it and tell me what you think.

This one was from an online book club led by Indigenous women from Red Root Collective.

Braiding Sweetgrass

Book cover for Braiding Sweetgrass, off white and with a braid of sweetgrass below the title

This is another book that is on my “everyone should read this” list. It’s a simply amazing collection of story, indigenous wisdom, and botany. There is nothing else like it!

And finally, my very favorite read of the year, which actually is a re-read (I broke my own rule! But I read it only once, 34 years ago for my 20th Century Catholic Fiction class at Georgetown, and I did not get it then at all.). This one was courtesy of the Fountains of Carrots book club.

Brideshead Revisited

I won’t say everyone should read this, but if you are Catholic you should. It’s the best illustration of the hold the Church has over cradle Catholics that I can imagine. That makes it sound sketchy, but it’s not. It is beautiful.

Let me know if you read (or have read!) any of my favorites, and it you’d care to share your favorite reads from 2022 in the comments, I would love to hear about them.




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