1.9.23 4

The 10 Best Books I Read in 2022

I am excited to share the 10 best books I read in 2022 with you today! This is always a fun list for me to put together — and I always love hearing about what other people’s favorite books of the year were, so please drop them in the comments below. Last year, it was very easy for me to pick my favorite book of the year — this year, it was a little bit harder because I read so many great books.

(As a reminder, you can read fully summaries of all the books I read this year here, here, here, and here.)

Before we dive in, I also wanted to share my reading stats for the year. I started keeping track of the number of books I read each year back in 2017, and setting a goal has helped me keep reading a priority in my life. While I used to increase the goal number of books I wanted to read each year, I’ve found a really sweet spot in the ~75 books per year range. If I try to read more than that, reading starts to feel like a chore and I have to sacrifice other things going on it my life in favor of reading — which I just don’t want to do! As much as I also love reading, I also love balance, which is why I am keeping my reading goal for 2023 the same as it was in 2022: 75 books.

  • 2017 goal — 24, 2017 actual — 30
  • 2018 goal — 52, 2018 actual — 52
  • 2019 goal — 62, 2019 actual — 72
  • 2020 goal — 72, 2020 actual — 82
  • 2021 goal — 75, 2021 actual — 85
  • 2022 goal — 75, 2022 actual — 95
  • 2023 goal — 75, 2023 actual — TBD!

I set my goal on Goodreads and it helps keep me accountable and tracks my progress for me — it will even tell me if I am behind, on-track, or ahead of meeting my goal. Feel free to follow me over there, too! And, if you’re curious about other books I’ve loved, you can see my past roundups of the best books I read each year here: 2021, 2020, 2019, 20182017.

Before we dive in, one housekeeping note — the list below is representative of the best books I read in 2022, but that doesn’t mean they were all published in 2022. Some of these are older reads I just discovered, and some of them were published this year. I know some people separate their “best of” lists to create one for books that were published in prior years and one for books published this year, but I chose not to go that route.

So without further ado, here are the 10 best books I read in 2022:

10. Flying Solo by Linda Holmes

I read this book in one sitting and it’s so cute! Laurie is back in her Maine hometown to handle the estate of her Great Aunt Dot. While she’s going through her aunt’s belongings, she finds a mysterious wooden duck at the bottom of a chest and a love letter that says, “and if you’re ever desperate, there are always the ducks, darling.” Laurie then goes on a quest to find out the significance of the wooden duck, with all sorts of hijinks and romance along the way.

09. If We Break by Kathleen Buhle

loved this memoir by Kathleen Buhle. Broken into three parts — before, during, and after, she talks about how she and Hunter Biden fell in love, where things started to crumble, and how his addiction and infidelity impacted their marriage and finances. Even though I’ve never dealt with close to half of what she went through, I found her to be so relatable — she talks a lot about imposter syndrome and searching for her identity, which I think we can all relate to on some level. It was also interesting to get a look at the inner workings of the Biden family — she has nothing but wonderful things to say about Joe and Jill.

08. Blush by Jamie Brenner

Once I read Gilt — more on that below! — I knew I wanted to read more by Jamie Brenner. If you love Emily Henry, Elin Hilderbrand, and/or Christina Lauren, definitely check her out!

Hollander Estates was the first winery on the North Fork of Long Island and has a long, storied history. But now, the winery is in financial peril and with the threat of having to sell the estate looming, the women — Vivian, the matriarch, Leah, her daughter, and Sadie, her granddaughter — of the family step up in a big way.

07. The Mismatch by Sara Jafari

This was the first book I read in 2022 — so needless to say, my year of reading got off to a great start. A great coming-of-age and will-they-won’t-they story, Soraya just graduated from university and thinks it’s time she finally gets the experience she couldn’t because of her strict Muslim upbringing. And she thinks her classmate, Magnus, is the perfect way to get it. They have very little in common, so she decides she’ll have a little fun with him and get her first kiss out of the way before she really begins to date someone. There’s no way she could actually fall for him, right?

06. Meant to Be by Emily Giffin

Emily Giffin has long been one of my favorite authors ever since I picked up Something Borrowed while in high school. If you love the myth of Camelot like me, you’ll love it as it’s loosely based on the romance of JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy.

The Kingsley family is practically American royalty, beloved for their military heroics, political service, and unmatched elegance. When Joseph S. Kingsley III is born in 1960, he inherits the weight of that legacy. Growing up with all the Kingsley looks and charisma, Joe should have no problem taking up the mantle after his father’s untimely death. But he is also a little bit reckless, and can’t seem to figure out how to channel the expectations of an entire country. Meanwhile, no one ever expected anything of Cate, on the other hand. She, too, grew up in a single-parent household—just her and her mom scraping by in their small apartment. As a teenager, though, Cate is discovered for her looks. Modeling may be her only ticket out of the cycle of disappointment that her mother has always inhabited. Before too long, her face is everywhere, though she is always aware that she’d be a pariah in her social circles if anyone knew her true story.

When Joe and Cate’s paths cross, their connection is instant. What remains to be seen is whether their relationship will survive the glare of the spotlight that follows Joe everywhere. And just as they find themselves in the make-or-break moment, the tragedy that seems to run in Joe’s family right alongside all that privilege will repeat itself.

05. Gilt by Jamie Brenner

I loved this one — it focuses on the dynamics of a family with three sisters, so I found it super relatable as I have two sisters. (But don’t worry, my sisters and I are not fighting over our family’s diamond empire!)

As the first jeweler to market the idea that diamonds should be used for proposals, the Pavlin family created an empire. But fast forward to the 90s and sales aren’t that great — so the patriarch of the family, Alvin, creates a little friendly competition: whichever of his daughters is engaged first will receive the Electric Rose, a rare pink diamond ring.

Fast forward to the present day, and we learn the diamond has torn the sisters apart: one is dead, one wants nothing to do with the family business, and one is unlucky in love. To complicate matters, the next generation of the Pavilion family, Gemma, comes looking for her rightful inheritance: her mother’s Electric Rose engagement ring. Only problem? No one knows where it is.

04. The Tobacco Wives by Adele Myers

If you are looking for an amazing historical fiction, I loved this one. It’s Adele Myers’ debut title and I hope she writes more. I loved all the characters and thought it was such an interesting story. It’s set in the fictional town of Bright Leaf, North Carolina. I was born in Durham and spent a lot of my childhood there — and if you’re familiar with the town, you know about Brightleaf Square, the cute shopping area that’s in converted tobacco warehouses, which I couldn’t help but imagining while reading this one. It also reminded me a lot of my trip to Winston Salem last year!

Maddie’s mother drops her off in Bright Leaf for the summer, where her aunt is a popular seamstress, known for making custom gowns for all the wives of the tobacco company’s executives. After years of war rations, Bright Leaf seems like a prosperous wonderland. When her aunt unexpectedly falls ill, she finds herself in the role of lead dressmaker for the biggest town party of the year. But through this role, she quickly realizes that Bright Leaf isn’t the paradise she once thought it was — and Big Tobacco, the town’s money maker, may also be its downfall.

03. Can’t Look Away by Carola Lovering

This one was so good. I stayed up until 2am reading it and paid the cost — I was so tired, but I couldn’t put it down. If you liked Before We Were StrangersLove & Other Words, or Every Summer After, I think you’ll enjoy this one. The pacing is just incredible.

The story flips between 2013 and the present day. In 2013, Molly finds herself locking eyes with the lead singer of a band, Jake Dinner, and after the concert, he tracks her down through friends. They quickly fall in love, and his song about her is what puts their band on the map. Fast forward to the present day, Molly is living in the suburbs with her daughter and husband — who is not Jake Dinner. While her life looks perfect from the outside, she’s struggling in an infertility journey and lonely. She finally meets a friend, Sabrina, only to find out she’s married to Jake Danner — which brings up old questions and secrets.

02. Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

I absolutely loved this book and would recommend it to anyone. However, I started this book before Russia invaded Ukraine and given a large portion of the plot is based on the siege of Leningrad, it might hit a little too close to home for some at the present moment — just a heads up!

Meredith and Nina are sisters, but polar opposites. Meredith stayed home to run the family business, while Nina travels the world photographing it. But when their dad is on his deathbed, they find themselves home again, standing alongside their cold mother, Anya. As children, their mother didn’t really show them any love and their only connection to her was the Russian fairytale she would sometimes tell them at night. On his deathbed, their dad makes Meredith and Nina promise to make their mother tell them the whole story — which takes them back to the unexpected truth of Anya’s life in Russia during World War II.

01. Every Summer After by Carley Fortune

I read this book over the summer and loved it — I could not put this one down, and upon reflection, I think it was the best book I read all year.

The story is told over two timelines, with chapters alternating between six summers in the past and one weekend in the present. During those six summers long ago on a Canadian lakeshore — Percy and Sam had been inseparable. Eventually that friendship turned into something  more, before it fell spectacularly apart. Now, in the present day, Percy returns to the lake for Sam’s mother’s funeral — and their connection is as undeniable as it had always been. But until Percy can confront the decisions she made and the years she’s spent punishing herself for them, Sam and Percy will never know whether their love might be bigger than the biggest mistakes of their past.

Leave a Comment

4 Comments

  1. Adding these that I haven’t read to my 2023 list!

    Published 1.10.23
    Reply
    • Katie wrote:

      Yay, hope you enjoy! x

      Published 1.18.23
      Reply
  2. Annaliese wrote:

    Every Summer After was my second favorite novel of the year!! What a book! So worth all the acclaim it’s getting.

    My favorite of 2022 was The Siren by Katherine St. John- not sure if you’ve read that one!

    xoxo A
    http://www.southernbelleintraining.com

    Published 1.10.23
    Reply
    • Katie wrote:

      I will have to read The Siren – I have read some other books by Katherine St. John and really enjoyed them; thanks so much for the recommendation!

      Published 1.18.23
      Reply