Hello my lovely friends!
I’m back for a bit at least. My year has been jam packed. So many changes happened this year. Mostly I want to look back on my reading. Not surprisingly my total amount of books plummeted with all my busyness My total was only * drum-roll please * 43. With two DNF’s.
Each of these books stuck out to me as having relatable characters and left me wanting more. This year sort of became my year for YA. I didn’t really plan this, but I had a blast anyway. I listened through the Hunger Games series as well as Harry Potter. Both are unique and I can see why they caused a splash. Also, I read two more Miss Peregrine books, but think I’ll stop the series there as the ending was perfect.
Let’s start with my favorites! 😉
#9 Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico
Honestly, don’t know how I had never heard of this quaint book?? It tells the story of an elderly cleaning lady whose husband died in the war. While cleaning Lady Dant’s house, she stumbles upon a Dior dress. In that moment Mrs. Harris decides then and there she will buy her very own Dior dress. What a journey she has!
“The world in which Mrs. Harris, now approaching the sixties, moved, was one of perpetual mess, slop, and untidiness.”
“For it had not been a dress she had bought so much as an adventure and an experience that would last her to the end of her days.”
#8 The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
This was such an emotional book for me! I absolutely loved the characters! Ponyboy had this rough life and I just wanted to give him a hug. Impressive to me that Hinton started writing this when she was 16.
Ponyboy lives with his two brothers Darry and Soda Pop. They look out for one another, but not always in the best way. They are all apart of the Greaser gang from the East side who have a reputation to uphold. They have been seeking a rumble with the Socs gang from the West side. Before the rumble Ponyboy is attacked which leads to him running for his life.
“When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home”
“We’re almost a close as brothers; when you grow up in a tight-knit neighborhood like ours you get to know each other real well.”
“Stay gold Ponyboy. . . stay gold”
#7 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
To be honest I don’t remember everything that happened in this one. I do know this was Sirius Black’s first appearance as well as Lupin’s. Ah, Lupin. He is one of my favorite characters. He begins teaching Harry some important skills that come in handy. He is a fount of wisdom. We also get a bit of time travel. Yea! The ending of this one, so good! This book was so tight and concise which gets lost in some of the later books.
” I solemnly swear I am up to no good”
“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
“What you fear most of all is —fear. Very wise…”
#6 Mirror of Souls by Wayne Batson
I’ve been waiting for this next installment for a while. Anytime something new comes out by Batson, I get super excited. This did not disappoint. It is the 4th book in his Myridian Constellation series. It picks up right where The Forsaken Continent left off.
There are so many characters and plot lines. I’ll just mention a couple. Telwyn Coldhollow is returning from his trek to the forsaken continent only to see his friends in danger yet again. King Lochlan is still on the run from Morlan. He decides to attempt to take back his kingdom from the menace that pervades it. Abbagael Coldhollow misses her husband Alistair and embarks to find him wherever he is, no matter the cost.
“Jak Alastair Coldhollow, you are a gift from the First One, and I love you with all my heart. Your father loved you, loves you too, but he has gone missing. I have to go and find him. It’s not fair, I know to leave you so soon.”
“What is this talk of payment?” Alec asked. “We are all children of the Starmaker. This is what we do for each other. “
Abbagael stared out over the black water. “I think I’m going to need to pray. . . a lot more” “And we will pray for you even as we return to Willowdell” Alec said. “The Maker of the stars is worthy of your trust.”
# 5 Catch me If you Can by Frank Abagnale
This book came as a recommendation from a friend. Not surprisingly, I had never heard of this book, but the premise sounded intriguing. I’m a fan of White Collar and this is similar in a way.
After his parents get a divorce, Frank Abagnale decides to runaway, and eventually becomes a conman at the age of 19. He goes through a series of invalid jobs from Pan am pilot to pediatrician, and even a university teacher.
“You’ll learn Frank, that when you’re up they’re hundreds of people who’ll claim you as a friend. When you’re down, you’re lucky if one of them will buy you a cup of coffee.”
“The TWA first officer was probably back in the pilot’s lounge by now, telling others TWA crewman he’d just met a Pam Am jerk who flew washing machines.”
#4 Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Well, the mystery woven throughout HBP is amazing. There was a lot happening in this book and I listened to it in a very short amount of time. So, I apologize if I forget details. Dumbledore finally made some smart choices and showed Harry key memories that help explain why Voldemort became the wizard he is now. We also get to see a glimpse of kindness in Snape which felt long overdue. Romantic feelings were sprouting like flowers everywhere. I like Jinny, but I’m not sure how I feel about them together. Harry does make some more mature choices and grows up a bit.
“Once again; Lord Voldemort fails to grasp that there are much more terrible things then physical injury.”
“Voldemort’s mistake, Harry, Voldemort’s mistake. . . Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth.”
#3 The Magic of Ordinary Days by Ann Creel
I really liked this book! It was sweet and charming. Sometimes all you want is a simple story, nothing complex or out of this world. This book fits that very well.
Olivia Dunne is the oldest of her three sisters which has led to come contention at home. Her mom suddenly dies due to cancer and afterwards Olivia becomes pregnant. Her father then arranged a marriage for her which crushes her dreams of becoming an archeologist. At first Olivia is not a fan of the move or her marriage, but slowly she comes to appreciate and develop friends in her small town. There are a few moments where I did get frustrated with her mopiness.
“Not yet silver, the moon reflected the honey gold of the setting sun, lighting her face from continents away.”
“”Sure enough,” he said. “But that’s not why I’m standing here. I wanted to listen better.” I stopped stirring. Then he told me, “You were singing to yourself.”
#2 Boy Tales from Childhood by Ronald Dahl
This was our December pick for our book club. Ronald Dahl wrote an autobiography of his life. Now he even mentions that autobiographies can be boring, so he just wrote about the interesting bits. And indeed Dahl know how to write! I found myself laughing way to hard at his antics as a boy. You can see where he got some of his ideas for his books just based on his childhood. I highly recommend for all ages!
“The sweet ship in Llandaff in the year 1923 was the very center of our lives. To us it was what a bar is to a drunk or a church is to a Bishop. Without it, there would have been little to live for.”
“That was 1924, and taking out a child’s adenoids, and often tonsils as well, without any anesthetic was common practice in those days, I wonder thought what you would think if some doctor did that to you today”
#1 A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Our book club has read a few of Backman’s books and enjoyed them. On a whim, and a need for a new audiobook, I gave Ove a try. It was fantastic!! Who would have thought that a grumpy curmudgeon could be so funny.
Ove has a routine that he sticks too and follows the same pattern everyday. Yet, losing his wife has messed with how structure. It’s Ove’s job to ensure the neighborhood is safe from pesky visitors. He recently was fired from his job, and now Ove sees no point in living. So, he decides to commit suicide. His new neighbors though keep interrupting him.
I love that we see flashbacks to Ove’s life before this. We see his rough childhood and life as an orphan. As well as how he meets his wife. So many touching moments.
There are a few content issues to be aware of for Ove. There is descriptions of his suicide attempts as well as some rough language.
Well, that took longer then I expected! Whew! Hope you enjoyed that! How was 2022 for your reading life? Any favorites? Have you read any of these?
Happy New Year!
5 thoughts on “Looking back on 2022”
43 books isn’t bad! My total was 27 and even I found that impressive.
Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris looks adorable! And Prisoner of Azkaban is one of the best Harry Potter books.
For sure! Thanks! Honestly, being able to set aside any time to read or listen to an audiobook is impressive. What was your favorite book of 2022? Mrs. Harris feels ritzy and elegant and has an old-fashioned charm to it. Agreed!
I joined the Goodreads reading challenge this year as an incentive to read more and hopefully get through my expanding TBR pile. I read some great books this year:
Breverton’s Phantasmagoria by Terry Breverton – An encyclopedia for all the crazy myths, legends and the unexplained throughout history. So much fun!
West Side Story: A Novelization by Irving Shulman – I was obsessed with West Side Story last year!)
The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan – One of the sweetest books I’ve read in a long time! Highly recommend it for a comfort read.
The Time Quartet by Madeleine L’Engle – These books were good, but a little too scientific so I had a hard time keeping up with the storylines. However, Many Waters and A Swifting Tilting Planet were standout storytelling.
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh – A story that’s both happy and sad, confusing and understanding all at the same time.
The Ink Black Heart by Robert Galbraith – Number 6 in the Cormoran Strike mystery series and it was excellent! Scary!
The Call of The Wild by Jack London – Dark and brutal
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexnadre Dumas – Despite it’s length, I enjoyed it.
Devotion by Adam Makos – I wanted to read the book before the movie came out and I was glad I did. However, the book had so much more that they unfortunately couldn’t put in the film.
The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer – A WWII fiction that spans three generations of secrets. Really excellent.
As far as favorite book, probably The Keeper of Lost Things. Reading it just made me so happy! And The Ink Black Heart because I was genuinely scared!
I definitely need to read Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris!
Ohh, that sounds like a good incentive.
I’ll have to loop up Breverton’s Phantasmagoria as I love learning about myths and legends. Have you ever listened to the Myths & Legends podcast? He does a great job of mixing myths from different time periods and telling them in a modern way.
The new West Side Story movie was fantastic and very well done. My sisters and I were super excited when we found out Ben Cook was playing a character. We liked him in Newsies.
The Ink Black Heart sounds intriguing as well.
Awe, I remember loving The Call of the Wild as well as White Fang when I was younger. They made a movie of Call of the Wild with Harrison Ford. My big problem with it was they did all the dogs in CGI. Made it hard to connect with the story.
The Count of Monte Cristo is probably my favorite classic. Glad you enjoyed it!
I haven’t heard of the Myths & Legends podcast, but I’ll look it up.
You’re a musical fan! Yes, I love West Side Story and Newsies is amazing! I’m planning on doing a double review on both the 1992 movie and the Broadway show soon.
If you like mystery then I would definitely suggest The Cormoran Strike series. They’re dark and gritty, but the mysteries themselves are fantastic.