12 Favorite Books of 2022 – and a Present for You!
So many beautiful books – so little time!
As the children have grown and aged out of homeschool my reading time has increased. I haven’t set specific reading goals, but I do have guiding principles for my reading life.
If you are reading this you probably don’t have an issue with feeling guilty when you take time to read – but if you do, please know that reading enriches a homeschooling mother and sets a beautiful example for her children.
A home with books and time set aside for reading is a gift you can give your children.
With that being said, let’s dive into my 12 favorite books of 2022.
If you’d like to see collages for each month, and a review of EVERY book I read during 2022, head over to my bookstagram page, @homegrownbookpicks.
At the end of the post, you will be able to download your own printable book bracket and bookshelf coloring pages.
Also – a tip about keeping track of favorite books: I love to write in a book journal. It’s nothing fancy, just a dot journal (This is the one I LOVE!) where I document books read each month and how many stars I give them. Favorite quotes and unfamiliar words are also included in the book journal.
As I perused my 2022 book journal it was easy to jog my memory about favorite books, and (using the book bracket printable) then even easier to determine my favorite book of the year.
I love a good historical fiction audiobook! In this “battle to electrify America,” we enter into the world of Thomas Edison, JP Morgan, and George Westinghouse. There is so much I didn’t know – and some misconceptions I had about the invention of the lightbulb itself – which made this book extremely interesting!
This book was recommended to me by Cindy, at Thoughts From a Page podcast. She told me it was one of her all-time favorite audiobooks, and now it is one of mine, too!
“Part adventure, part historical saga, and part coming-of-age love story, West with Giraffes explores what it means to be changed by the grace of animals, the kindness of strangers, the passing of time, and a story told before it’s too late.”
I loved this Depression-era story and loved it even more because true events inspired it. The imagery of driving across the country with giraffes will stick with me for a LONG time. The main character, Woodrow Wilson Nickel, is one for the ages, too.
Jennifer Ryan is one of my favorite authors of historical fiction. She manages to find the most interesting parts of wartime history and bring them to light.
This book, about a group of women during WWII who recycle wedding dresses, was FASCINATING! Clothes rationing was something I hadn’t even thought of, but there is so much to be learned from this book.
Elizabeth Goudge was a 20th-century English writer of fiction and children’s books. I have fallen in love with her writing during the past three years.
The Dean’s Watch is the story of an unlikely friendship between a watchmaker and the Dean of the cathedral in a small English town. Their relationship – and every character and occurrence in the book, points us to God and his never-ending grace.
Elizabeth Goudge is a balm to the soul. If you’ve never read anything by her, you must try The Dean’s Watch!
I happily stumbled upon this book because I wanted to read a book set in Australia. What I found was a book published in 1950, and an author who is now on my TBR list.
Yes, this book is another WWII novel, but not in the typical setting – it takes place in the Malayan jungle and the Australian outback.
Jean Paget, a young English woman, is captured by the Japanese army in Malaya during WWII. She is forced on a brutal march across the country with a group of women and children. During this appalling ordeal, she befriends Joe Harman, an Australian soldier who risks his own life to help the women.
This is a story of perseverance, resilience, sacrifice, and love. The beautiful language, powerful imagery, and suspense kept me turning the pages!
A Young Adult selection made it into the top 12 this year! I tend to avoid celebrity book club picks (this was a Reese Witherspoon YA pick), but this one was a winner.
In The Downstairs Girl, we are transported to the Antebellum South – and to Atlanta (my home!). Here we meet Jo Kuan, a lady’s maid for the daughters of one of the wealthiest men in the South. By night she becomes a columnist (“Miss Sweetie”) in a popular newspaper who challenges popular ideas of race and gender.
I loved everything about this book! It was a true page-turner and I was cheering for Jo the entire time. The redemption of characters was particularly refreshing in this book.
This is a story that will rip your heart out (in the very best of ways).
“In 1942, Europe remains in the relentless grip of war. Just beyond the tents of the refugee camp she calls home, a young woman speaks her wedding vows. It’s a decision that will alter her destiny…and it’s a lie that will remain buried until the next century.”
This book evoked the same feelings as The Nightingale, so be prepared for an emotional, powerful story.
I also read The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer. You might find yourself obsessed with her writing after reading The Things We Cannot Say.
This book – read by me in 24 hours (I might have stayed up half the night crying my eyes out) – will stick with me for the rest of my life.
It is the story of a mother and daughter that were reunited after 77 years. It is a story of life, hope, and God’s faithfulness across generations.
What made this book so very special was that – through a series of “coincidences” – I found out I attend church with one of the main characters in the book, Brian. Brian came to our Homegrown Book Picks Facebook group and shared about the book. It was a moving time – with many more tears.
(If you’re not in our FB group, please join us!)
One of my favorite books of all time is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith. When I found out she had other books, I knew I needed to read them.
Joy in the Morning takes place in 1927 – starting in Brooklyn, NY and moving to the Midwest. The story is about Carl and Annie, two young newlyweds who are making their way in the world with love, hardship, humor, and poverty.
Annie is now one of my favorite literary heroines – she reminds us that we can accomplish great things where there is love!
For the month of October the book pick for my in person book club was something a little more gothic, My Cousin Rachel. I had read Rebecca and enjoyed it very much, and My Cousin Rachel now is one of my favorite in this genre!
“Orphaned at an early age, Philip Ashley is raised by his benevolent older cousin, Ambrose. Resolutely single, Ambrose delights in Philip as his heir, a man who will love his grand home as much as he does himself. But the cozy world the two construct is shattered when Ambrose sets off on a trip to Florence. There he falls in love and marries – and there he dies suddenly. In almost no time at all, the new widow – Philip’s cousin Rachel – turns up in England. Despite himself, Philip is drawn to this beautiful, sophisticated, mysterious woman like a moth to the flame. And yet …might she have had a hand in Ambrose’s death?”
Ooooh – this was so good! It was also fun to watch the movie afterwards.
Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
My daughter (now 21) will tell you this is one of her favorite books from her homeschooling days. I finally got around to reading (well, listening actually!) it and it is now one of my middle grade favorites!
Set in 1793 during the Yellow Fever outbreak, we get to know Mattie Cook, whose world is nearly destroyed by the epidemic. I think my favorite thing about this book is the strength of our female heroine, and how she goes against all conventions to fight for those she loves.
Historical fiction is one of my favorite ways to teach history, and I can see why this book is included in so many recommended book lists! I need to read Anderson’s other books.
Jennifer Ryan’s books occupy two slots in my 2022 favorites list, so they must be good!
The Kitchen Front is once again a WWII story about a little thought of topic – food rationing and how it affected cooking in Britain during the war. The radio show The Kitchen Front really existed, and in this book we meet four women who participate in a cooking contest to become one of the next contributors to the radio show.
These four women couldn’t be more different, but through a series of events they come together and the outcome is spectacular!
Not only did I enjoy the story, but I also learned so much about food substitutions and the nitty gritty of food rationing. Delectable!
Maybe my list has given you some books to put on your TBR – and maybe it has inspired you to up your reading game (or continue the great reading game you already have going on!)
Please enjoy this simple download I created for you – it is the way I determined that my favorite book of the year was The Waiting and it also was the perfect way for me to look back over my 2022 reading year.