book covers collage

Erica’s Favorite Reads – 2022

According to Goodreads, I read 22 books in 2022 (that’s a nice convenient number isn’t it?)

I love keeping track of what I’m reading on Goodreads – you get all these stats at the end of the year, like how many pages you read, what was the shortest and longest book you read…

Out of the 22 books I read, only two of them were fiction. Obviously I’m still going strong in my nonfiction (mostly self-help or faith development) kick!

Where the Crawdads Sing
Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery

I had been wanting to read this book for a long time, but literally for years every time I tried to get it at the library, all the copies were checked out. I finally broke down and put a hold on it so I could actually read it. Despite it being the longest book I read this year (coming in at 384 pages) it probably took me the least amount of time to read. I would stay up late at night reading it because I was so drawn into the story.

I have not seen the movie, but I heard it was kind of meh – I would definitely recommend reading this one because the “books are always better” cliché most likely rings true for this one!

The Gifts of Imperfection
Nonfiction, Psychology, Personal Development

This is only the second Brené Brown book I’ve read, but I’m a huge fan of hers! I loved Dare to Lead and this book had a lot of the same themes. She is a big advocate of vulnerability and authenticity – and of course, bravery. It takes courage to be vulnerable and authentic. I love Brown’s definition of authenticity which I’ll include a snippet of here:

The courage to let go of who we think we’re supposed to be so that we can fully embrace our authentic selves – the imperfect, the creative, the vulnerable, the powerful, the broken, and the beautiful

Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved
Nonfiction, Memoir, Faith

I got to see Kate Bowler speak in person at my university’s annual fundraising “Friends of the Library” event earlier last year. She was funny and engaging, just like she is as an author. She challenges the idea that living a good or godly life means good things are guaranteed to happen to you (prosperity gospel). Why do some people’s prayers not get answered? Why do bad things happen to good people? Does everything really happen for a reason, or do some things just suck? If you’ve ever found yourself questioning these things, this will be a refreshing read for you.

And while we’re on the subject of books that challenge specific religious stereotypes, another book I read this year was the book The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth. I’d also recommend this one if you’ve grown up in a faith tradition that limits the role of women.

Acne: A Memoir
Nonfiction, Memoir, Humor

This was a book I happened to stumble upon at a local bookstore in town. I love the cover design! If you’re a person who has ever struggled with acne, I think you’d enjoy this honest account of what lengths a person will go to in order to achieve clear skin. It’s a memoir, and the author details some not-so-happy times and events in her life (like many memoirists do), but it also has a much rosier ending than you might expect. I wrote a separate blog post on this book because I found it so intriguing.

Along the Way: Conversations About Children and Faith
Nonfiction, Spirituality, Parenting

I heard about this book during a webinar I attended on the topic of children’s ministry. It occurred to me that I had read numerous parenting books, but none that focused specifically on the spiritual or theological development of children. The main takeaway I had from this book was that children should not be an afterthought when it comes to church or religion.

Depending on your faith tradition, sometimes church services or ministries are geared towards adults, and therefore babysitting will be provided to get the kids “out of the way,” so to speak. This book recommended including your child in all kinds of ministries and services, and engaging in theological conversations with them even if you aren’t sure they will completely understand. This book has made me think differently about how I want to engage with my own son when it comes to faith and his spiritual development.

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