The Best (and Worst) Books I Read in 2022
Do you create reading goals for yourself? My goal last year was 12 books in 12 months, and I ended up finishing 15! That’s more than double what I read the previous year, so I am happy with that number. In this post I’m sharing what I read and what I thought, while trying not to give away any spoilers. I’ve sorted the books into the following categories: best, worst, and interesting. Without further ado, here are the best (and worst) books I read in 2022.
The Best Books I read in 2022
Clanlands: Whisky, Warfare, and a Scottish Adventure Like No Other by Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish
This book follows Sam and Graham, of the TV show Outlander, as they journey around Scotland on an epic road trip. You don’t have to be a fan of Outlander to enjoy this book, but there are quite a few references to the show throughout. In the book the two actors tell the behind the scenes story of filming their show Men in Kilts: A Roadtrip with Sam and Graham. Both the book and the show are filled with adventures and high jinks, as well as plenty of Scottish history and culture. If you are a fan of Outlander, or enjoy learning about history and culture in a fun way, I think you will like this book!
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is not the easiest book to read to be honest. Her life growing up was not an easy one, and at times downright painful. I read this book because I admire the author’s poetry, but I knew virtually nothing about her life. I’m glad I learned a bit more about Maya, even if this was not necessarily an enjoyable read due to some of the content. TRIGGER WARNING: It is important to note that this book contains graphic descriptions of rape and other sexual abuse of a child. It is banned in some locations due to it’s content.
Pretty Little London: A Seasonal Guide to the City’s Most Instagrammable Places by Sara Santini and Andrea Di Filippo
I have been following @prettylittlelondon on Instagram for awhile, so when we booked our first trip to London I knew I had to read their book for insight into some of the city’s prettiest places. This book is laid out by seasons, and the best spots to visit during each. I enjoyed the beautiful photos and added several spots to our travel itinerary. It is worth noting that with further research we decided to skip some places they recommend. This applied mostly to restaurants that look pretty, but do not have the best reviews for food quality or service. If you love travel and beautiful photography, I highly recommend this book!
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
If you are looking for a proven method to break bad habits and replace them with better ones, this book lays out easy to follow strategies to help you improve every day. While this book is not a fun or fluffy read, it can help you adopt or break habits if that is something you are wanting to work on. As self help books go, this one comes highly recommended, and I am glad that I read it.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
After visiting Stourhead gardens in England over the summer, and re-watching my favorite movie adaptation, I had to read the book. I honestly can not remember reading it before, which seems a bit crazy. Austen’s style of writing tends to focus a bit longer on the mundane parts of the story than I would prefer, but overall I enjoyed the book. The story centers around the unlikely pairing of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. The further you get into the story, the more you love them both for who they are. If you are looking for a good classic romance novel, this is one to add to your list.
Persuasion by Jane Austen
After watching the new movie adaptation I added this book to my reading list. A love lost, the Royal Navy, and British high society are just some of the themes that make up this story. While I enjoyed the book overall, the story progresses very slowly at times. As with Pride and Prejudice the author had a tendency to focus on the mundane, which had me longing to skip ahead at times. I resisted and ultimately was rewarded with a really good ending. Read this if you like a good classic romance novel with a bit of a slow burn.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I read this book based on the recommendation of a friend, and I’m so glad I did! A complicated love story woven into a world filled with magic, I had a hard time putting this one down. Add in circus life, but not your typical circus, this one appears without warning and is only open at night. At the center of the story is a deadly competition, taking place behind the scenes, that threatens to unravel everything around it. Sound intriguing? This book will capture your imagination and keep you wanting to read more.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab
Another recommendation from a friend, this book took me a little longer to get in to. The story centers around a young woman who makes a deal with the devil to get what she wants. As you can imagine, things don’t turn out quite like she had intended. From that point on the book walks you through her life, oscillating between present and past. A bit of a slow start for me, there was a turning point in the story that finally captured my interest. Overall I enjoyed the present day parts of the story more than the flashbacks, which at times were somewhat of a snooze-fest. However, the second half of the book really drew me in, and combined with the ending, secured a spot on my list of the best books I read in 2022.
The Worst Books I Read in 2022
The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
I was really excited to read this one, and was super disappointed when I did. While the story starts out interesting enough, for me it pretty quickly took a deep dive into extremely boring territory. Honestly, I struggled to get through this book. It was slow, and the characters and their actions were neither reasonable or believable. How this became a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick, I have no idea. My advice? Skip this one.
Interesting Books I read in 2022
What is an “interesting” book? Basically these are the books that were somewhat interesting, but I wouldn’t say were the best or the worst.
Toddlers are A**holes: It’s Not Your Fault by Bunmi Laditan
A humorous and relatable take on the toddler years for parents who are in the thick of it. This book might be for you if you don’t mind cursing and name-calling, and won’t take it too seriously. While I started out reading the book word for word, mid-way through I switched to skimming. Personally, I did enjoy a few laughs in the beginning, but then was over it and ready to move on to something else. I don’t think you are necessarily meant to learn a lot from this book. The intent seems to be to provide a bit of comic relief for those who want it.
(Lonely Planet) How to be a Travel Writer, 4th Edition by Don George
While you might find some relevant and helpful information here, this book could definitely use another update. I personally did not feel inspired reading this guide. If you are an aspiring travel blogger, you will find very little information about that form of travel writing here. The writer barely mentions travel blogging as a viable craft, and when he does it is not in a very positive light. He instead focuses mainly on writing and selling articles, guides, etc to various publications. He also talks (a lot) about how hard it is to make a living as a travel writer, which comes across a bit downtrodden at times. Do I think it was worth reading? I guess that depends on what area of the travel writing field you intend to pursue.
The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain by Bill Bryson
This was my first Bill Bryson book, and I really wanted to like it because I have heard such great things about him as an author. A sequel to Notes from a Small Island, the story follows Bryson as he travels around his adopted country of England. While the writing is humorous at times, unfortunately I found it a bit boring in places. I have read reviews on this book calling Bryson a “grumpy old man” and that description could be considered somewhat accurate here. There were a few cringe worthy, and potentially offensive, moments in the book that surprised me. However, having only traveled to England once myself, I would love to explore the country further so I did find the book interesting overall.
Rediscovering Travel: A Guide for the Globally Curious by Seth Kugel
While I found Kugel’s travel stories interesting, this book felt a bit like a lecture on all the ways people are traveling “wrong”. He also has some pretty harsh opinions about people who are paid to travel and write about it. According to him this type of travel writing can not be unbiased. I don’t agree. As a travel blogger and content creator I only recommend things that I have tried and enjoyed. Additionally, as a woman I would be completely uncomfortable doing some of the things he recommends when traveling. Towards the end of the book he finally acknowledges the fact that as a white man he can probably do things that others might not be safe doing. This book did get me thinking about how I travel though, and for that reason I am glad I read it.
Road Trips: A Guide to Travel, Adventure, and Choosing Your Own Path by Jen CK Jacobs
This book is basically a beginner’s guide to road-tripping. Peppered with beautiful photos, recipes, and travel stories, this was a quick and easy read. I actually tried one of the recipes in the book, Guinness Brown Bread. I love homemade bread, and enjoyed this one! If you are preparing for your first road trip, you might benefit from reading this book.
Green Lights by Matthew McConaughey
This book wasn’t exactly what I was expecting to be honest. Matthew has definitely led an interesting life. The stories about how he grew up, and how he has chosen to live his life, changed my perception of him. I certainly know more about him now than I probably need to. At times full of fun, at times more than a little strange, this memoir was different from others I have read. If you are a massive McConaughey fan you will probably enjoy this book, otherwise I don’t know if I would recommend it.
That wraps up my list of the best (and worst) books I read in 2022! Have you read any of these books? Are any of them currently on your list to read? Did you agree or disagree with my take on any of them? Let me know in the comments!
Love this post? Save it to Pinterest!