Books I Have My Eye on for Reading in 2022

Do you remember in the movie You’ve Got Mail when Kathleen Kelly gets sick? Joe Fox goes to visit her and she has a bad cold and says her head is feeling fuzzy. Yeah….that’s been me the last few days. I have my ups and downs – points where I can sit in bed with my Kindle and read. And then points where I’m like – please don’t ask me to think! LOL

When my head doesn’t feel all fuzzy as Kathleen Kelly put it, I’m thinking about books I want to read.

—-And she goes to lay down for a bit.—-

And it is now the next day. Ha! This post is taking me time to write. But thankfully, I woke up feeling better today and am very optimistic that I will get this post finished and published. 🙂

I am not laying down any fast rules here for my reading in 2022 when I share books I am looking forward to reading this year. This is just a simple list of books that I have my eye on, but no problem if I don’t get to them. But I like lists. Lists are nice. Lists are good. Lists must not dictate what I read. Yes, I am quite a conundrum aren’t I? Anyhoo….here’s what I have my eye on for 2022.

11/22/63 by Stephen King

This is happening. My friend Kayla and I are going to buddy read this starting in February. I am so excited about this! This will be my first Stephen King novel — and likely my only Stephen King novel — unless he takes to writing more historical fiction or something other than horror. I don’t do horror. Nope. I have heard King is a phenomenal writer and can tell a good story. So I’m excited that he’s written a historical fiction novel. Really looking forward to this one!

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

I knew this one was a classic and was on many classic books to read lists. But it really came onto my radar more several years back when I heard Anne Bogel talk about it. In a post she wrote years ago, she lists it as one of the novels she reads over and over again. Plus, I just recently read that they are making a new movie of it! So I am eyeing this book for 2022.

The Marvels by Brian Selznick

I read this middle grade novel several years ago in ebook format. So I am tickled to finally have it in print and am looking forward to re-reading it!

Middlemarch by George Eliot

I have not read anything by George Eliot before and this is the title I have my eye on for 2022. I have heard it is an excellent read and am looking forward to diving into it.

Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset

I have heard such glowing reviews of this book that is called a great historical epic. It is set in Norway in the 14th century and centers around the character whose name is reflected in the title. If I decide to prioritize a read, this would definitely be one I choose. It comes in at a whopping 1144 pages.

There are, of course, so many more books I want to read. But I am trying to go with the flow as they say. I do also have authors I want to read more of their backlist titles which I hope to be able to work in some of those in 2022. Some of those authors would be Amor Towles (I’m looking at you Rules of Civility!), Fredrik Backman (I still have a handful of books left of his to read), and Ruta Sepetys, to name just a few. I think I will make a note of this in my reading journal. And speaking of my reading journal, as I mentioned in THIS post, I always try to read widely. So I’m thinking in my reading journal I may make a list of a variety of genres and then jot down a few titles that have caught my interest for each one.

What books do you have your eye on for reading in 2022?

Setting Reading Goals/Intentions for a New Year

Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

It’s a new year and many people are reflecting and making goals. To be honest, I’m not one for setting New Year’s resolutions. But when it comes to my reading life, I do look back over my year of reading and then think about if I want to set any reading goals for the new year. And this is what I’ve been doing the last week or so. In my post Reflecting On My 2021 Reading Year, I shared some questions that we can ask ourselves when looking back over our year of reading. So I have been asking myself:

  • Is there anything I’d like to do differently with my reading next year?
  • How did I do this year in reading widely? (This is a continual goal for me.)
  • Do I want to participate in any reading challenges or projects?
  • Do I want to set any reading goals for next year? If so, what kind of goals?

As I’ve thought about these questions, I think that by and large, I had a great reading year. I have one on-going reading intention that will continue – and that is to read widely. I will map more specifics of that for myself in my own reading journal. Also, one of the things I love about the MMD Book Club is that Anne and the team do a fantastic job of choosing diverse books. So I know I will get variety with the books we read there each month.

As far as if I’d like to do anything differently. As I looked back on last year, something I realize is that because I love reading with other people, I think I just got caught up in all the group reads and read-alongs over in the Bookstagram world and it got to be a bit much. I want to be more intentional about how many books I take on and make sure that I pace myself. I want to make sure I don’t let the sheer amount of group reads and read-alongs sidetrack me and hook me in to over-committing to books to read.

Photo by Mariah Green on Pexels.com

I also want to make sure to take the time to write about the books I’m reading. I am getting more consistent about doing that, especially in 2021. I was planning to do another bullet journal style reading journal. But I am thinking maybe not. Here’s why. It seems easier for me to type out my thoughts on a book versus handwriting them. As much as I love the aesthetic element of the decorated reading bullet journal, when I sit down to handwrite in my journal, if it gets lengthy my hand gets tired and my writing gets sloppier. And I think that has been a factor in why I don’t always write out all my thoughts on the books I read in my journal.

So I am thinking about moving more digitally for my book journal this year. At the very least, type out all I want to write about and then print it off and glue/tape it in a reading journal or go back to making a reading binder. I have been thinking about maybe a disc bound reading notebook. It just seems more practical, even though it does mean ditching the bullet style reading journal that I’ve enjoyed creating the last two years. Honestly, though, every time I have sat down to create my reading journal for this year, I have had very little motivation or creative inspiration for making the journal spreads. So maybe the the disc-bound notebook or binder will be a good alternative to house the digital reading journal.

As far as reading projects and challenges, for now I am just participating in the Japanese Literature Challenge. It’s one I participated in back in 2020 and really enjoyed it. Other than that, I really just want to stay focused on reading what interests me along with my reading for the MMD Book Club.

And that’s my thoughts for now. Of course, reading intentions can flex as we need them to. But overall, I think it can be helpful to take a look at the past year and think about what we’d like our reading lives to look like in the new year.

What would you like your reading year to look like this year?

Reading Year In Review 2021

I am going to do my breakdown of the books I read in 2021 a bit different than I did last year. I’m still working on how to categorize the books I read. For the most part, it’s pretty straight forward. But what happens when you read a children’s contemporary book that’s also historical fiction? Do you categorize it as children’s, contemporary, or historical fiction? See what I mean? Certainly a bookish conundrum. LOL So I created a category I’m calling “Crossovers”. It will be a category just for books that I just can’t narrow down to one category. 😉 Without further ado, here’s a look at my 2021 reading year.

Contemporary Fiction

General – 14 books
Historical – 3 books
Children’s – 1 book
Middle Grade – 2 books
Gothic – 1 book
Dystopian/Apocalyptic – 1 book

Total Contemporary Fiction: 22 books

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Classics Fiction

General – 14 books
Fantasy – 1 books
Children’s – 4 books
Gothic – 1 books
Mystery – 1 book
Short Stories – 1 short story collection
Essays – 1 essay collection

Total Classics Fiction: 23 books

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Non-Fiction

General – 6 books
Children’s – 4 books
Travel – 1 book
Memoir/Biography – 2 books

Total Non-Fiction: 13 books

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Other

Poetry – 5 books
Play – 1 play

Total Other: 6 books

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Crossovers

1 Children’s Contemporary Historical Fiction
1 Middle Grade Contemporary Historical Fiction
1 Middle Grade Contemporary Mystery Fiction
1 Middle Grade Classics Historical Fiction
1 Children’s Classic Historical Fiction

Total Crossovers: 5 books

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Re-reads

Total Books that Were Re-reads: 13 books

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Overall Total Books Read: 82
Total Pages Read: 25,757

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Highlights from the Year

I had a pretty good reading year in terms of liking books I read. I gave 4 stars to a whoppin’ 34 books! I gave 10 books a 5 star rating and 2 books received 4.5 stars. I am pretty generous with 4 star ratings. However, I am definitely more sparing with 5 stars; I don’t give them out nearly as much. So I consider it pretty stellar to have read 10 books this year that I gave 5 stars! All my highlights from this year’s reading will be my 5 star reads.

5 Star Reads

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

One of my re-reads. Les Misérables is a story about injustices. About poverty and unfairness and cruelty. It is also about heroism, forgiveness, love, and mercy. It will break your heart more than once; but redemption and hope can be found within the pages of the book too. This novel is beautifully and brilliantly written. It will stay with you long after you finish reading it. This is one of just a small handful of books that I want to tell everyone to read. 🙂 Click HERE to read my full review.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Edmond Dantés is a kind-hearted, loving person who one day finds himself imprisoned. He has no idea why and is completely innocent. What unfolds is a complex, nuanced, intricate plot. Dumas managed to create a narrative that the reader can get lost in. It is very atmospheric with descriptions that pull you into its world. This epic masterpiece joined the ranks of Les Misérables in my list of favorite books of all-time. Click HERE for my full review.

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

Another one of my re-reads. I read this book aloud with my daughter earlier this year (we actually started it at the end of 2020 I think…). It was her first time experiencing this magnificent fantasy adventure; it was my second time reading it. I loved it just as much as the first time. Well, maybe even more. And I love that my daughter absolutely loved it too. I’ve read The Lord of the Rings series as well and let me tell you…it is no wonder that Tolkien is considered the father of modern fantasy. He has masterfully crafted a whole world, complete with it’s own history.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Again, another re-read. Little Women is a coming-of-age story about four sisters; but it’s so much more than that. It’s about sisterhood, family bonds, respect for oneself and for others, and being true to oneself. Click HERE to read my full review.

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim

And yep, another re-read. This story is about four women who decide to share a villa in Italy for the month of April. It’s all about how this holiday helps them learn more about themselves, helps them grow personally, and helps them each find needed healing in their lives. Click HERE for my full review.

Watership Down by Richard Adams

Richard Adams managed to represent the nature of life in this story of rabbits. There are themes of friendship, respect, honor, duty, loyalty, perseverance, fear, and courage. There are wars, fighting, and a great deal of drama. It is a story of survival, triumphs, and growth. The characters have depth and the story is full of beauty and richness. I can’t recommend this book enough! Click HERE for my full review.

A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus

If you are looking for a beautiful, heartwarming read, look no further. This story exhibits the power of family AND the power of books. It is an absolutely delightful, wonderful middle grade novel that both my daughter and I enjoyed immensely! Click HERE to read my full review.

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Backman’s writing in this novel is witty, clever, brilliant, perceptive, and many times down right hilarious. I can’t tell you how many times I laughed out loud. Yet amidst all the humor, Backman deals with some heavy topics. Anxious People is absorbing, thought-provoking, captivating, and compelling. It is definitely one of my favorite reads of this year and one I am sure I will read again! Click HERE to read my full review.

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Sepetys once again crafted a phenomenal historical fiction novel. It is a page-turner! It is rich in detail with vivid descriptions. The story is told with great compassion. It is powerful, insightful, heartbreaking, and evocative. Click HERE to read my full review.

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

I am a fan of Selznick’s work. This novel is wonderfully magical and mesmerizing. It is beautifully and compassionately written. Click HERE to read my full review.

Honorable Mention

Ok. I have to also mention The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman. I gave this one 4.5 stars but it may very well get upgraded to 5 stars upon a second read. This novella is a story about what is important in life. A story between a father and his son. A story about a girl who is fighting for her life. A story about love, forgiveness, and redemption. Click HERE to read my full review.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Length: 1237 pgs.
Genre: Classics
My Rating: 5 Stars

Edmond Dantés is a kind-hearted, loving person who one day finds himself imprisoned. He has no idea why and is completely innocent. What unfolds is a complex, nuanced, intricate plot that is certainly a tale of revenge; but it is so much more than that. Dumas masterfully developed a story that raises questions and makes the reader think.

Dumas’ writing and all the details that composed the intricate plot of revenge utterly astounded me! As with Les Misérables, the little details aren’t simply filler. They matter. They all work together and connect. By the end, you see how it all ties together.

Dumas managed to create a narrative that the reader can get lost in. It is very atmospheric with descriptions that pull you into its world – from the dismal, grim Chateau d’If to the Island of Monte Cristo to the Count’s Paris. It is an epic journey that is both character-driven and plot-driven. And the ending! It was sheer perfection! It left me wanting to cry because it was such a beautiful ending.

The Count of Monte Cristo joined the ranks of Les Misérables in my list of favorite books of all-time. It is a solid 5 star read!

A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus

A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus
Length: 309 pgs.
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary Fiction
My Rating: 5 Stars

If you are looking for a beautiful, heartwarming read, look no further. This book was absolutely wonderful! It is set in England against the backdrop of World War II. Three orphans are sent to the countryside along with other children as part of the evacuation of children out of the city. However, for these three orphans, it’s more than just an evacuation; they hope to find a forever family for themselves.

The story and the siblings reminded my daughter and I of the Pevensies from the Chronicles of Narnia books. They are loyal, determined, persevering, and always looking out for one another. The story also has a magical-like quality to it as well. Even though it deals with some hard issues such as death, effects of war, and bullying, it has a very cozy feel to it. This story exhibits the power of family AND the power of books. All three kids have a love for books and enjoy being at the local library. You will find such wonderful books as Winnie the Pooh, The Count of Monte Cristo, Anne of Green Gables, and Wind in the Willows all mentioned. This is an absolutely delightful, wonderful middle grade novel that both my daughter and I enjoyed immensely!

Watership Down by Richard Adams

Watership Down by Richard Adams
Length: 474 pgs.
Genre: Classics
My Rating: 5 Stars

This book. Wow! I never would have thought a book about rabbits could be so engrossing! It put me in mind so much of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. How? First, the tone and feel of it. Second, it’s the story of a journey which is an epic adventure. And third, it is world-building.

*Tone and feel to the story and the epic journey*
These two kind of go hand in hand. This is a story about a group of rabbits that leave their warren because of the potential threat of danger. They feel danger is imminent and they must leave and find somewhere else to live; even though the thought of it terrifies them. So they embark on this daunting journey. It takes great courage and much resourcefulness. They face threats, danger, and sometimes what seems like insurmountable odds. And the ending very much made me feel like I felt when reading the part in The Hobbit when Bilbo comes back to the Shire after his big adventure.

*World-building*
Yes…worldbuilding…but in a different sense. It is a real world of rabbits and nature but to a different level. It is somewhat anthropomorphic. The animals can talk and share feelings and thoughts. They have a history. Their warren has a history. They have stories they pass down. It is a whole distinctive world.

In this novel, Richard Adams managed to represent the nature of life in this story of rabbits. There are themes of friendship, respect, honor, duty, loyalty, perseverance, fear, and courage. There are wars, fighting, and a great deal of drama. It is a story of survival, triumphs, and growth. The characters have depth and the story is full of beauty and richness. I can’t recommend this book enough!

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
Length: 636 pgs.
Genre: Fiction, Middle Grade
My Rating: 5 Stars

Those who know me, know that I am a huge fan of Selznick’s work. I absolutely loved The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I also read The Marvels in ebook format and loved the story; but Selznick’s works you really do need to read in print because his illustrations are fantastic and also are part of the storyline. So I was tickled to be able to recently buy both The Marvels and Wonderstruck. And now I have all three books in print! I can’t wait to re-read The Marvels now that I can hold the book in my hand and look at all those gorgeous illustrations in print!

Here is just an excerpt from Wonderstruck illustrating Selznick’s amazing artistic skill:

In Wonderstruck, the two main characters are Ben and Rose. Their stories start out in two different times: 1977 for Ben’s story and 1927 for Rose’s story. Ben’s story is told in words and Rose’s story is told in pictures for most of the book.

Ben’s mom has passed away and he’s staying with relatives. He never knew his father. One night Ben finds a locket with a picture of who he thinks must be his father and that sets him on a journey to find his father.

Rose has great interest in an actress whom she keeps a scrapbook of. Eventually, she runs away on a quest to find this actress and that sets her off on a journey as well.

I can’t say much about either of these journeys, especially Rose’s, because it would give away points of the story. And I don’t want to give any spoilers. What I can tell you is that these two separate stories weave in and out and eventually merge. And at the point that they merge, the pictures and words merge as well. It was so brilliantly done!

Selznick tells these stories in Wonderstruck in a heartfelt way and with much depth. One of the key elements the book explores is the deaf community and Deaf culture. In the Author’s note, Selznick says:

While I was working on The Invention of Hugo Cabret, I saw a documentary called Through Deaf Eyes, about the history of Deaf culture in America…I was especially fascinated by a section about cinema and the new technology of sound, which was introduced into the movies in 1927. Prior to this, both deaf and hearing populations could enjoy the cinema together. Sound movies, for the first time, excluded the deaf. That insight was the beginning of Rose’s story. The documentary also featured an interview with a young deaf man who was raised by hearing parents, as many deaf people are. It wasn’t until he went to college and met other deaf people that he felt he had really found his community. That fascinated me, and I became intrigued by the idea of looking for one’s culture outside of one’s biological family…

Since I knew early on that both of my main characters would be deaf, I wanted to learn as much as possible about Deaf culture. I read books, conducted interviews, and had conversations with people who are deaf or who are experts on aspects of Deaf culture…” (p. 630, 632)

And Selznick goes on to talk about all that in more detail. He also did quite a bit of research in different areas as well in order to tell these stories. As I was reading the book, I didn’t realize that the Ahnighito was a real thing or that Gunflint Lake was an actual place. So I looked them up and read more about them. Definitely make sure to read the Author’s Note so you can see all the research that went into this book!

There is a magical quality to this book, as there is to The Invention of Hugo Cabret and The Marvels. And I love that quality about them! Wonderstruck is beautifully and compassionately written. It is magical and mesmerizing and full of wonder. This is hands down one of my favorite reads for this year!

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
Length: 576 pgs.
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

From the Publisher’s Description:

In June 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the juvenile work farm where he has just served fifteen months for involuntary manslaughter. His mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, Emmett’s intention is to pick up his eight-year-old brother, Billy, and head to California where they can start their lives anew. But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden’s car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett’s future, one that will take them all on a fateful journey in the opposite direction—to the city of New York.

Spanning just ten days and told from multiple points of view, Towles’s third novel will satisfy fans of his multi-layered literary styling while providing them an array of new and richly imagined settings, characters, and themes.

My Thoughts:

From the beginning, Towles’ style of writing immediately emanated off the page. From very early on, Billy and Woolly stole my heart. Yet I also quickly became invested in all four of these boys’ lives that had been written on the pages of this book.

Enter The Lincoln Highway. I had not known about this highway honestly. And that sent me off on a rabbit trail to learn more about it. So let’s chat a bit about that!

*Click on each individual picture to read the description. Image credits: Wikipedia.


The Lincoln Highway was an idea formulated in the mind of Carl G. Fisher back in 1912 – the idea of an automobile highway that would span across the United States. And this idea eventually became a reality. The Lincoln Highway became one of the earliest transcontinental highways for automobiles in the US. It ran from Times Square in New York City to Lincoln Park in San Francisco.

The Lincoln Highway is a very present aspect of Towles’ book. Hence the title. However, I was surprised at how various turns of events painted a different picture of the presence of the Lincoln Highway than I originally thought would be the case at the beginning of the book. Towles takes the reader on a totally unexpected journey full of twists and turns, including some events that will leave you in tears.

I’ve only read one other book so far by Amor Towles and that is A Gentleman in Moscow. I loved that book and have read it twice now. When I began reading The Lincoln Highway, I immediately recognized the style of writing that was present in A Gentleman in Moscow. The structure is different but the brilliant writing style is ever present.

The Lincoln Highway is insightful, moving and powerful. When I turned the last page, I immediately wanted to go back and read it again. Towles wrote very real and complex characters and compassionately told a story with stunning prose and heartfelt writing.

Reflecting on My 2021 Reading Year

The last week of December is usually a week where I actually read less. I typically spend this week looking back over my reading year – logging my reading stats, wrapping up my reading journal, getting my new reading journal set up. I will be doing my typical Reading Year Wrap-Up in a separate post. Today, I am taking time for reflections.

Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

This week, I am taking time to look back and ask myself questions:

  • Is there anything I’d like to do differently with my reading next year?
  • How did I do this year in reading widely? (This is a continual goal for me.)
  • Do I want to participate in any reading challenges or projects?
  • Do I want to set any reading goals for next year? If so, what kind of goals?

I have been considering what I want to do differently while thinking what I want my 2022 reading year to look like. There are a few things I have learned about myself as a reader over the years:

(1) I love to read with others.

(2) I am a mood reader but also a scheduled reader.

(3) Pushing myself to finish books I’m not enjoying can quickly send me into burn-out.

(4) I actually enjoy participating in a reading challenge. However, I don’t like to let a reading challenge dictate my reading life.

(5) I like to read widely. Even though I do read a lot of classics, I do like to read from a wide variety of genres from contemporary to classics to non-fiction to middle grade novels.

(6) I like to include reading for knowledge – whether it’s a book on philosophy or science or poetry or history… whether it’s a more challenging book (in any genre) that increases my understanding simply by attempting to read it… (Adler speaks about this in his book How to Read a Book)

I can take this list of things and use it as the foundation for setting reading goals or intentions for the new year ahead. So, it’s this list of things I’ve learned about myself as a reader that I will be thinking about when mapping out this coming reading year for myself. I will likely share more details about this here on my blog. But for now, I’m reflecting, considering, pondering.

If you’d like to reflect on your reading year, it’s easy. Simply take some time to think about what you enjoy. You can ask yourself the same basic questions I am asking myself:

  • Is there anything I’d like to do differently with my reading next year?
  • How did I do this year in the goals I set for my reading? (For example, reading widely is a continual goal of mine. So I would look at that goal and assess how I did with it.)
  • Do I want to participate in any reading challenges or projects?
  • Do I want to set any reading goals for next year? If so, what kind of goals?

I’d love to hear how your reading year has gone! I will be sharing more about mine in upcoming posts. 🙂