Here’s to another year of reading, friends! I always appreciate taking time to reflect on the books I read in a year, the places they took me, and the connections they fostered. It’s so satisfying and happy to be able to look back on a year of many great books, and 2023 was certainly that! I hope you enjoy my favorites and full list from the year and are perhaps inspired to try something new from it. Here are the favorites, re-reads, and the random stats that I and maybe three other people find fun :) 

Total Books Read (that were new to me): 42

Books Re-read: 10

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery

Anne’s House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery

Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson

Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry

Format Stats (for the 42 books new to me)

Read the physical book: 26/42 – 62% 

Listened to the audiobook: 10/42 – 24%

Read the book on Kindle: 6/42 – 14%

I think I have both my 2023 travels and the discovery of two excellent series on Kindle to thank for the increased reading on my Kindle this year.

Other Fun Stats (also for the 42 books new to me)

Books by male authors: 18

Books by female authors: 22

I didn’t include in this breakdown two books that are both compilations of a sort. One is a collection of essays by many smart men and women (Why We Create), and one is a collection of testimonials originally written by men, but edited and compiled by a woman (Wonders of Grace).

Most-read author: A three-way tie between James Herriot, L.M. Montgomery, and A.J. Pearce at three books from each! That would be a fun dinner.

Shortest book: Someone I Know is Grieving by Edward T. Welch, 80 pages

Longest book: A Winter by the Sea by Julie Klassen, 448 pages

Favorite Books of 2023 (of those that were new to me, and listed in no particular order)

A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus: I may have found a new “automatic buy” author in Kate Albus. She writes books focused on children with authenticity and emotional awareness, and her weaving of historical events around children balances knowledge with joy. This one focuses on three young siblings evacuated to the English countryside during WWII. In search of a home and family, they find refuge in their new village’s local library. Heartwarming, comforting, and hopeful.

All Creatures Great and Small series by James Herriot: Again, I couldn’t possibly choose one favorite from Herriot’s memoirs, so I’m including all of those I read this year in this item – All Things Wise and Wonderful, The Lord God Made Them All, and Every Living Thing. I loved each of these and felt genuine sadness when I finished. I don’t think I’ve ever read a series more purely delightful or more suited to relaxing bedtime reading. I already miss it!

Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse: What can I say about Wodehouse that hasn’t already been said somewhere? He’s the gold standard of British comedy for good reason. That bicycle sequence at the end of this one put me in stitches.

The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse: I personally couldn’t pick a favorite between Right Ho and Code, though many consider Code Wodehouse’s absolute best. This one somehow manages to weave suspense with all the absurd humor, which delighted and impressed me.

When the Day Comes by Gabrielle Meyer: This is the first book in one of my new favorite historical fiction series by a contemporary author. Easy reading, but I found the premise so clever and loved the historical detail. The main character, Libby, has two parallel lives – one in 1774 Williamsburg and one in 1914 New York and England. On her 21st birthday, she must choose which life to live out for the rest of her years. Suspenseful and fascinating.

The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera: Gentle, insightful, and as I’ve already detailed, the most charming book I read in 2023. I think about this one regularly and expect I will for a long time to come.

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce: The first of my other new favorite historical fiction series by a modern writer! This one focuses on women of the home front in London during WWII, particularly on one Emmaline Lake, a feisty and funny girl who dreams of becoming a war correspondent, but finds herself working for a failing women’s magazine instead. Fun historical premise and uproariously funny. 

Prisoners of the Castle by Ben Macintyre: Ever heard of Colditz, the Nazis’ “fortress prison”? I hadn’t until I read this book. Reserved for the most escape-prone, anti-German, and politically valuable prisoners of WWII, Colditz was known for its management as a “gentlemen’s prison” and for a built-in culture of escape attempts. Reads like a compelling spy novel.

The Arrow & the Crown by Emma C. Fox: I was fortunate enough to meet Emma Fox and do some work with her newest book this year (also amazing!), so I picked up this, her first book, to get acclimated. It’s a gorgeous, spellbinding Beauty & the Beast retelling that draws from old fairytales and C.S. Lewis.

Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery: I’ve long been abashed that I, perhaps the greatest advocate of the Anne of Green Gables series, had not actually read the whole series. I’m so glad that finally changed in 2023! This final volume about Anne’s youngest daughter, who passes years of her youth during the First World War, is truly a shining jewel of the series. 

Poems by C.S. Lewis: Many of Lewis’s poems are heady, but plenty also echo the accessible theology of his essays and the wonder-filled tone of his fiction. I’ve thought about his poem “On Being Human” at least once a week since I read it. 

This Day: Collected and New Sabbath Poems by Wendell Berry: Berry’s favorite subjects – land, community, earth, faith, love, and so on – are as present in this collection as in any of his other work. But he still finds new ways to turn them, like diamonds in hand, to catch new rays of light that make me stop, marvel, and consider them yet again. I loved reading this collection over several months, morning by morning.

Honorable Mentions

A Shadow in Moscow by Katherine Reay

Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery

The Path to Being a Pastor by Bobby Jamieson

The Carver & the Queen by Emma C. Fox

Can't wait to read and discuss more good books with you all in 2024! What are your recommendations?

My full 2023 book list (new-to-me books, listed in the order completed):

Rejoice and Tremble by Michael Reeves

Beyond the Wand by Tom Felton

The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie

A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus

Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot

Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse

Code Name Edelweiss by Stephanie Landsem

The Queen of Ebenezer by K.B. Hoyle

When the Day Comes by Gabrielle Meyer 

The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty

Coronation Year by Jennifer Robson

The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera

In This Moment by Gabrielle Meyer

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico

Yours Cheerfully by A.J. Pearce

Summerhaven by Tiffany Odekirk

The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie

This Day: Collected and New Sabbath Poems by Wendell Berry

Prisoners of the Castle by Ben Macintyre

The Arrow & the Crown by Emma C. Fox

The Carver & the Queen by Emma C. Fox

Wonders of Grace, compiled by Hannah Wyncoll

Mrs. Porter Calling by A.J. Pearce

A Shadow in Moscow by Katherine Reay

Why We Create, edited by Jane Clark Scharl and Brian Brown

The Lord God Made Them All by James Herriot

Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Poems by C.S. Lewis

Rainbow Valley by L.M. Montgomery

Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery

The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin

Someone I Know is Grieving by Edward T. Welch

The Path to Being a Pastor by Bobby Jamieson

Nothing Else But Miracles by Kate Albus

A Winter by the Sea by Julie Klassen

North! Or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson

Every Living Thing by James Herriot

Herbert: Poems (selected poems of George Herbert)

Every once in a while, I read a book that reminds me of when Juliet Ashton of The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society quips that books might have a homing instinct that leads them to their perfect readers. This year, if such a book found me, it was The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera. I read it while vacationing in Scotland, which proved the perfect combination of delights. In a spirit pleasantly similar to that of Guernsey, Miss Prim whisks its reader to a heaven-on-earth European village called San Ireneo de Arnois. Once there, said reader finds a haven of books, good food, delightful characters, and, surprisingly, potential challenges to assumptions and values. As mentioned, I felt like this book found me, which speaks to how perfect it felt for me, but I think its charm can reach readers of many types and preferences.

The Awakening of Miss Prim focuses on Prudencia Prim, a young woman who has seemingly everything the modern woman would want – several degrees, respected career, and the approval of her peers. And yet, she’s weary and disillusioned, longing for escape from schedules, noise, and workdays. She wants to find rest and true beauty, she says. So, she takes a job as personal librarian to a man living in San Ireneo de Arnois, a village that prides itself on welcoming people worn out by modernity. After settling in, she meets a colorful cast of characters who slowly and unassumingly turn her worldview upside down. 

On a first read of Miss Prim, you might only partially notice the provocative ideas it espouses. It doesn’t shy away from voicing controversial opinions on topics like education, feminism, marriage, economics, how men and women relate to one another, rearing children, what constitutes “great books,” how to measure progress, and more. Yet somehow, the dialogue and setting enfold the reader effortlessly, enabling the deeper ideas to sneak past normal human defensiveness. Before you know it, you might be considering the world from a perspective quite different from your own.

How does the author do it?

I think it’s by simply charming the reader. Everything about Miss Prim delights. I never quite worked out where San Ireneo de Arnois was located in Europe, but I want to go there even now. The village people believe that family, conversation, reflection, and simple pleasures ought to be the foundation of everyday life. All interactions take place over steaming cups of tea, fresh scones, and fancy cake. Good books fill every house in the village and a cheery fire roars in the background of every scene. And against this heartening backdrop, Miss Prim then meets one person after another who not only welcome her, but desire to know her deeply. Quirky and fun and astute, all of them steal their way into her heart with their care, hospitality, and age-old wisdom. Their piercing questions infuriate her, even while slowing her down and inviting her into the fellowship and contemplation she longs for. San Ireneo de Arnois’ jolly inhabitants meet Miss Prim where she is, but with gentle determination, do not let her stay there. She arrives world-weary, saying that she wants the rest and beauty the village offers. But she gradually realizes that the beauty and rest she really needs—and that the village people preach—will insist on changing her. One wise character tells Miss Prim, 

“You say you’re looking for beauty, but this isn’t the way to achieve it, my dear friend. You won’t find it while you look to yourself, as if everything revolved around you. Don’t you see? It’s exactly the other way around, precisely the other way around. You mustn’t be careful, you must get hurt. What I am trying to explain, child, is that unless you allow the beauty you seek to hurt you, to break you and knock you down, you’ll never find it.”

Will Miss Prim open herself up to that kind of beauty? Will the reader? This book makes a compelling case for true beauty—the beauty of Christianity—not merely by arguing, but by painting a picture of how Christian love and ethics might operate in an everyday, tight-knit community. While an idealized picture, it’s a beautiful one that will charm and perhaps even persuade along the way. I loved this book and hope you will too.

(Florence Pugh, Saoirse Ronan, and Emma Watson as Amy, Jo, and Meg in Greta Gerwig's Little Women; Source: WallpaperAccess)

One of my favorite dialogues from the Greta Gerwig's recent film adaptation of Little Women comes near its end as Jo March describes her latest writing project to sisters Meg and Amy. She worries that “a story of domestic struggles and joys” won’t interest people, but Amy counters that perhaps such stories just don’t seem important because no one writes them yet. She encourages Jo to press on, saying, “Writing about them will make them more important.” 

I appreciate the dramatic irony of the scene, as Louisa May Alcott’s domestic tale did indeed make such stories important. For me, Little Women feels like a diamond that catches a new shade of light with each read. It especially comes to mind when I consider the home I desire. I discussed last year how Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry helped me reimagine homemaking as an adult. Little Women holds a different role in that it’s been part of the furniture of my mind since early youth. As my desires and views for home and family have matured, the story of the March family has taught me a few truths I hold onto. 

1. Beauty and imagination in a home are means to loving well with it 

Throughout Little Women, the March household is a riot of color, vibrancy, laughter, and creativity. Sisters Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy have wonderfully varied personalities and interests. Their steadfast mother, “Marmee,” wisely shapes the home to cultivate the girls’ senses of wonder, guide them as they fight their faults, and harness their strengths for good. The result in their home, Orchard House, is a beautiful symphony of art, work, and companionship. 

Unsurprisingly, as a young reader, I didn’t fully appreciate Marmee’s centrality to the story. Now I see her as its irreplaceable backbone, for it is she who makes Orchard House a haven of beauty, learning, and care, not only for her girls, but also for friends and neighbors. She does so by ordering it around virtue and goodness, guiding her daughters’ minds and desires towards them at every turn. In the first chapter, readers learn that she raised the girls on the story of Pilgrim’s Progress, teaching them the lifelong journey towards heaven. The story captivates the girls’ imaginations for their whole lives and remains a constant help through joy and trial. 

Marmee also lovingly cultivates each daughter’s interests, always encouraging worthy work and play. Because of Marmee’s encouragement, Beth’s piano playing fills Orchard House, Amy’s drawings grow in skill, and Jo and Meg continually write and act in homemade plays for the enjoyment of many. She models for all of them the art of homemaking, which later looks different for each daughter, but all four use their future homes to cherish good things and serve others because of their mother’s example. 

2. A beautiful home reaches out and welcomes the goodness others can bring in 

On that note, Marmee also models extravagant generosity, both materially and relationally. Rather than withdrawing from others when hardships of the Civil War might have excused it, Marmee continually reaches out and teaches her girls to do the same. In a well-known early scene, she suggests giving away their unusually hearty Christmas breakfast to a needy family, and the girls cheerfully agree. And because of Marmee’s involvement in the war effort and various charities, Orchard House becomes known as a place sure to lend a helping hand. 

And as readers know well, the March women welcome a neighboring house of lonely men into their lives. The love found between the two houses forever reshapes everyone in them. Young Laurie Laurence comes into the Marches’ lives starved for affection, and the love overflowing at Orchard House gives him new vision for a real family. Marmee and the four sisters adopt him as a son and brother with eagerness that catches the attention of Laurie’s grandfather, Mr. Laurence, and his tutor, Mr. Brooke. Mr. Laurence, nursing long-ago grief, finds new purpose in becoming a protector to this house of women during their father’s absence in the war. And in time, gentle Beth somehow pierces Mr. Laurence’s long-held proverbial armor. Mr. Brooke, virtually alone in the world, encounters warmth and care for the first time in years in the Marches. All three of these men and all of the March women find forever family in each other, largely because of Orchard House’s determination to welcome and care for those who come in. 

3. Those who let themselves be shaped by both joy and grief are equipped to make a beautiful home 

Only in reading Little Women as an adult did I realize what a profound exploration of grief it offers. This manifests most clearly when death touches the March family through the tragic loss of Beth March. And even in their grief, the characters ultimately respond in hope, allowing sorrow’s touch to be at once painful and sanctifying to their souls. In letting both joy and grief work on them, they make better and more beautiful homes for those they love. 

Of all the characters, Jo becomes the most poignant example of a heart and a future home shaped by both gladness and sorrow. In an unlikely reversal of roles, timid Beth becomes the strongest of the Marches as she prepares to meet death, that ultimate and most fearsome of human enemies. And Jo, historically rough and audacious, learns new gentleness in keeping vigil at Beth’s bedside. As Beth gracefully accepts her end, Jo learns new patience and tranquility, letting grief soften her soul and vision for the future. Her journey is best expressed in a poem she writes on one of Beth’s final nights: 

“…Thus our parting daily loseth 
Something of its bitter pain, 
And while learning this hard lesson, 
My great loss becomes my gain. 
For the touch of grief will render 
My wild nature more serene,
Give to life new aspirations,
A new trust in the unseen.” (Alcott, p. 477-478)

Jo’s reshaped heart and life become Beth’s most beautiful legacy. With her parents’ help, she learns to “accept life without despondency or distrust, and to use its beautiful opportunities with gratitude and power” (Alcott, p. 497). In the days following her initial grief, Jo’s life does indeed become lovely and full. She writes thoughtful poetry and short stories, joyfully pouring out her heart on the page, instead of feverishly writing for money and approval as she once did. When Professor Friedrich Bhaer comes back into her life unexpectedly, she recognizes his value more deeply than she first did. Before long, the March sister who once said she’d never marry learns to open her heart to the love of a good man. Their home, while sparse, becomes one of the happiest in the neighborhood. It serves not only them and their children, but also becomes a home and school to love-starved orphan boys. Jo’s life and home look different from her youthful visions, but they are full and shaped by love of good things, sure testaments to how joy and grief have both worked their beautifying touches on her. 

Several years ago, I had the amazing opportunity to visit the real Orchard House, Louisa May Alcott’s home in Concord, Massachusetts. I distinctly remember the tightening in my chest as I ran a hand over the desk where she had written Little Women. Domestic stories now overflow the book world, but I maintain that Little Women still takes the title of the most important one. Its vision of hope, generosity, and beauty in the home has touched generations, undoubtedly shaping many girls’ dreams for their own homes. I know that Orchard House and the laughter of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy will always live in my mind’s eye, helping me make a home wherever I live. I hope and pray that my home offers the kind of love and heavenly-mindedness that theirs did.

Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts

Autumn has always thrilled me at a soul-deep level. Every year, when the temperatures cool and the sun mellows, it feels to me like a proverbial homecoming. I relish the inevitable gusty rain of late September that gives way to October’s flaming scarlet glory. I’m rarely happier than I am on a crisp, autumn morning with candles burning and a mug of tea warming my hands. And in recent years, I’ve realized that I want to live well in the posture of autumn. Contemplative yet longing, surrendering yet zealous, content with the present yet hopeful of better things in the future. 

Of all the seasons, autumn most embodies what it means to live in the tension of the already and not yet. The sun burns harvest orange as the days shorten and shadows lengthen. It prepares to recede into winter’s mists, but not without burnishing the sky to glowing majesty one last time. As the earth retreats for its long annual sleep, it sings out with wild, red yearning, clothing itself in dazzling color once more. The trees grow fierce and crimson just before winter wraps them in her heavy grey mantle. Though the leaves will curl and drop, they will not go without a passionate reddening first, incantating with bright promise that beauty will come again. 

And even as earth surrenders to winter’s grip, beneath the rich mould of fallen leaves, the seed’s marrow and the tree’s sap still flow, making ready new life. Autumn’s colors herald this ongoing yet invisible work, telling me to hold on, to wait expectantly with a melody in my heart for the coming kingdom of beauty that is not of this earth. As I watch the trees burst into fiery autumn splendor, I’m reminded that I, too, can laugh at the time to come even while creation groans. As the shadows deepen, my flickering candles, whistling kettle, and hearty feasts with friends declare alongside the brilliant leaves that death is not the end. In earth’s vivid farewell to the year’s life and memories, I see an invitation to vibrant, vigorous expectancy. I want to meet all of life’s changes, joys, and sorrows with autumn’s amber song of determined hope, looking towards an approaching beauty that will never die.

“It was October again…a glorious October, all red and gold, with mellow mornings when the valleys were filled with delicate mists as if the spirit of autumn had poured them in for the sun to drain – amethyst, pearl, silver, rose, and smoke-blue. The dews were so heavy that the fields glistened like cloth of silver and there were such heaps of rustling leaves in the hollows of many-stemmed woods to run crisply through.” –L.M. Montgomery

Well, I’m late to the party, but I’d also rather be late on these kinds of lists than early. I do not understand all of you who share your favorite books of the year at the start or middle of December – don’t you know you have full weeks of prime reading time left in the year? What if you discover a new favorite between Christmas and New Year’s??

That said, I read lots of great books in 2022. As I reflect on another year of reading, I’m struck by the gift that reading is. Because when I think about a year of reading, I don’t just picture an impressive-looking stack of books (though that’s cool to imagine). I think fondly of places I visited via the pages of that stack, of poignant lessons learned, and of friendships grown and strengthened through reading together. I’m already excited to imagine the gifts that my 2023 reading might have in store, and I hope my 2022 reading recap here might inspire you to travel somewhere new through one of these books, or to experience the delights of an old favorite book again, but as if for the first time. So, here are my lists and nerdy book lover stats for 2022 J

Total Books Read (new to me): 40

Books Re-read: 7 –

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Persuasion by Jane Austen

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Son of the Deep by K.B. Hoyle

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

Format Stats:

Read the physical book: 24.5/40 – 60%

Listened to the audiobook: 12.5/40 – 31%

Read the book on Kindle: 3/40 – 7.5%

This breakdown is fairly well back to its pre-2020 normal, but my Kindle is still fighting for its place. And yes, the decimal numbers do mean that I completed one book on 2022’s list –Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh – with both the hard copy and the audiobook. Probably an imperfect estimate, but it’s close. 

Other Fun Stats:

Male-authored books: 16

Female-authored books: 24

Most-read author: a tie between Wendell Berry and Agatha Christie at three books from each!

Shortest book: A Child’s Garden of Verses, 67 pages

Longest book: Anna Karenina, 838 pages 

Favorites of 2022 (in no particular order):

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – My first Russian novel, and wow, what a masterpiece. I was intimidated by the big Russian novels for many years, but I was thoroughly, pleasantly surprised and moved by this doorstop classic. Many know Anna Karenina for the titular character’s immoral choices, but I now think it’s more accurate to say that it explores and contrasts the fallout of a life spent pursuing selfishness against that of a life lived in self-denying service of others. If you want an entryway into the Russian novels, I highly recommend this one. I also heartily commend the discussions on it from the Close Reads Podcast. These episodes require a paid subscription, but I promise it’s WELL worth even just a month or two of investment! These conversations were instrumental to my understanding and enjoyment of Anna Karenina, and I’m confident that anyone would get at least twice as much out of it by reading it along with the marvelous literary guides of this podcast.

Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry – Will I ever go a year now without reading something by Wendell Berry? At the moment, I doubt it J Jayber Crow is now firmly in my favorites from him. It wrestles profoundly with faith, home, love, loss, family, and community through the eyes of Jayber Crow, the barber of Port William, Kentucky, and even though Berry says many of the same things in most of his work, somehow, he keeps making them shine anew. I read Jayber Crow with a friend (highly recommend that strategy for this one), and she observed that it’s impossible to speed-read Wendell Berry, which I think encapsulates him well. His writing is so deliberate and focused that it compels slowness. As he reflects on the sacredness of ordinary life, I am obliged to do the same, to my continual good.

All Creatures Great and Small Series by James Herriot – “How did you not grow up with James Herriot?” you might well ask. Well, I’ve been asking the same thing for the last year, I assure you! Somehow the delightful tales of James Herriot’s veterinary adventures in rural Yorkshire completely passed me by in childhood, but I’m making up for it now. I discovered Herriot’s stories because of the charming new TV adaptation of his books, but I’m happily staying for the show, books, and anything more. In 2022, I read the first two books in his memoir series, All Creatures Great and Small and All Things Bright and Beautiful, and yes, I’m counting them both in this list item J

Honorable Mentions:

Son of the Deep by K.B. Hoyle – A charming, magical retelling of The Little Mermaid that will make you laugh, cry, and daydream.

The Vanished Days by Susanna Kearsley – Yet another spellbinding journey through 1700s Scotland that keeps you guessing till the end, in true Kearsley style.

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles – I dove into Towles’s work in 2022 and was so glad this was my first from him. His exquisite prose and dynamic characters bring 1940s New York to glamorous life on the page.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles – A count confined to a luxury hotel at the height of the Bolshevik Revolution? Some might not buy it, but I was there for it. The Close Reads Podcast also discussed this one in 2022 and it was one of my favorite sets of episodes (and they’re available for free!)

The Sisters of Sea View by Julie Klassen – I look forward to my annual jaunt to England with Julie Klassen’s characters. This one provided a lovely escape to the Devon coast, and I’m already excited to go back when the next one in the series comes out this year!

Andy Catlett: Early Travels by Wendell Berry – A moving reflection on the contrasts between our current times and those that came before, explored through the eyes of a young Andy Catlett visiting his grandparents at Christmas. Having lost three grandparents in the last 18 months, I found this one deeply affecting and thought-provoking.

That’s all for now, friends! I hope you find something good to read from among these lists. Please drop your suggestions for my 2023 reading in the comments!

Full 2022 Book List (new-to-me books, listed in the order completed)

Waiting on the Word by Malcolm Guite

The Vanished Days by Susanna Kearsley

Letters from the Mountain by Ben Palpant

Reading the Sermon on the Mount with John Stott by John Stott with Douglas Connelly

Carved in Ebony by Jasmine Holmes

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

Aggressively Happy by Joy Clarkson

Son of the Deep by K.B. Hoyle

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

The Generosity: Poems by Luci Shaw

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Deeper by Dane Ortlund

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr

The Vanishing at Loxby Manor by Abigail Wilson

Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

The Murder of Mr. Wickham by Claudia Gray

Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot

Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

Of Paupers and Peers by Sheri Cobb South

The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie

The Gathering Table by Kathryn Springer

Love Practically by Nichole Van

Adjacent But Only Just by Nichole Van

The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons

Given: Poems by Wendell Berry

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Harvesting Fog: Poems by Luci Shaw

Crooked House by Agatha Christie

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Six by K.B. Hoyle

Holier Than Thou by Jackie Hill Perry

Beneath His Silence by Hannah Linder

The Sisters of Sea View by Julie Klassen

Andy Catlett: Early Travels by Wendell Berry

The Windsor Knot by S.J. Bennett

Jane Austen’s Genius Guide to Life by Haley Stewart