9 Book Superlatives for the First Half 2022
A few weeks ago, I spent some time updating my reading log for the year, giving some attention to my reading life and reflecting on the first half of my reading year. I’ve clocked in 45 books from January 1 through June 30.
Below are the highlights (in the form of superlatives) with favorite quotes and some beautiful photos of the settings of some of the books.
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A book I’m not surprised I loved: I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet by Shauna Niequist
“I know it might seem antithetical to move to the city that never sleeps in search of a smaller, quieter life. But that’s what we’ve done…
I thought I needed a great army of friends, eleven sets of dishes, six pairs of boots, and two thousand books. I thought I needed an institution, a board of directors, a cozy blanket of like minded, supportive people spread all over the country who would have my back in a heartbeat. Turns out you need three sweaters, rent money, and give really good people You need eggs and coffee. A Kindle account, a metro card, and one good umbrella.”
A book I’ll keep thinking about for a while: The Great Sex Rescue by Sheila Wray Gregoire
“When we unquestioningly buy into traditional gender roles, we create a strange dynamic in marriage in which we view each other as categories rather than people."
Runner-up: Rethinking Sex by Christine Emba
A book that was fun: State of Terror by Louise Penny and Hillary Rodham Clinton
“At that level of politics, Ellen Adams was appreciating if you weren’t at the table, you were on the menu.”
A book I couldn’t put down: The Making of Us by Lisa Jewell
“Lydia had always felt divided from the rest of the world, elevated almost. She’d always felt cleverer and quieter and stronger and more self-sufficient. Her dad had made her that way. He’d built her up to believe that she was invincible. And alone. And she was.”
A book that felt like a friend: Wise Counsel by John Newton
“Such is the power, care and compassion of my great Shepherd that, prone as I am to wander, He keeps me from wandering quite away.”
Runner-up: Unapologetic by Francis Spufford
A book I’m glad I re-read: How To Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind by Dana K. White
“My attention span and my available time and my caring-whatsoever-about-this-mess are not guaranteed to exist in Later Land, so I can’t go there.”
A book I adored (ADORED): Anxious People by Frederick Backman
“They say that a person’s personality is the sum of their experiences. But that isn’t true, at least not entirely, because if our past was all that defined us, we’d never be able to put up with ourselves. We need to be allowed to convince ourselves that we’re more than the mistakes we made yesterday. That we are all of our next choices too, all of our tomorrows.”
A book that surprised me and broke my heart in the best way: Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
“The kids were happy… They didn’t want to set the world on fire. They just wanted to be less alone in it.”
A book that came at the right time: Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
“The Enemy wants him, in the end, to be so free from any bias in his own favour that he can rejoice in his own talents as frankly and gratefully as in his neighbour’s talents-or in a sunrise, an elephant, or a waterfall.”
“He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger, than when a human, no longer desiring, but intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”
I just finished The Foundling and found it a page-turner. I'd previously done some research and written a short story about these "homes for feeble-minded" in our nation's history, after visiting the site of the former Maine School for the Feeble-Minded. Fascinating and disturbing.