Favorite Books of 2022

In 2020, I read 70 books. In 2021, I read 72 books. This year I aimed for 75...and read (drumroll)...a whopping 22. That's right. Just 22 books (so far) in 2023, but as previously mentioned, life has been a little hectic, leaving very little time for anything on my "like to do" list, such as blogging, taking naps, and sipping Starbucks' skinny caramel macchiatos.

But of the books I did manage to read this year, a few stood out as favorites. You can find the complete list of everything I read on Goodreads (if we haven't connected there yet, I invite you to join me - it's my favorite social media site because it requires nothing more than reviewing books and getting recommendations from fellow bookworms...in other words, an introvert's paradise!).  

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Hank & Jim: The Fifty-Year Friendship of Henry Fonda and James Stewart by Scott Eyman
I can't quite put my finger on why I enjoyed this as much as I did, except for the fact that it's history and it's part of the world that is dying off. Caution must be given on the language of the book (primarily quotes), but otherwise, this was an interesting history of two men who rose through the ranks in Hollywood, served their country well in WWII, and found a way to make a lasting friendship despite a difference of opinions on politics, religion, and other such heated topics. Maybe we should all take a page out of Jim and Hank's book...

If you're interested in the world of Shakespeare and Company at Kilometer Zero in Paris, just across the river from Notre Dame...then you'd enjoy this book. An insider view of the world of George Whitman (son of Walt...not the poet) and his strange little communist/capitalist empire. In this book, the author details the life of a bookstore sojourner, poor and hungry, and the world of those who seek sanctuary at the famous Shakespeare and Company. While it's not a world that I would fit into (other than the desire to read a book every day) with the free sex and pro-Communist leanings, it was still interesting to get a small glance into the world behind the shelves and meet the transient authors and artists who temporarily (or sometimes not so temporarily) take up residence thanks to George and his open-door view.

Think Oceans 11The Italian Job, and Jason Bourne, only with a homeschooled American boy who wanted money to buy a nice flute so he could play classical music with a German orchestra. Truth truly is stranger than fiction. Without giving anything away, let me just say that although the long arm of the law did, eventually, catch up to him, justice was not served. In a plot twist that would fit well in Catch Me If You Can, Rist and his feathers are still free in the world, much to the chagrin of Johnson, who slowly became obsessed with this unusual heist, and the man who got away with it.

God's Samurai: Lead Pilot at Pearl Harbor
by Gordon W. Prange, Donald M. Goldstein, Katherine V. Dillon
Historically, I enjoyed the Japanese perspective of WWII, which we rarely get in the U.S. unless we actively seek it out, and not at all in school, unless it's to tell us how Japan was evil and attacked us and tortured POWs. So from a historical standpoint, I learned a lot and enjoyed a different point of view. But from a writing standpoint, I've definitely read better. It felt a little academic and stiff, like we were given the facts but there were a lot of holes. Fuchida's years-long affair with Kimi was unsatisfactorily explained, and very little seems to be known about his faithful wife. Still an interesting story, definitely worth reading if you're interested in WWII, Japan, or this Navel pilot and contemporary of Louis Zamperini (from whom we get an entirely different view of the Japanese military).

If you've read any of these, I'd love to hear your thoughts on them. Or if you had a stand-out book this year from your list, I'd love to hear about that as well. I mean, all good bookworms can use another book recommendation, right?

For 2023, the plan is to continue working through "The Stack" on my nightstand (which seems to be growing, rather than shrinking...the life of a bookworm with no time, eh?), and I've grabbed a few good deals on Kindle books this fall that I'd really like to read on my phone as I find (or make) the time. More on that whole idea of "making time" in a later post, so stay tuned! In the meantime, to my fellow bibliophiles...happy reading!  

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