I read 28 books in 2022, and that’s a record for me! I set a goal of 25 for 2022, so to meet—and surpass—felt so rewarding.
I’ve always tried to incorporate reading into my routines (#1 rule for being a decent writer: you need to read to write). However, my reading habits ebb and flow with our lifestyle. For example, during our nomadic years living out of a van, I hardly read. Every once in awhile, I would load a book to our Kindle, but without a local library and without space to store many physical books, I was limited. Now that we’ve settled again, my paperback stack keeps outgrowing our tiny cabin. Thankfully, I have friends that allow me to pillage their piles, and I also tap into our library’s digital collection. Also, a nice unexpected bonus to being an author: book exchanges! All that to say, I’m reading more and more these past 2 years and I love it. I typically reserve at least 30 minutes before bed for my reading practice.
I always recap the books I’m reading in my Currently posts, but I thought it would be fruitful to revisit my top 3 books from 2022. When I reassessed my favorites, there’s an absolute trend: I prefer nonfiction adventure books where the writing makes me feel immersed in the activity.
A Year in the Wilderness: Bearing Witness in the Wilderness by Amy & Dave Freeman
Here’s a perfect example of that style I like: poetic nature descriptions that put me in the scene, major dose of inspiration (from a couple, to boot) and an actual plot/purpose to the story. Amy & Dave spent a year in the Boundary Waters Wilderness in every season with the purpose of understanding its inner workings. The intent was to take a stand to protect the watershed from commercial development, particularly copper mining. Their efforts were part of a bigger campaign, and after their year in the wilderness, some mining leases were ultimately denied (I think they were eventually overturned, but that’s beside the point). This is a dang good book, even if you’re not necessarily connected with Boundary Waters.
Jill is another endlessly inspiring human with her seemingly limitless endurance and persistence. I had already admired her lively and detailed writing for years through the blogosphere, but this was the first book of hers I’ve read (she has 7!). This one is about her 2016 bike ride on the Iditarod Trail. For those that don’t immediately know what that means, let me paint a picture: She rode 1,000 miles on a bicycle across Alaska IN THE WINTER, you know, across snow in -30 degrees with wind making it more like -50. The 2016 Iditarod bike ride was the first of many human-powered Iditarod races for her. I need to keep devouring more of her books (they are a tad hard to get my hands on).
This Much Country by Kristin Knight Pace
Kristin used to live in Healy (she still lives in Alaska), so a good portion of her story had extra special meaning since that’s my home now. But beyond that, I love the metamorphosis she experienced. She married and divorced young, and came to Alaska on a whim thereafter. She survived winter in a dry cabin (which is a story in itself), then went on to fall in love with dog mushing (and another man, whom she married). Her writing is honest and soul-warming, so if you are looking for a descriptive memoir about a brave woman, you’ll find that and more in these pages.
And here’s the rest of my 2022 list, and only the first 3 were fiction!
Dutch House by Ann Patchett
West With Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Ice Bound: A Doctor’s Incredible Battle for Survival at the South Pole by Dr. Jerri Nielsen
Degloved: Every Scar Has a Story by Adelaide Perr
Bold Spirit: Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America by Linda Lawrence Hunt
Small Feet, Big Land: Adventure, Home and Family on the Edge of Alaska by Erin McKittrick
Bad Tourist: Misadventures in Love and Travel by Suzanne Roberts
Wandermust by Mike Green
To B&B or Not To B&B: Deromanticizing the Dream by Sue Marko
Unattached: A Memoir by Reannon Muth
The Only Kayak by Kim Heacox
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
Epic Solitude: A Story of Survival and a Quest for Meaning in the Far North by Katherine Keith
It Happened Like This: A Life in Alaska by Adrienne Lindholm
Winterdance by Gary Paulsen
Running with Champions: A Midlife Journey on the Iditarod Trail is by Lisa Frederic
Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May
Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
Menopause Manifesto: Own Your Health with Facts and Feminism by Jennifer Gunter
The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed by John Valliant
Coming Into The Country by John McPhee
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates