My Top 5 Favorite Reads in 2022

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It’s December 30 and I officially finished 49 books in 2022. I’m aiming to finish one more to make in an even 50. But of those 49 books, here were my top 5 favorite reads…

Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better

This was my first 5-star read of 2022! I’m giving it that rating because I have not been able to stop recommending it, thinking about it, or talking about it. That is the mark of a 5-star read in my opinion.

In a society where it feels like we are wired to find offense everywhere we look, what would it be like to choose to not be offended? (We do have a choice, you know?)

Some of you may be thinking, “But how do I even do that? You don’t know what this person has done or said (or not done or not said).” I don’t, but I do know this: We get to choose how we respond. We can’t choose how other people treat us or respond to us or what they say to us or do to us, but we can choose our response.

This doesn’t mean that we let people walk all over us or that we don’t set boundaries, but it does mean that we can choose to either be a victim or a victor. We can choose to either be offended and hurt and upset, or we can acknowledge our feelings, grieve our loss, and choose to forgive.

I highly recommend that every Christian read this book! Jesse and I did an entire podcast episode centered on it because I found it so helpful!

Raising Emotionally Strong Boys

Do you struggle with kids who get easily irritated or have angry outbursts? Do YOU find yourself getting frustrated by your kids and then beating yourself up because you are frustrated at your kids and you don’t want to be?

Do you wish you had practical tools and suggestions for how to navigate hard conversations with your kids and how to help them face difficulty and disappointment in life?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, PLEASE do not walk, RUN and go get a copy of Raising Emotionally Strong Boys by David Thomas. Of all the books I read in 2022, I feel like this one is the one I have recommended the most, by far.

Even if you don’t have boys, even if you don’t have kids, it’s worth a read. If you want a taste of it, go listen to the 30-minute interview I did with the author on The Crystal Paine Show. I learned so much and it impacts me every single day in how I parent.

Find Your People

I picked this book up after Micah had been born. I was feeling like I had pulled back into my shell the last few months of his pregnancy due to feeling so sick and tired and I had lost some of the regularly connection and community in my life as a result. I knew things needed to change and this book served as the perfect launching pad for me to step out and start initiating again.

If you are longing for community, if you’ve been hurt by relationships, or you just feel a little lonely where you’re at, Find Your People is a fantastic read. I read it and then followed through with her suggestions… and they worked! In fact, in just a few months, I had developed multiple new relationships and deepened relationships I already had, and I felt so much more connected as a result.

Sometimes, we just need a little nudge. This book was that nudge for me. I appreciated the author’s honesty and vulnerability — and the practical encouragement she gave to take steps to build deeper connections. I feel like the new community and deepened connections that came as a result of what I learned through this book are something that will forever impact my life.

Note: I thought that some of the book seemed a little redundant and fluffy and some of what she shared about their small group (sharing everything about their finances, etc.) was something I personally wouldn’t feel comfortable with. However, the book was exactly what my heart and soul needed when I needed it, so that’s why it’s making my Top 5 list.

Jesus Storybook Bible

Kierstyn and I read this book together at the beginning of 2022. I’m not sure how may times I’ve read it because I usually read it through with each of our kids when they are little at least twice, but every single time I re-read it, I love it again.

I love that it shows how all of the Bible points to Jesus. The Old Testament isn’t just stories; it’s a framework that sets up the need for a Redeemer. Each story represents our need for a Savior.

There are a lot of Bible story books and children’s Bibles that make the Bible characters the hero or that make each story an individual type of story. But while we can learn so much from the characters and the stories in the Bible, they should all be directing our focus to Jesus as the hero or they are missing the mark.

I can’t wait to read this aloud again to all three little ones in the coming year or two. It encourages my heart each time!

Favorite Fiction: Remarkably Bright Creatures

So, this is a book I never expected would make my Top 5 list. But, it completely surprised me how much I loved it and grew attached to the quirky characters in it — including an octopus!

In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I actually bought a copy so I could finish reading it instead of listening to it! I rarely do that, so you know I loved the book.

It’s a book with multiple unique characters telling their story from their point of view and how they all weave together in the end is beautiful and endearing. If you enjoy a good fiction story told from different vantage points that spans a wide variety of ages and interests, definitely check this book out!

Note: This is not a Christian book and has some crass language in it, but it is well-written and engaging story… and it made me want to learn a lot more about the octopus from it as it was fascinating and I learned so much just from the parts of the book included about it!

See all the books I read/listened to in 2022 here.

What were your top reads in 2022? I’d love to hear!

And stay tuned for my reading goal for 2023 coming tomorrow + how I’ll be blogging/sharing my reviews in 2023.

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