Fave 5 Reads of 2022

January 7, 2023

READ or LISTEN

Can you call them ‘reads’ if you listened to them instead ?!

I absolutely LOVE books.  I love the look of them. I love the feel of a book in my hands, especially a hardcover ! I love the smell of the pages when you open a book for the first time. I love reading everything, right from the first page to the very last page. I love how they sit on a shelf or a coffee table or my bedside table.  AND… my dream is to one day have a library (or even a small room :)) filled with shelf after shelf of books in our home !!

Having said ALL of this … I don’t actually just sit and read very often, not nearly as much as I would like … but I really love to listen to dialogue. I’m the one when watching a hockey game on TV that likes listening to the commentators and will actually rewind to hear them talk through the replays LOL … and I actually really love listening to a game on the radio !!

Anyhoo, back to books. Last year I started listening to Audiobooks thanks to the recommendation from a good friend (thanks Tanya) !! I was skeptical at first, but the more I listened the more I enjoyed them.

I am a big Podcast lover, so I tried to liken this to that. While I will say that they can be hit and miss, I have found that more often than not, I do really enjoy the book being read to me !

Oh, and the type of books I like are ALL over the map … don’t don’t judge me based on what you see … next years list will likely be completely different !!

Also, this girl loves a good raunchy romance … but I didn’t include those ones here LOL

Greenlights

One of the first books I listened to was Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey. I am a big fan and love darn near every movies he’s been in and I was really looking forward to listening to this book, mostly because he was the narrator and I enjoy listening go to him talk !! I was given this book for Christmas a few years back, but hadn’t had the chance to read it yet, and was happy to let Matthew tell me his story while I listened LOL !!

I find that the narrator can quite simply make or break an audiobook for me and I have stopped listening due to not being able to get into the story based on poor narration !

This book, for me, was a really enjoyable read/listen and was my fave of 2022 !

It isn’t traditional in it’s writing, and it’s filled with stories, anecdotes and some really funny moments. I enjoy learning about how someone got to where they are today and this is absolutely that.  Matthew McConaughey really lets you into his life and talks so much about his childhood, family, relationships … as well as leaving you with key phrases that are inspiring and leave you feeling like you really should chase your dreams !

This book made me look for the greenlights in my own life and understand why there have been yellow and red lights too. I really loved it and will likely read it again one day !!

Can’t Hurt Me

I really like autobiographies and was intrigued by this story. David Goggins is the only man in history to complete the elite training as a Navy Seal, Army Ranger and Air Force tactical air controller … AND he even went on to set records in multiple endurance events !!

His childhood was heartbreaking and this book spends a lot of time sharing the hardships he endured and many many obstacles he overcame.

What I wasn’t a fan of was the way Can’t Hurt Me was narrated.  If you choose to READ the book rather than listen, you’ll likely really enjoy it.

It was narrated by both the author, David Goggins, and another gentleman.  The other narrator would read the chapter and then at the end of each chapter, David Goggins would come on and they would dissect the  events of the chapter before moving on. I found this extremely distracting and it kept pulling me out of the story.

While I think his journey was really incredible, I would have much preferred to stay in the moment and hear it all until the end.  If they felt like having a breakdown discussion, I would have preferred to listen at the end of the book.

Having said all of that, the book itself was good. Maybe not the most well written book I’ve ever read, but you can’t take away this man’s story of strength and perseverance. I learned so much about the process of becoming a Navy Seal, Army Ranger and more, and really enjoyed learning more about it from someone who went through the process multiple times !!

If you want to be inspired by one man’s incredible journey, you will likely really enjoy this book !

The Wild Heart of Stevie Nicks

I am a big fan of Stevie Nicks and was really looking forward to learning more about her life and rise to fame. This is only available as an audiobook … and it isn’t very long, just under 3 hours.

I am always fascinated by the lives of famous people, especially actors and musicians.  It is a life that I was never drawn to and am always curious to find out how they ended up choosing the career they did, or did it choose them ?!

This was written and narrated by Rob Sheffield who is a contributing writer for Rolling Stone. So while he knows Stevie Nicks’ story well, it is really just him telling us her story, so not a well written book if that makes sense !

What I loved about it was learning about the behind the scenes of her life. Fleetwood Mac is one of my all time fave bands. Their music was a large part of my childhood and teenage years and I am still a fan today, knowing all the words to most of their songs.

I had absolutely no idea how much turmoil was happening during the time they were together, especially in the height of their career. There is a lot of conversation about what was happening during the writing of many of their biggest hits and how they came to be. I did have a few moments of wondering if I wanted to know this. Would it change the way that I feel about the band and the songs and their music ?! The answer was no …

For a little while afterwards, I found myself going back to the songs discussed in the book and listening again with a different perspective, but now that some time has passed, i listened with the same love I have always had … and am thankful for that !

If you love to find out the why behind a song, this is a really quick and enjoyable read !

The last Thing He Told Me

I love a good fiction book and romance is usually my go to for something light, but this one popped up on my recommendations so i took a chance. The Last Thing He Told Me is described as a mystery-thriller, not my go to theme at all, but I had heard good things about Laura Dave as an author, so took a chance.

First, I don’t read (or watch) thrillers ever … and I would NOT describe this as a thriller at all. While it was a mystery, it was not frightening in my opinion, so no need to shy away as you likely won’t be scared !

It was an easy read and I enjoyed the story, though a few moments were unrealistic, but isn’t that part of reading a story sometimes ?! I listened to it in just a few days as I really wanted to find out why it was ‘The Last Thing He Told Me’ … so i take that as a win.

This book won’t win any literary awards, but it is a good, easy and enjoyable read and I like the author !!

The House by the Sea

I really loved this book. I wasn’t sure at first, but it didn’t take long for me to really fall in love with the characters and the setting. It is set in Italy, Sicily to be exact, and not knowing much about the country and culture, I found that really enjoyable…. The House by the Sea is written by Louise Douglas and I really enjoy her as a writer ! This book had my interest right away …

The story is about a woman who travels to the falling apart family villa after her ex Mother In Law passes away and has to take care of her affairs with her ex husband. Their relationship broke down after the death of their son, and seeing each other is really difficult for them both.

The story moves through all the emotions they’ve gone through over the years and they learn so much about themselves in the process.  There are several storylines and multiples characters to get to know. The setting is described beautifully and made me add Sicily to my list of places i’d love to visit !

I will say though, the narrator wasn’t my favorite.  Again, this can make or break an audiobook for me … BUT the story was well written enough that I was able to disregard it and still enjoy the book.

I listened to this book on the long drive between Vancouver Island and Calgary, AB and loved every minute of it. It was a great escape !

Recap

While these may not be literary masterpieces, that’s not what draws me in … each of these books gave me the escape that I look for when I read (or listen) … and I don’t believe that they all have to be fabulous to make a top 5 list either. By opening myself up to audiobooks, i read 19 books in 2022 which was 18 more than in 2021 … I call that a win ! My goal is to increase that this year … maybe I will try for 23 in ’23 !

In the list of books that I read/listened to, I didn’t enjoy them all. Some were a struggle to complete and some I even muttered out loud about how that was time I will never get back LOL … but I am glad that I read them all because it really got me back into actually reading books, not just having them look beautiful throughout our home … and that makes me happy !!

I will say though, that I hope to have an even better Fave 5 next year, so TELL ME YOUR FAVES !!

I love love love when people recommend books to me … so please feel free to comment and tell me your Fave 5 of 2022 and maybe they’ll become part of my Fave 5 of 2023 !!

Until Next Time … j. XOX

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