Reading: April-June 2022

During these busy few months, I’ve read fifteen books, a fact that simultaneously surprises me and doesn’t surprise me at all. It should be surprising that I’ve been able to carve out significant time to read, and yet, reading is my still spot on the horizon when the world does loop-de-loops. Reading entertains me, educates me, and helps me see myself and my place in the world from another perspective. In Cloud Cuckoo Land (the novel in which I’m currently residing), Anthony Doerr writes:

“Turn a page, walk the lines of sentences: the singer steps out, and conjures a world of color and noise in the space inside your head” (p314).

It can be a very good thing to listen to the singer conjure another world. By the way, my favorite books from the following list are The Reading List and The Lord is My Courage.

Book titles link to Amazon for more info + easy purchasing. Please note: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases.


The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“They were all her favorite book, the books she had grown up with, the books that had found her at the right time, that had given her comfort when she needed it, had given her an escape, an opportunity to live beyond her life, an opportunity to love more powerfully, a chance to open up and let people in.”

Love! I’m always up for a book that celebrates the power of books – & libraries – to bring people together. A strong debut novel, I can’t wait for more from this author.

The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Trigger warning: sexual abuse condoned by the Church

Surprisingly beautiful book. I didn’t know if I’d get into this since I’m not a mystery lover but this book doesn’t depend on knowledge of Christie’s books (although I’m sure that would enhance your reading). This book layers mystery on top of mystery while telling a chilling story of mistreatment & abuse that, thankfully, ends in messy justice. Also, a complicated love story branching out in several unexpected directions.

The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The whole book can be summed up in the acknowledgements:

“When I was in my teens and first attempting to write fiction, my grandfather Malcolm Cowley gave me a piece of advice that I have carried with me: the only thing you need to know, he said, is that every good story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end, with the end foreshadowed in the beginning.
“It took me a lifetime to get there, but I have followed his advice to a T.”

Read the book (gorgeous writing, a masterclass in structure), then go back to the beginning. You’ll see it. She absolutely followed his advice to a T. And I hate the ending. Love, yes, hope, no. Elle pours gasoline to set the wet ground aflame as she walks towards the pond, just like those who came before her. The Paper Palace – & all who love it – will burn to the ground.

“The waiting begins early, I think. The lies begin early. But so do dreams and hopes and stories.” (330)

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While walking my dog, I encountered a group of happy women who had just discussed this book at their book club. I binged it between things over a weekend & enjoyed it, too. Keep in mind: “two unreliable narrators,” because that will help.

The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Better than the average chick lit, this was a fun, quick read.

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gorgeous book spanning generations and oceans and so much life in each place. And also, hopeful, in the end, though so many encountered hopelessness along the way.

“The oceans are a challenge … And what about a person’s life? How do you make a map of that? The borders people draw between themselves. The scars left along the ground of one’s heart.” (19)

The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an oddly captivating book: it begins in the kingdom of the last sultan of Granada just before its takeover by Spain during the time of the Inquisition. It feels historical & contains fantastical magic, mythology, & love.


Good Enough: 40ish Devotionals for a Life of Imperfection by Kate Bowler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I appreciate the obvious emphasis on “good enough,” that life isn’t always going to be all-we-want sparkly & that sometimes – often! – we have to get comfortable with the good enough approach to just making it through. Also, each chapter includes a blessing for the reader. The last few chapters were dazzling & thought-provoking.

The Lord Is My Courage: Stepping Through the Shadows of Fear Toward the Voice of Love by K.J. Ramsey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If family, church, or circumstances have inflicted bruises on your soul, this book will offer you courage: you are not alone. The Good Shepherd has come to seek you out & restore you. An incredible blend of theology, Christian faith & practice, science, & psychology, wrapped up in a beautiful voice, I learned so much from this book. I also appreciate the book’s structure, using words/phrases from Psalm 23 to tell a bigger story than the one we’ve heard & think we know.

Reach: Create the Biggest Possible Audience for Your Message, Book, or Cause by Becky Robinson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you have a message to share with the world, this book can be a helpful resource. Founder & CEO of Weaving Influence, a marketing agency, she has helped authors launch over 150 books since 2012 – in other words, she knows a few things about how to extend the reach of your message. I appreciate Becky’s emphasis on generosity over competition, & chapter 7 was revelatory: she tells readers how to multiply the content of one article into 51 different pieces – wow! Also, this is the first book I’ve seen that includes additional content at the end of each chapter through use of a QR code. I will scour this book repeatedly for encouragement & creative ideas.

3 Stars:

We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner

2 Stars:

Fable by Adrienne Young

View all my reviews

2 thoughts on “Reading: April-June 2022

Leave a Reply