One of these days, I’m going to have to show you all the system I have for keeping track of my reading in my bullet journal, but right now I want to talk about the best books I read in the first three months of 2022. Or, rather, my favorite books that I finished. As always, I’m reading multiple books at once. Some of the books on this list were started in 2021 and there are others that I know will be favorites but that I’m taking my time with.
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Sourdough by Robin Solan
I borrowed the audiobook version of this charming novel from my library and am so, so glad I did. The book is a sort of low-key fantasy that focuses on a magical sourdough starter. It’s the perfect read if you want something with great characters and little angst. I loved it so much that I’m listening to the authors other book, Mr. Penumbra’s Twenty-Four Hour Book Store, right now.
Ladyparts: A Memoir by Deborah Copaken
This collection of very personal essays about the authors body, marriage, and life was such an impactful read. Copaken does a great job of connecting her personal struggles to larger issues when relevant, without overgeneralizing her life and choices. She is clear about how policy choices, like the employer based health insurance system, shaped many of her life decisions (honestly, I don’t know how you could possibly read this book and not be for universal healthcare). And Copaken also talks openly about how wonderful it can be to allow yourself to accept help. While anyone could get a lot out of this book, I feel it’s a must read for women like me, in our late 30s with an unpredictable income.
Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee
This is one of those novels that it took a long time for me to get through, but was so, so rewarding. The overall vibe is House of Mirth but with a Korean American heroine in the 1990s. The novel is a great example of character driven story, personalities drive the entire plot. I was fascinated by the main character Casey, who is both grateful and resentful of career help because of the web of obligations such help leaves. Like Min Jin Lee’s other book Pachinko (now an Apple TV series), this book will stick with you long after you finish it.
Laziness Does Not Exist by Devon Price
If you’ve been feeling like you can never work hard enough or are suffering from burnout, Laziness Does Not Exist is a necessary read. In it, Price lays out an in-depth argument against what they call “the laziness lie,” the idea that “hard work is morally superior to relaxation, that people who aren’t productive have less innate value than productive people.” Instead, Price wants us to pay closer attention to what we value, so we can put our energy there, and give ourselves time to rest and reflect.
Ace by Angela Chen
As a society, we’ve gotten much better in recent years at understanding that both sexual orientation and gender exist on a spectrum. However, the spectrum of asexuality to allosexuality still is often left out of the conversation. Chen’s book does a great job explaining what asexuality actually is and how many different forms it can take. The author does a great job of creating an inclusive narrative, interviewing ace’s with a wide range of backgrounds, as well as including their own personal experiences.
Strange Beasts of China by Yan Ge
This was an atmospheric, haunting, book that takes place in a small Chinese city shared by both humans and human-like beasts. While it’s a fantasy, like Sourdough above, it’s ground in the real world, but with slight changes. What really hooked me, though was the writing. Each chapter blurs the line between the story of the main character, a writer, and the stories she’s writing about the beasts. It was a really effective way to structure the book, giving it both a rhythm and an overarching story.
Consumed by Aja Barber
There have been a lot of books written over the last decade or two about the horrors of fast fashion, but Barber’s Consumed adds to the conversation in much needed ways. The book goes deeper than others by really connected the environmental and social impacts of rampant consumerism to colonization and race. Barber strikes a great balance between advocating for personal responsibility and acknowledging that much of the harm is performed by large corporations that won’t change without collective and governmental action. With all of that, this is still an incredibly readable book, the sort that you can easily pass on to your younger cousin or sibling when you’re done.
What have you been reading lately? let me know in the comments or on Instagram!