Some people read less when they are stressed; some people stress read. I am most definitely the latter – the more stressed I am, the more I inhale books. Books or puzzles. I won’t go into why 2022 was a lot for me… I’ll let the length of my book list speak for itself.

I can’t talk books without talking about my love for Book of the Month – such a fun way to get new reads I would have never otherwise picked up, and fun to text about with your fellow BOTM-er friends to see their pick for the month. Some months it is the only reason I know the calendar month is ending – because it’s time to pick a new book. So it also helps you keep track of the date.krysti-wilkinson-best-books-2022

I read WAY more than I expected to this year (lil naïve 2021 Krysti didn’t know what was coming) – but also I read some GOOD books this year. So many that I had to break them out in various categories, because I just couldn’t leave any out…

As always: favorites at the top; full list at the bottom. Add me on GoodReads and/or tell me what I should read next!!

2022 Top 5
(in no particular order)

HRH: So many thoughts on royal style, Elizabeth Holmes
It’s no secret I’m a fan of the Royals (it’s in my blood, after all), but my husband surprised me with this for my birthday and I was… hesitant. I’m not the biggest fashionista, and I’m definitely not one to read about fashion. And then this book blew me away. There is so much to the history of royal fashion, the intentionality, the duty – all of it is fascinating, and all of it is so well curated by Elizabeth Holmes. I learned so much and didn’t want it to end! The good news is, if you follow Holmes on Instagram – it doesn’t have to. She posts regular ‘so many thoughts’ updates, as well as all things Royals updates. 11/10, cannot recommend enough!

One Two Three, Laurie Frankel
After falling head over heels for This is How it Always Is, I naturally looked up what other Frankel goodness my library had to offer. Narrated by three triplets, this book grabs you from the very beginning with its unique story telling. It is heart wrenching and beautiful; somehow both an ordinary coming of age story and something you could never imagine happening. Frankel can truly do no wrong.

The Making of Biblical Womanhood, Beth Allison Barr
I knew I was going to like this book solely because of the uproar it caused in the Evangelical crowd when it came out – but I had no idea how dearly I would cherish it. This is not a memoir or the author’s thoughts about being a woman in the church (although, I would read that). This is a look at Christianity throughout history and how it viewed and treated women at various stages. I would have considered myself more knowledgeable than most on the subject, and this book showed me how little I knew.
How I wish this was required reading for every pastor. How I wish this was required reading for every little girl. The Church has a rich history of trusting women and valuing women and utilizing women’s gifts… a history that has largely been forgotten. I am so glad this book exists to give testament to it all, and to point us back to the historically accurate view of gender equality.

American Wife, Curtis Sittenfeld
I stumbled upon this book in one of my favorite places to be: a used book sale. I had no idea of the premise when I started it, and the longer I read it the more I fell in love with it. A small town girl who lives a (somewhat) ordinary life finds herself, through some seemingly random events, the First Lady of the United States in the early 2000s – except she’s a different political party than her husband. The political undertones are so subtle and so well done. There is top notch social commentary on feminism and morality, privilege and family, race and marriage. Over and over again I thought was this book written for *me*??!? so I’m not sure if it’s everyone’s cup of tea. I adored it.

Lessons in Chemistry, Bonnie Garmus
I heard great things about this all year long, and I am happy to say when I finally got around to reading it: it held up to the hype. It is quirky, it is sarcastic, it is smart. The science was completely over my head, but I was having too much fun to care. If you are a Gilmore Girls or Marvelous Mrs. Maisel fan – it’s like this was co-written by Sherman-Palladino. iykyk
In a strange way, I felt like this needs to be paired with A Making of Biblical Womanhood. Completely different books, but they both center around the same questions: What if we listened to women? What if we valued women? What if women not only knew their worth and their potential, but they were allowed to achieve it? *gets off soapbox and returns to list of books*

Unique Gems
I adore a new, interesting concept for a book. Just when you think they’ve all been done before, some knock you off your feet.
The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson
True crime meets… architecture history?? This book has been around for a while, but I finally got around to reading it. It follows both the creation of the World Fair in Chicago (who knew it had so much drama!!!) and one of the most prolific serial killers (that we know of) who benefited from the fair. I would have never guessed I would be interested in the happenings of early 1900s architects, but Larson did a phenomenal job with this book.

The Midnight Library, Matt Haig
A beautiful novel about a never ending library of books that contain never ending versions of your life. It’s like the multiverse, but told in a literary style (for those of us who are scared of sci-fi). Just an all around lovely read.

Hester, Laurie Lico Albanese
The origin story of Hester Prynne. Even if you yawned through The Scarlett Letter like I did in high school, you will love the author’s attention to detail as you revisit Hawthorne’s version of Salem. The author’s note at the end contains some spoilers – but I honestly wish I had read it before reading the book. Their concept for the novel, and research surrounding Hawthorne to do so, was so well done.

The Dictionary of Lost Words, Pip Williams
I have never, not once, thought about the creation of the dictionary. This book chronicles crowd sourcing words and their definitions to create the English dictionary (while keeping certain words out!), along with a coming of age story a la early 1900s Britain. Sign me up. Reminded me heavily of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Societyin a great way.

Honorable Mention: Darling Girl, Liz Michalski
This is twist on Peter Pan, and while I really enjoyed the vision the author was going with, I didn’t think it was executed very well. Still a fun read if Peter Pan was your favorite growing up (or still is).


All Around Fun Reads
The perfect plane ride pairing, beach read, or binge for Friday night on the couch…
The Unhoneymooners, Christina Lauren
Imagine The Proposal, but in Hawaii (and also without Betty White).

Malibu Rising, Taylor Jenkins Reid
Nothing will beat The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, but everything Taylor Jenkins Reid writes is worth your time.

The Holiday Swap, Maggie Knox
The Great British Bake Off, but make it a Hallmark Christmas movie (in a book)

The Fortunes of Jaded Women, Carolyn Huynh
Basically, The Real Vietnamese Housewives of Orange County – but with a cheeky, snarky narrator, a little bit of Crazy Rich Asians humor. Especially adored it since I grew up next to Orange County.

Book Lovers, Emily Henry
Personally I liked this better than Beach Read, but I have yet to find an Emily Henry novel I don’t like!

Here We Go Again, Betty White
Speaking of Betty White… I knew I loved her, but I did not know her history. The lady basically invented television. She chronicles all the shows she worked on (and there’s a lot of them) – but also how TV changed as a concept. Fascinating read, and also hilarious. I have so many old shows to look up.

Need I say more?
The Guest List, Lucy Foley & The Paris Apartment, Lucy Foley
Foley is known for her twists – and even though she had a specific style of writing, you never truly see them coming. Both of these were great page turners.

Whisper Network, Chandler Baker
Murder with a side of #MeToo kind of chills, this is REALLY well written and somehow a fun read despite the subject matter.

Lock Every Door, Riley Sager
Very Only Murders in the Building vibes, but in a creepy, kidnapping way.

& A Royal Moment…
Diana: Her True Story, in Her Own Words, Andrew Morton
After obsessing over Elizabeth’s Holmes book (and all the drama the Royal Family was giving us in the news), I found this at a thrift store. I snagged a reprinted, later version, with an intro by Morton explaining how Diana secretly recorded the tapes that led to the book – so this had less of a BOMBSHELL! TABLOID! feel and more of an “I interviewed this friend of mine who has since passed” vibe. As with all things Diana, it’s both beautiful and tragic.
Since reading Prince Harry’s Spare (which, I realize, will have to wait all the way until NEXT YEAR’s book list) I am now very torn about any royal biography – he talks a lot about the utter rubbish authors’ claim and get away with. Since this was Diana wanting to get her story out, and choosing to record the tapes, I think Morton’s book still stands. Also, after reading Spare, it makes you think she was paving the way for her son to one day get to share his story in his own words, too.

If you haven’t partaken in any of the Royal family fun and want to, let me suggest the trifecta of HRH: So many thoughts on royal styleDiana: Her True Story, in Her Own Words, and  Spare. There are millions others you could read, but I read all three within a year and loved the overlap!


Full List

These links will take you to Amazon (#affiliate, I will make a whole half penny if you click on any) – but if you are able, please please please buy local or buy on! Online shopping, but it still benefits a local store – this link right here will support my local shop down the road.

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