Here is a review of my reading life from 2022 via StoryGraph. I thought it would be fun to add a slider option to compare my reading life from six months ago. Note: The first photo is data up to December 2022 and the second photo is data from June 2022.
I finished 2022 by reading 49 books!
Moods. My preferred reading moods haven’t changed too much between June 2022 to the end of December. I enjoy mood, reflective, and informative reads.
Fiction vs. Non-fiction. In June 2022, I read more non-fiction than fiction. Without thinking, I tend to gravitate to non-fiction books. I love reading memoirs and history. For the second half of the year, I made a more conscious effort to read more fiction books so I was fascinated to find my reads between fiction and non-fiction are 50-50.
Genres. My genre list grew through 2022. In my mid-year review, the top three genres I read were history, memoirs, and contemporary. I’d say my top three choices were about the same but contemporary took the top spot.
My reads from the past month
Rabbits for Food by Binnie Kirshenbaum
“Still they ask, ‘How did this happen?’ Because they need to be sure that people don’t fall apart without a solid reason, they sift through her life panning for gold; she spends too much time alone; she’s got a negative attitude; she never had children; she smokes cigarettes; not having children messes with a woman’s hormones; all day working alone, that can’t be good; she eats processed food; she is a middle child; she’s never been to the gym; she’s not very likable; she’s always been moody, difficult, dark, overly sensitive, and easy to anger; even as a child, she wasn’t likable; she should’ve had children; she wears perfume; she drinks too much coffee; she smokes cigarettes. Whatever the reason, they want to be assured that it was her own damn fault.”
This is a darkly humorous book on clinical depression. It reminds me Girl, Interrupted with a dash of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The first half of the book shows her life before getting admitted; you feel her anguish, lethargy, and self-destruction. The second half is the present where she goes through her life in the psych ward of a hospital. Though I am okay with ambiguous endings in general, I found this one to be abrupt. But maybe that’s life — as with many things in the real world — clinical depression does not resolve itself into a neat ending in x-amount of pages. I usually do not ask for a sequel but I feel invested in Bunny’s journey that we need one.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelades
“About love. About how we often mistake love for fireworks – for drama and dysfunction. But real love is very quiet, very still. It’s boring, if seen from the perspective of high drama. Love is deep and calm – and constant.”
This book was (and still is) a big hit on book-tok and bookstagram (book Instagram). I usually wait years until the hype has passed and I’m glad I have waited. It’s so hard to write a vague spoiler-free review but… I am claiming that a certain character had narcissistic tendencies (I am not a psychotherapist).
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
“This big ol’ world and we only get to go through it once. The saddest thing there is, you ask me.”
I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about this book. The structure is interesting because you already know the premise of the story: two black teenage sisters run away from home and eventually split off to live very different lives. One returns to their hometown as a single mother and the other lives their life as a white woman. I was not sure what would unfold from this story because we already know so early what had happened but then it turned into a wonderful surprise — it became a story that goes into the next generation. It’s a story about colorism, racism, class tension, My honest title: The Mommy Trap.
Unicorn Space is the active and open pursuit of self-expression in any form, built on value-based curiosity and purposeful sharing of this pursuit with the world. Whether it be creating art, expanding your knowledge within your area of expertise, or developing a new skill, your Unicorn Space is that thing that makes you uniquely and vibrantly you. But like the mythical equine that inspired the name, it doesn’t exist until you give yourself permission to reclaim, discover, and nurture it.
I don’t think I have a hard time finding my unicorn space because I’ve always been a creative person. I’ve always been into writing, taking photos, seeking out classes, learning new recipes, sketching, decorating ideas, etc. My Unicorn Space seemed to diminish after I had a kid and when my BILs moved in; I had to give up physical space, brain space, and time. I did spend all of last year exploring the things I enjoy and it was time well worth reflecting. Rodsky also reminded me that Unicorn Space is also something worth protecting.
Initially, I didn’t think the book would be for me because similar books talk about finding your creativity and monetizing it into a side hustle which I don’t really have a strong interest in. I feel I share a lot of personal stuff on my blog that I really don’t think it would be appropriate to monetize like a reality TV show. The thing that did kind of annoy me about the book was that it seems it is geared for people with children who already have a partner. I’d like to try to live by Unicorn Space and try all the worksheets from each chapter. I think I’ll give myself 2-3 months to live by Unicorn Space and I’ll tell you how it goes :-).
Milk Street: The World in a Skillet by Chris Kimball
This book is the January pick for the Cookbook Book Club. I have made a few recipes in this book such as the miso butter corn, chicken cutlets, and Japanese-style chicken meatballs. Overall, everything I’ve made from the book has been approachable. When it comes to cooking from a cookbook, one of the first recipes I try are ones where I have most of the ingredients :-P.