The first quarter of 2022 has just passed, so I figured it was the perfect time to share the top five books I read from January to March. (And because I’m me, I also have five honorable mentions too!) During the first three months of 2022, I’ve read 35 books. If you haven’t read some of these, I hope you’d consider adding them to your TBRs. I’d also love to hear what books have stood out to you so far this year!
Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy – I knew from the first ten pages that this book was going to blow me away. It had the perfect “I-wanna-read-it-as-fast-as-I-can” and “slow-down-and-enjoy-this-incredible-writing” angst! I also knew it was a book that I can’t wait to return to because I believe its nuance will be more deeply revealed the more one interacts with it. Franny, the main character, is nothing like me – she is a free-spirit, anxious to roam this world as much as possible, and to float in the sea at every opportunity she gets. She is haunted by her past and trying to make amends with her future. She is unsettled. But she is also deep and thoughtful and searching. It is probably because she is everything I am not that made me so intrigued with her. McConaghy’s writing connected me to Franny and all of her missions – from the grief and desparation she feels towards her mother, to the undying commitment to the Arctic terns and climate change.
Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson – I’ve been waiting for a book like this for awhile – a book that’s so epic in its scope that it’s sweeps you off your feet, a book that I can get fully immersed in and forget about reality for awhile. Black Cake was so well executed that I was almost a little afraid to finish it because I know it’ll be awhile before I’ll feel this happy about a book again. Books that deal with secrets and resentments and forgiveness and healing are some of my all-time favorites, and I was impressed with how Wilkerson weaved this tale. The layers were so deep and the underlying mysteriousness of how we got to the present day kept me turning the pages. There were some plot points that felt a little too “convenient”; however, I was so in love with the characters and stories I was easily able to forgive any annoyances I felt about it. This is the perfect book to pick up right now!
Olga Dies Dreaming by Xóchitl González – This book was so good! It was the perfect balance of light and serious, funny and sad, deep and surface. I completely underestimated what I was getting into and I love when a book pleasantly surprises me like that! I learned a lot about Puerto Rican culture and their history, not only on the island but within the United States. I felt like there was some real depth to the characters and I liked their progression (though I would have loved more on Matteo and his backstory). González reminded me why I love to read books about people that are different than me – because it teaches me new things and, most importantly, gives me a whole new perspective to appreciate.
Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives by Mary Laura Philpott – Yep, this is it. This is exactly the stage of life I’m in and reading it from Philpott’s perspective made me FEEL SEEN! It’s just in the last year that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel of parenthood as we generally think of it. I can still remember those early years with my babies when high school, eighteen, and college all seemed so far away that it was unfathomable. But when my son turned sixteen and got his driver’s license, it’s like I ran straight into a brick wall. He’s rarely home now – he’s home late from sports practice and when he’s not doing that or in school, he’s out running around with friends. I have four more years before my youngest leaves and makes my husband and I “empty nesters”. There’s a part of me that feels some excitement at reclaiming our lives, but there is also a deep-seated sadness at knowing this stage of our lives will be over. I’m sure there’s great things about college-aged kids too, but I want to cherish these last few years and suck all the goodness (even if totally chaotic) out of them that I can.
Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi Andreades – “Why did we ever believe home could only be one place? When existing in these bodies means holding many worlds within us.” This debut novel was so good; I couldn’t put it down! Told in a collective voice, it was about immigration, being brown in America, passive and overt racism, coming-of-age, and so much more! It was powerful in its short sentences and short paragraphs and completely captured me!