2022 Reading Update

The Statistics

Poetry (and about poetry)65
Theology and ministry[1]  2216
Essays/Short Stories38
Writing (how to)22
Titles by women714
Read via Audible (I only read unabridged)2020
Books reviewed (I may review 2-3 more in 2023)3530


Reading on Cape Lookout, May 2022

Many of the books appear in more than one category, so they don’t add up to the total.

Last year I said I needed to read more fiction and humor and I read even less this year. Maybe that says something about 2022. There wasn’t a lot of humor to the year. I certainly need to laugh more!

I’ve questioned myself as to why I am not reading more fiction.  I think the answer is that I am curious about so much and most of my reading is for knowledge. 

I started tracking the number of books written by women authors this year. Interestingly, I read more last year, but this year I chose Anne Applebaum’s Red Famine as the most important book I’ve read. We all need to better understand the situation in Ukraine and her book on the Ukrainian famine in the 1930s helps us understand the present situation.

Books read by the Month

Below is my list by month. The highlighted books are ones I reviewed. Click on the link to go to the blog post where you can find the review. Like last year, I have picked my favorite of each month by posting a photo of the book. This I found hard. In March, Applebaum was up against Candice Millard, both incredible historians. In April, Updike’s novel, In the Beauty of the Lilies was up against the writings of the Anglican poet Malcom Guite. Then in May, I had to choose between a wonderful biography of Fredrick Laws Omstead and Trish Warren’s lovely commentary on the compline prayer. In August, the choice between Carver’s poetry, Herman’s philosophy, and Doig’s wonderful storytelling also created a challenge as did my November decision between Meacham and Doyle.  What all this shows is that I read a lot of good books in 2022!


Helen MacDonald, H is for Hawk

C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (2nd reading, first in 1978)  

Gregory Orr, The Blessing: A Memoir

Daniel Allen Butler, The Other Side of the Night: The Carpathian, the Californian, and the Night the Titanic was Lost


Sibley Towner, Daniel: Interpretation 

Dane Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers

Erik Larson, Thunderstruck

Temper Longman III, Daniel: The NIV Application Bible Commentary 

Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

Jackson Crawford, translator, The Poetic Edda: Stories of the Norse Gods and Heroes


Candice Millard, Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President 

Lawrence Berkove, Heretical Fiction: Religion in the Literature of Mark Twain

Peter Yang, The Art of Writing

Robert Creamer, Baseball in ’41: A Celebration of the Best Baseball Season Ever

Anne Applebaum, Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine

Jason Young, The Comeback Effect: How Hospitality Can Compel Your Church’s Guests to Return 


Rick Bragg, Where I Come From: Stories from the Deep South 

Malcolm Guite, In Every Corner Sing:  

John Updyke, In the Beauty of the Lilies

Mark Jarman, Dailiness: Essays on Poetry


Hannah Anderson, Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul

Billy Beasley, Home  

Justin Martin, Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted

Tish Harrison Warren, Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep


Shawn D. Wright, Theodore Beza: The Man and the Myth

Anne Applebaum, Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism  

Jonathan White, Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean


Andy Stanley, Not In It To Win It: Why Choosing Sides Sidelines the Church

Rick Bass, Why I Came West: A Memoir

James R. Edwards, From Christ to Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the Church in Less than a Century


Raymond Carver, All of Us: The Collective Poems

Arthur Herman, The Cave and the Light: Plato verses Aristotle and the Struggle for Soul of Western Civilization

Ivan Doig, The Bartender’s Tale

Peter Enns, The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More than Our “Correct” Beliefs

Aaron McAlexander, This Old Store


Bob Lantz, Lean Downstream! The Whole History from the Beginning to the End of the Blue Hole Canoe Company

John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress 

John Steinbeck, The Log from the Sea of Cortez

Robert Maguire, Commentary on John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress 

Winn Collier, A Burning in My Bones: The Authorized Biography of Eugene Peterson

N. T. Wright, The Lord and His Prayer


David Halberstan, October 1964

Paul Willis, Say this Prayer into the Past: Poems

Charles Leerhser, Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty

Harry Middleton, The Earth is Enough: Growing Up in a World of Flyfishing, Trout, and Old Men


Jon Meacham, And There was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle 

Willimon & Hauerwas, Lord, Teach Us: The Lord’s Prayer & the Christian Life

John Oller, The Swamp Fox: How Frances Marion Saved the American Revolution

Brian Doyle, One Long River of Song: Notes on Wonder for the Spiritual and Nonspiritual Alike

Carrot Quinn, The Sunset Route: Freight Trains, Forgiveness, and Freedom on the Rails in the American West


Lenny Wells, Pecan: America’s Native Nut Tree

Fleming Rutledge, Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ

Ben Montgomery, Grandma Gatewood’s Walk

Best Book over all: 

Anne Applebaum, , Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine

Runner Ups: 

Candice Millard, Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President 

Arthur Herman, The Cave and the Light: Plato verses Aristotle and the Struggle for Soul of Western Civilization

Jon Meacham, And There was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle 

Harry Middleton, The Earth is Enough: Growing Up in a World of Flyfishing, Trout, and Old Men

Fleming Rutledge, Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ

Blog Friends Yearly Reading List

AJ’s (favorites)








A bunch of year end reading lists

I’ll add more as I see them. Let me know if you have a 2022 reading summary and I’ll post it here.

Click here for my reading list from 2021 and from 2020

Did you have a favorite book that you read last year? What’s the title and why did you like it?

[1] This section includes devotional books and commentaries that were completely read as opposed to those just used for reference. 

35 Replies to “2022 Reading Update”

  1. Thanks so much for joining us at What’s On Your Bookshelf? and what a variety of books your read in 2022. I don’t think I’ve read any on your list and I think I’m a pretty avid reader. I could quite easily just read all day every day but of course that isn’t reality is it? I look forward to following your reading in 2023 and reading What’s On Your Bookshelf? for January. See you next month. x

    1. Thanks, Sue, for stopping by. As one who reads mostly non-fiction and a fair amount of academic writing, I find myself reading is a lot different than others.

  2. Hi, Jeff – Thank you for joining us for What’s On Your Bookshelf. I greatly enjoyed reading your about your year in books. I’ve also read Anne Applebaum’s Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism. It was incredibly powerful. Even though I read it in 2020, it has stayed with me.
    Last January, I read Peace in Every Step. That was also a powerful book – but in a very different way.

    1. I had never read Applebaum’s books until this year, but have found her columns and articles very spot on for the past seven or eight years. “Peace in Every Step” has a lot of gentle wisdom.

  3. What a diverse list and I love that you have poetry in it. Poetry is something I haven’t really read – other than the classics, of course, but I noticed that this month the Queensland Writer’s Centre devoted the whole of their monthly mag to it. Thanks for linking up.

  4. Well done on your reading, a comprehensive list.
    I especially thought reading on Cape Lookout, in May 2022 looked relaxing 🙂

    All the best Jan

  5. I have the opposite problem with fiction and nonfiction. I always say, “I’m going to read more nonfiction. I want to learn stuff.” Then I read 10 nonfiction books and 50 fiction books. I hope 2023 is a successful reading year for you!

  6. I read Thunderstruck a while back and enjoyed it. As you saw from my list, I mostly read fiction, in fact, I don’t think there was a non-fiction book on my list this year. I should probably read more of it…

    Happy New Year!

  7. I read about 80 books, mostly fiction with some memoirs and random nonfiction thrown in. Hard to pick a fave, but I do love Elizabeth Strout and ‘Lucy By the Sea’ did not disappoint. It’s about one of her recurring character’s experience through the pandemic .

    1. It is interesting that there are books about the current pandemic. I remember from reading John Barry’s book on the influenza pandemic after WW1, how there little written about it after the pandemic was over.

  8. What a great reading list you’ve set out. I’ve read a couple of these, but will take note of some others. Thanks you so much! Happy New Year and see you in the coming months.

  9. Thank you for sharing your 2022 Reading Update!

    You said it just right. There really was no much humor at all in 2022. I think my reading reflected that as well. I read a lot more graphic novels and children’s books because they were easier for me to wrap my head around.

    1. But a little humor in reading might make up for the lack of laughter in the world at large… As I listen to what’s going on in Congress, it doesn’t seem that 2023 starting on a positive note.

  10. A fantastic summary! I’ve definitely added a few titles to my wish list from your reviews this year. It’s always a pleasure riding shotgun on your reading adventures.

    Happy New Year! Let’s hope 2023 is a funny one.

  11. Great list, Jeff. As you know, I have read some of your recommendations and have never been disappointed. The Meacham book is in on my TBR. He lives nearby and I have heard him speak. And since I am a Lincoln fan, it’s a natural. Happy New Year!

  12. Quite a few that I’ve read and a lot more I should read! Thanks for your list. I always enjoy looking through them.

    1. I wonder how many I might be able to guess that you’ve read? Maybe we should have a contest. I’m sure if I guessed ten, I would get several of those you’ve read.

    1. Thanks, I hope 2023 is great, it can only go up after having spent Christmas and New Years down with COVID, but I am feeling better today

  13. I really enjoyed this post and how you have it structured. Looks like a good reading year! I think Mere Christianity is the only one I’ve read, but a number of them are either on my wishlist or already in my TBR.

    Here’s to a good year of reading in 2023!

  14. What a great collection of books, Jeff. You put a lot of work into this post. You’ll see mine soon–a rolling GIF from Goodreads! Well, I did list favorites and to my surprise, many were non-fic. I do read a ton of fiction, though. Have you figured out why you don’t read more?

    1. Thanks, it was a morning in which I couldn’t do much of anything else. While I enjoy fiction, I often read to learn, which tends to lead me to read non-fiction. And when I read just for entertainment, I’m more likely to read about nature or adventure, which is often found in biographies.

      1. I can see that, probably followed it early in my adult life. Then, I sought escapism in fiction. My newest list does have a lot more non-fic than usual.

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