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  • Writer's pictureLinnea Archibald

My 10 favorite books from 2022, part 2

In case you missed it, last week, I laid out the first half of my top 10 reads from 2022 list. If you’re looking to add to your TBR this year, read on for the second half of my list!

Give me all the stories set in communities of coastal Maine! I’ve always loved novels set close to home, but since we moved to Maine in the summer of 2022, I’ve been even more drawn to books set here in Vacationland.

Here’s a brief summary: Aging children’s author, Agnes, is working on the final installation of her series. But the beloved series isn’t the only legacy Agnes wants to leave behind her. As she writes her book, she’s also working to protect the peninsula she calls home (the titular Fellowship Point) from future development. To do so, she must convince the other inhabitants (including her best friend Polly) to put their land in a trust. Polly, in contrast to Agnes, has lived a life devoted to the needs and desires of her husband and three sons and finds herself divided between her loyalty to Agnes and her sons’ wishes for the family property on the point. Interpersonal drama ensues!

If you love a book with a rich sense of place and complicated relationships, or you loved Haven Point by Virginia Hume or Elizabeth Strout's novels, you'd enjoy this book.

I love cooking, historical settings, and stories about women overcoming adversity, so this book was perfect for me.

Elizabeth Zott is a brilliant chemist, but it’s the 1960s and she often finds herself relegated to second-tier jobs by her all-male team. Until she meets Calvin, a fellow brilliant chemist, who falls quickly in love with Elizabeth for her mind. Years later, Elizabeth finds herself as a single mother trying to keep herself afloat, creating her own lab in her kitchen, and working as a reluctant TV chef a la Julia Child with a scientific twist.

This book is clever, wonderfully written, and peopled with loveable characters (and a VERY loveable dog named Six-Thirty). Even if you’re not a historical fiction reader, I think you may still enjoy this one. The characters are the main thing here, not the historical setting.

Essential reading for anyone who loves food, cooking, or books about or set in France. Julia Child is an icon to many home cooks and her memoir does not disappoint.

If you’re familiar with the movie Julie and Julia, this book will feel very familiar to you since it served as the source material for the Julia storyline of that movie (which is my absolute favorite part). It’s a vicarious adventure that I loved every minute of. Julia had such a presence and a graceful ability to make people feel valued and welcomed in her own home kitchen, but also in their own. Even if you’re less of a francophile than me, if you love food, hospitality, home, or just a good memoir, this is a great pick for you.

Pick this book up and be transported to a French kitchen and study at Le Cordon Bleu. Highly recommend it. It's funny, insightful, and just a joy to read.

This is such a delightful book. I heard about it when Steven Rowley was interviewed on The Shit No One Tells You About Writing podcast (my favorite writing podcast, FYI), but didn't know much about the details of the plot until picking it up on audio.

A brief summary: When Patrick's brother loses his wife to cancer and has a health crisis of his own, he asks Patrick to take his two children to live with him in his Palm Springs home for the summer. Though Patrick loves his niece and nephew, he's rather out of his league and has been consumed by the loss of his partner and his floundering acting career without much concern for the needs of others. Over the course of the summer, the trio becomes a close-knit family and Patrick comes out of his fog to care for people beyond himself and learns to love his life again.

This book is heartfelt and humorous and I highly recommend it. It's also great on audio and is narrated by Rowley himself.

I heard Ann Patchett recommend this and it reminded me of my childhood days reading Justin Morgan Had a Horse, so I picked it up.

This is a tri-timeline book: one takes place in Kentucky in the 1850s, the second takes place in New York City in the 1950s, and the third takes place in Washington, D.C., in the (relatively) present day. All three timelines use historical records as their basis. In the present day, the story begins with a discarded painting of one of the most famous racehorses in history resurfaces and offers clues to the identity of a horse skeleton stored in the attic of the Smithsonian, simply labeled as “horse.” That discovery serves as the launch point for a complicated and compelling story stretching across decades and state lines.

It's a book about horses, race, class, and history. I loved every minute of it. If you enjoy dual timeline or historical fiction that has something to say about the world we live in today, you should absolutely pick it up.

Have you read any of my top reads from 2022? What did you think? What were your favorite reads of 2022? Tell me in the comments so I can grow my TBR!



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Image by Susan Q Yin


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