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Five Books to Kick Off 2022

By Pam Lamp December 31, 2021 Lifestyle

Many of my friends make book-reading resolutions each year. They might set up a personal Reading Challenge on Goodreads, a free book recommendation site. Bookworms decide how many books they’d like to read in the next 365 days, and Goodreads helps them keep track. 

Some aspire to read, along with the novels they enjoy, 10 or so nonfiction books over the course of a year. 

And others – yours truly among them – choose books as the wind blows. We’ll read whatever intriguing book crosses our path. 

Whichever way you read, I wish you a happy, healthy 2022 filled with bountiful blessings, fabulous books, and loads of fun adventures. Happy New Year!

The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin

In an interview, the author describes her literary fiction novel as “four siblings, three cities, two tragedies, and a story you’ll never forget.”

It’s 2079 and Fiona, the youngest of the four Skinners, is 102. She’s a poet with enough success to fill venues at speaking engagements. 

As she looks back on her long life, Fiona questions the choices she and her brother and sisters made over the years. But they did the best they could at the time. Their young mom chose to retreat to her bedroom after her husband died. The kids didn’t have that option.

Do we all, as adults, continue in roles leftover from our childhoods? Oldest, youngest, middle, only boy? 

I raced through this beautifully-written book and now plan to reserve her first novel, The House Girl, at the library.

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

Be kind. Don’t judge. Written proof everyone is dealing with something we know nothing about. We all carry a secret of some sort.

This novel jumped onto my radar after my conversation with Susie Orman Schnall. And I regret I didn’t read it sooner. 

“I’m worried about what I want to be when I grow up,” said Claude, the youngest of five sons, to his parents. 

Once I settled in, I appreciated Ms. Frankel’s rambling sentences and spot-on multi-hyphen descriptors. Because that’s how we process our universe. We grab bits and pieces and store them in our mind’s various compartments. 

Although the book is fiction, the author draws from her own family dynamics and transgender child. And isn’t this why we read books – to get a glimpse inside another’s world and discover what else exists?

Shoulder Season by Christina Clancy

Yep, this book revolves around a Playboy bunny and a resort in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. But before you turn up your noses and look away…

Small-town Sherri leaps at the opportunity to leave home after her parents die. An unlikely bunny, she dives headfirst into the glamorous world of Playboy’s family-friendly (seriously!) resort. Amid a bevy of rules (the author interviewed former bunnies), living in the bunny hutch gives Sherri the sisterhood she never had. And plenty of vices too. 

This rocky coming-of-age story makes readers wonder if the grass is ever greener in the other yard. In this well-researched novel, Ms. Clancy causes us to question our decisions, especially the ones that haunt us for years to come. 

Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan Henry

“Reason is how we get to the truth, but imagination is how we find meaning.”

This novel, heralded as one of the best books of 2021, was a thought-provoking and enjoyable read for me. But because I ADORED Ms. Callahan’s prior bestsellers, Surviving Savannah and Becoming Mrs. Lewis, this one left me wanting more.

And that is likely my fault. 

Perhaps because, as a child, I never read C.S. Lewis’ beloved fantasy, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. In this tale, to escape the raging war in London, four children retreat to a country home and the magical world of Narnia.

And here’s where the two books intersect. In Once Upon a Wardrobe, Megs’ ailing little brother longs to learn how Narnia came to be. He begs his sister to ask the author himself, Professor Clive Staples Lewis, a tutor at the nearby university.

Megs, a mathematician, wants definitive answers. But C.S. Lewis, in response to her questions, only offers stories. A frustrated Megs discovers those tales lead to eventual understanding about life and the world around her.

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

By now, we’ve all lived long enough to know even “great guys” and “wonderful women” sometimes step out of bounds. Due to personal struggles or resentments or dashed dreams, we become the people we never thought we’d be.

But who in the world leaves their infant alone? Desperate for an evening out, a young couple grabs their baby monitor and heads next door for dinner with friends. 

And you can guess the rest. 

A huge thank you to Leslie and my online book friends for introducing me to Canadian author Shari Lapena and her page-turning mysteries. Please also check out Not a Happy Family.

Do you set reading goals for the year? Do you participate in a Reading Challenge? Do you read nonfiction AND fiction?

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The Author

Pamela Lamp is the author of Do the Next New Thing. At Who I Met Today, a blog and podcast, she interviews people from all walks of life. Through conversations about health, hobbies, books, food, and travel, she invites you to join her, explore uncharted territory, and expand your horizons.

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