Get out your library card or open your Libro.fm account if you’re looking for some good reading material. I read (or listened to) 60 books in 2022. Some were fantastic and others were flops. I’m not afraid to quit a book, and luckily, I only had one such book on the list this year that I just couldn’t finish because it was too strange. Here were my six favorite books I read during 2022.
A Note on Buying and Borrowing Books
I’ve included affiliate links to each of the books. If you purchase through one of these links, Honestly Modern earns a very small commission that has no impact on your purchase price.
If you can find the books from your local library, from a friend, at an independent bookstore, or through a used book shop, those sources are ideal. Using the library is zero waste, saves money, and saves space in your home because you can read all the books without storing all the books on your bookshelves. If you’re not sure of the best way to use your local library, check out these tips to make the most of your local library. With a little exposure, your kids will learn to LOVE the library!
If you prefer to listen to audiobooks, I recommend using Libro.fm, my favorite audiobook app. I’ve tried several audiobook apps, and I love that Libro.fm supports independent bookstores and offers a great user experience.
6 Favorite Books I Read in 2022
Hunt, Gather, Parent: What Ancient Cultures Can Teach Us About the Lost Art of Raising Happy, Helpful Little Humans by Michaleen Doucleff, PhD
I totally loved the perspective this author took on how we think about raising kids. For thousands of years, humans raised children in much the same way. Communities shared the responsibilities of raising kids. Multiple generations contributed to child-rearing. And kids learned to contribute and be helpful members of the community at a very young age.
In just the last few decades, mountains of “parenting experts” have shared ideas about what good parenting looks like and the best strategies to raise the next generation. Many of these ideas counter what worked for thousands of years. The author encourages readers to revisit parenting methods of centuries past and consider how they might apply today in a modernized version.
Genre Parenting | Pages 352 | Length 11 hours 11 minutes
The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson
The Seed Keeper shares the story of an Indigenous woman from a nation in Minnesota who grew up and married a white man. Throughout her life, she struggled to find herself between different cultural identities. The story is not only about one woman’s struggles but also provides a lot of commentary on how the United States has treated Native Americans throughout history.
You can see my much deeper review of the book I shared earlier this year.
Genre Fiction | Pages 392 | Length 10 hours 42 minutes
Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
I remember hearing great reviews about this book and it definitely lived up to the hype. Unexpected twists and turns carry two siblings on a journey through their family history via the voice of their mother. It’s such an engaging story and one that I highly recommend reading simply for delight.
Genre Fiction | Pages 400 | Length 12 hours
Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen
Whoa! There is so much in this book I didn’t know (because my teachers never told me in school history curricula). While this book is partially a lesson in United States history, it’s really a commentary on how we decide what history to teach.
There is far too much history to cover in just a few years of middle and high school history classes, so someone has to decide what to cover and what to leave out. And those decisions have significant impacts on how citizens come to understand the country, the people who created it, and the culture we live in now. This book, though many years old, was fascinating and I highly recommend it.
Genre History & Nonfiction | Pages 480 | Length 17 hours 35 minutes
Ejaculate Responsibly by Gabrielle Blair
The conversation around abortion will almost certainly be fraught for the foreseeable future. But Blair argues that we are having the wrong conversations and fighting the wrong battles (or at least missing some really important angles).
In this book, Blair encourages readers to focus on preventing unwanted pregnancies as a significant way to reduce abortions overall. She correctly concludes that the prevention of unwanted pregnancies is a topic that is woefully underappreciated in the abortion debate.
She calls out the lack of attention paid to programs and policies that could prevent unwanted pregnancies (leading to far fewer abortions even when they are legal). And she calls out the unfair responsibility women bear in being held accountable for preventing and dealing with unwanted pregnancies.
This is a quick read that addresses many relevant points that should be far greater elements of our conversations about abortion. I shared a more detailed review here.
Genre Nonfiction & Social Science| Pages 144 | Length 3 hours 8 minutes
Paradise Falls: The True Story of an Environmental Disaster by Keith O’Brien
I never heard about the environmental tragedies in Buffalo, New York, and Niagara Falls, NY, throughout history before reading this book. This book details the significant pain and toll a lack of environmental oversight and regulation had on lower to middle-income communities around Niagara Falls in the mid to late twentieth century.
While the information about the actual events was interesting, the bigger takeaways reinforce the problematic social justice issues we face when governments don’t protect the communities they are elected to serve and corporations don’t act as good stewards to their communities. It’s an issue that has destroyed many communities and continues to be problematic today.
Genre Non-Fiction | Pages 480 | Length 13 hours 5 minutes
About The Author
Jen Panaro, founder and editor-in-chief of Honestly Modern, is a self-proclaimed composting nerd and an advocate for sustainable living for modern families. In her spare time, she’s a serial library book borrower, a messy gardener, and a mom of two boys who spends a lot of time in hockey rinks and on baseball fields.
You can find more of her work at Raising Global Kidizens, an online space to help parents and caregivers raise the next generation of responsible global citizens.