In 2022 I read 129 books by 129 Books by 101 authors.
It took a solid two weeks to do it but here's my top 10 of the year.
(All books can be purchased at your local bookstore BUT if you're shopping on Amazon click any book cover or title to go straight to my amazon store!)
#10 Feeding The Soul by Tabitha Brown.
I should go ahead and admit that non-fiction isn't my typical pick up. I made a point of trying to add more to my reading list to branch out of my comfort zone and I found some gems, for sure. I had no idea how timely this book was when I picked it up. This book taught me a lot about Tab and her journey but she filled this book with so much love and encouragement that I needed throughout the year. It is a really quick read but it's Tabitha Brown's spirit and energy fills these pages and there's sure to be something good for your soul within the pages. Read the full review here.
#9 You Made A Fool Of Death With Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi The first reviews that I saw for this book warned that it was riddled with entertaining mess. I picked this up because I needed to see what the hype was all about. This was my first read by Akwaeke Emezi and I fell in love with their writing style but I also loved the story they created in this book. Feyi was a peice of work for sure but this book deals with grief in such an interesting way and I couldn't put it down until I was done. Was it messy? No doubt but the story is captivating and if you can get past the mess you'll see that it's really about two people who found love again, bonded in part by their mutual understanding of grief. I personally support Feyi living her best life, she deserves it. No Feyi slander will be tolerated.
#8 Wash Day Diaries by Jamila Rowser and Robyn Smith When I first saw that cover for this book I was absolutely in love. I am and have always been a comic book loving, graphic novel reading girlie but this graphic novel will forever hold a special place in my heart. I, as a black women, felt seen through this book in a way that I've never experienced before. The journeys of these women individually and collectively capture black girl hood and friendship in such an authentic way. There was no way I could leave this book out of my top 10. This kind of representation is EVERYTHING to me. If you're looking to branch into the graphic novel world this would be an amazing start.
#7 Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West
I loved this book so much. My heart connected to Sara's story in such an unexpected way. Sara and the Scarlet Poplar crew live rent free in my head. Catherine Adel West created a cast of characters that I could easily love and become invested in. I felt so many emotions while reading this book. Sara is such a special character and I was rooting for her and Lebby to find their way to happy, somehow. I did read Saving Ruby King after I read this one and it is another fantastic read but I would recommend reading it first but whether you're reading this book alone, first or second you're sure to enjoy the story from beginning to end. This authors storytelling ability is absolute magic.
#6 Someday, Maybe by Onyi Nwabineli This book snuck its way into the top ten in the last few weeks of the year but it absolutely deserves to be there. This book deals with a women grieving the loss of her husband who chose to end his life. Her journey is raw and emotional but the love surrounding this women is so pure and beautiful. You grieve with Eve as she navigates the depression and grief. You watch a family try to navigate the murky waters that comes with helping her get through her darkness. This book deals with immensely heavy grief and I highly recommend checking trigger warnings before diving in. Truly a masterclass in grief based story telling but very heavy. Read with care.
#5 Seven Days In June by Tia Williams I remember Eva and Shane's story as if I read it yesterday but I actually read it towards the beginning of the year. The book handled really heavy topics in a beautiful way. I love that it didn't shy away from the flaws of their youth and the baggage they carried into adulthood.Tia William's is such a talented writer and I loved getting know Eva and Shane's story. I admit that at the beginning of this book I was wondering where it was going. The whole fan club brunch situation had me a little concerned but this book beyond lived up to the hype for me. Eva and Shane were complex characters that were easy to love. Eva’s daughter, Audre, was my favorite character. Hilarious, smart and a young black female entrepreneur in the making. I finished this book and wanted more.
#4 Honey and Spice by Bolu Babalola Love In Color showed me that Bolu Babalola knew how to write love stories but Honey and Spice made her an instant but author for me. I was entertained from start to finish and the banter between Kiki and Kai was my favorite thing. These characters were easy to fall in love with and relate to. This story gave everything I wanted it to give. Friendship, sisterhood, drama, and black love. I had high hopes for this book and it exceeded expectations. I was entertained from start to finish. I also have to mention the potential playlist this book inspires is pure vibes. It's definitely a feel good book and the audiobook is absolutely flawless. Highly recommend! And I mean it... if this authors name is on it, I'm reading it. No hesitation.
#3 Don't Cry For Me by Daniel Black This is a book of letters from a dying father to his son. In these letters he’s explaining to his son the lessons that he’s been taught, by his grandfather and by life, about what it means and what it looks like to be a man. As he progresses through each letter and unpacks his own life you see him realizing the many flaws that existed in his parenting (and other life decisions) and in his denial about who his son really was. This book is an amazing, heart wrenching piece of work that I devoured and spent days processing. This story gives you so much to think about.In these letters he’s sharing his own secrets and traumas, in hopes of making amends with his son or at least to help him reach an understanding as to why he went about things the way he did. In some letters Jacob is simply explaining that at the time he was doing the best he could with what he knew, in others he’s calling himself out for his mistakes and acknowledging that he could have done better. All in all, I adored this book and the way it made me think about my relationship with my parents and what kind of parent I want to be. Read the full review here.
Before I Let Go by Kennedy Ryan
Before I Let Go was my first Kennedy Ryan read but will not my last. I loved the storytelling in this book. The way that Yas' character was written is one of the main reasons it landed in my #2 spot of 2022. Yasmen is a character that I so easily understood. Her choices when it came to grieving and dealing with her mental health spoke to me on so many levels. I also appreciate the way the relationship between Yas and Josiah was portrayed. Are there things that could have been handled differently? Of course, but I think it speaks honestly to how difficult it can be to navigate long term relationships. I loved that this book gave you a healthier coparenting relationship between exes as well. This book deals with many levels of grief, complexities of long term relationships and the complicated relationship some black men have with therapy. I have such a special connection to this book and recommend it without hesitation. #1
The Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson
I was NEVER a fan of historical fiction until I read this book. It’s insightful and a testament to the strength of the people who came before me. Every decision that Pheby made was rooted in survival and the need to protect her children, especially her son, at all cost. This book was HEAVY but written so beautifully. Its a story of strength, survival, and the depths of a mother's love. This book made me feel every emotion, brought tears to my eyes and single handedly made Sadeqa Johnson an instant buy author. I have so many thoughts on this incredible story. You can read a full review here.