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Here are the winners for 2022:
Solito by Javier Zamora
This non-fiction book was published in 2022 by acclaimed poet Javier Zamora. It was hard for me to put this incredible book down. We have all heard of the migrations of people, in particular children, from Central America to the US. This memoir is about the author’s 3000-mile journey from El Salvador to the US as a nine-year-old boy. Solito means alone in English; however, it is also a tribute to those who helped Zamora make this journey. This story will stay with me for a long time and changes the way I view at the children who cross the border in hopes of seeing their parents again. If you are open to finding out what that trek was like for a child, I recommend this book.
Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
This book is a winner. Set in 1950s America, it was an adventure through and through. Eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson was recently released from a work farm because his father died, and the family farm went into foreclosure. He and his eight-year-old brother Billy decide to drive to San Francisco from Nebraska along the Lincoln Highway in search of a new life and maybe their mother. The brother’s plan goes awry when two friends from the work farm hide themselves in the trunk of the warden’s car. As he drops off Emmett, they escape. The uninvited friends take Emmett and Billy in the opposite direction of their goal. Challenges tax Emmett and Billy at every turn. I held my breath to see if they could get back on track to reach their desired destination over the ensuing ten days. I enjoyed the story from start to finish!
Excellent reader on Audible.
Bittersweet by Susan Cain
I resonated with this book. It helped me feel more “normal” for my propensity to be a bittersweet person. The author describes bittersweetness as “a tendency to states of longing, poignancy, and sorrow; an acute awareness of passing time; and a curiously piercing joy at the beauty of the world. It’s also about the recognition that light and dark, birth and death – bitter and sweet – are forever paired.”
There was a quiz in the book in which I had a high score indicating I was “a true connoisseur of bittersweetness: the place where light and dark meet.” One question was whether I felt elevated by sad music. Yes, at certain times I am drawn to sad music. Some songs I play over and over again in one sitting and continue to come back to it over the years. After reading the book, I feel less weird about that.
Another question asked if I seek beauty in everyday life. Absolutely yes. “Lover of beauty” is included in my Facebook profile.
I have viewed mixed reviews on this book, but perhaps it just doesn’t strike a chord with those who score low on the quiz. That doesn’t mean the book is bad, just not a fit for them. I enjoyed it and felt a kinship with the author for helping me feel less isolated in my tendency for bittersweetness in my life.
The Righteous Mind could be the most important book to read this year. What year you ask? Any year.
A look back at previous year’s favorites:
Please feel free to comment below and share your favorite books with me!