Marci’s Annual Book Round-Up for 2022
Typically, each January, I do a roundup of my favorite books from the previous year.
Since I was out on leave this past January, I thought today was the PERFECT day to share my recap because here in the U.S., it’s National Book Day!
Below are some of the books on the top of my list from 2022. It’s a mix of personal and professional books, listed in the order I read them. As always, you can join me on Goodreads if you happen to spend time there!
Home Body by Rupi Kaur A beautiful poetry collection on bodies, embodiment, and the various lives of the self.
So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo Fantastic primer on the foremost issues related to race in America. A straight forward, clear book in a question/answer format that is incredibly accessible.
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado I’m typically not one for Young Adult fiction but this coming of age story of a fat teen battling everything from conflicts with her mom, to relationships, to the culture at large, knocked my socks off. I completely fell in love with Charlie Vega. If you want an inspirational story that is willing to investigate tough issues, but with a whole lotta heart – Charlie Vega is it!
Reflective Practice in Supervision by Daphne Hewson and Michael Carroll This is a thorough, thoughtfully organized, and practical guide on reflective supervision. This book has informed my work tremendously and is the #1 book I recommend to clinicians looking to upskill in supervision.
The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles I LOVED this book. I am slightly obsessed with Towles, who can craft sentences, characters, and worlds that leave me in awe. I experienced all of the feels as I journeyed through this story and the characters remain with me still. Pick this one up, but maybe on your e-reader because dang it’s a big book.
You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame, Resilience, and the Black Experience edited by Tarana Burke and Brené Brown Holy smokes. I love a compilation and this one knocked it out of the park. With voices familiar and new to me, I loved hearing (literally, I listened to the audiobook- strong recommend) about vulnerability and shame as told from the perspective of the Black experience. It is so helpful to be pulled outside of my world view and perspective.. If you love Brown’s work, pick this one up, regardless of your racial identity.
A Fatal Grace and The Cruelest Month by Louis Penny I’m a sucker for a murder mystery and love the subgenre of “cozy mysteries” where the violence happens “off stage.” If this sounds like you, do yourself a favor and get transported into the world of Inspector Gamache and the fictional town of Three Pines. With sharp writing, quirky characters, and plots that will keep you guessing – Penny’s books are immensely satisfying.
The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race by Walter Isaacson This is science writing at its best! Doudna won the Nobel Prize in 2020 for her role in the development of CRISPR – a tool which edits DNA – perhaps the most important discovery since the structure of DNA itself. The unfolding story and multitude of academic contributors is riveting and at times stressful! It’s extra fun since much of the drama transpired down the street from me in Cambridge.
What My Bones Know: A Memoir of Healing from Complex Trauma by Stephanie Foo Ok, this book is ROUGH. Foo shares, in detail, the trauma she endured by her parents so please take care if you decide to read this. But if you have complex trauma or work with those who do, I strongly recommend this book. Foo generously shares the details of learning about her diagnosis of complex trauma and the various ways she sought and ultimately found healing. In particular, I loved listening to the transcripts from her therapy sessions. Another strong suggestion for the audio version of this book. Foo is a gifted writer and invites us to embrace our own humanity with bravery and kindness.
Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases by Paul Holes If you aren’t into true crime, you can skip this one. If you love true crime, you have likely already heard about Holes’ memoir. I found this book fascinating. Not only do we get to know about Holes as a person but also the complicated impact Holes’ work as a cold case investigator had on his inner world and personal life.
Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century edited by Alice Wong You know when you read (in my case listen) to a book that fundamentally alters and enlarges your understanding of the world and of how others live in it? That was this book for me. I recommend it to ALL humans – especially if you’re like me and pretty much operate with a reasonably healthy and reliably functioning body. This is an empathy and perspective expanding book and we need it.
I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jeanette McCurdy As someone who works in the world of eating disorders, I really appreciated McCurdy’s complicated life story and how she treats the development of her own eating disorder, in the context of trauma and unfortunate family dynamics. If you like memoirs centering on difficult relationships (particularly mother daughter ones), mental health, and plenty of humor- give this one a go.
Seven Days in June by Tia Williams Full-disclosure: I came for the steamy romance and stayed for the characters and plot that was so much more compelling than I was expecting. The author deals with the vulnerability that love requires, taking risks, tapping into our creativity and telling the stories that need telling. I was surprised by how much I loved this.
Reclaiming Body Trust: A Path to Healing and Liberation by Hilary Kinavey and Dana Sturtevant Buy this book. Read this book. For those looking to cultivate a radically different way of inhabiting and caring for your body, this is it. The structure and stories woven through make this incredibly accessible without compromising the richness of their message. Bravo Hilary and Dana!
The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray I loved this book. Belle, the main character, is not only an absolutely fascinating historical figure but she lived at such a complicated time in American history. The novel explores the post-civil war era when we had a shot at racial equity but completely blew it. The authors (one Black, one white) explore the complexities of a light skinned Black woman “passing” as white, the roles and rights of women, the world of the ultra rich, art, and so much more. The audio narrator was fantastic.
Starfish by Lisa Fipps I gobbled up this utterly delightful book in a matter of hours. It’s written in a unique style of free verse poetry and aimed at a middle grade audience. I fell in love with Ellie as the author takes fat shaming head on. You’ll be rooting for and inspired by Ellie from start to finish.
Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt I was not prepared for how much I would love this book. A decades old murder that is solved through the intelligence and help of an octopus? The premise may sound bananas but it works. If you want an engaging story with characters, both human and animal, that will make your heart burst, pick this one up. It’s perfect for summer.
Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto by Tricia Hersey I really appreciated the messages at the center of this book, particularly those related to the embodiment and the wisdom of our bodies. I appreciated gaining a deeper understanding of the relationships between slavery, the abuse of Black bodies, capitalism, and grind culture as we know it today. However, the book is extremely repetitive, so much so that I thought I was listening to entire sections verbatim on repeat. I wish the book had not only been better edited but that Hersey added more history and anecdotes to bring her thesis to greater life. I still consider it essential reading and will come back to it periodically as her message is so antithetical to my day to day “get shit done” mindset.
No Bad Parts: Healing Trauma and Restoring Wholeness with the Internal Family Systems Model by Richard Schwartz I’m a huge fan of IFS and am thrilled there is now a thorough user-friendly book about it for the public. The writing is solid and I love that Dr. Schwartz weaves in didactic material alongside mediations and session transcripts. The writing is compassionate and practical – excellent for clinicians and lay people alike.
Butts: A Backstory by Heather Radke I fully enjoyed this book, which explores the history of the various sociocultural forces that have shaped how we think, feel, and talk about butts. I LOVED that the author gives a shout out to my mentor and colleague Deb Burgard. As a bonus – threads of body acceptance and weight inclusivity are subtly woven in. Bodies are political and largely unchangeable. Yes.
Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year by Anne Lamott Have you ever ready the perfect book at the perfect time in your life? That was this book for me. Lamott captures early motherhood with such hysterical accuracy, I found myself laughing and nodding and crying and sighing. It was enormously comforting and a reminder of the power of books to keep us company during the various chapters of our lives.