Review of Moira’s Pen, by Megan Whalen Turner

Moira’s Pen

A Queen’s Thief Collection

by Megan Whalen Turner
illustrations by Deena So’Oteh

Greenwillow Books, 2022. 203 pages.
Review written December 19, 2022, from my own copy pre-ordered from amazon.com
Starred Review

I’m so happy to enter the world of the Queen’s Thief again! Moira’s Pen is a collection of stories about the beloved characters from The Queen’s Thief series, giving a little more insight and backstory in some cases, in other cases letting us know what happened later or with side characters. The time range goes from Gen’s childhood to the life of one of his descendants.

Because it’s so wrapped up in the other six books, I don’t recommend this as a gateway to the series, but it’s a delightful dessert after you’ve read the books — and will make you want to reread the whole thing.

Megan Whalen Turner also includes some pictures of actual artifacts that inspired elements of the series. So you’ve got some insight into the stories behind the stories. This is a lovely volume, as besides those illustrations, there are full-page pictures for each story.

Here’s the explanation for the title from the front of the book:

Moira is the messenger of the gods. She carries a feather pen, sometimes in her hand, sometimes behind her ear. In the past, Moira loaned her pen to mortals. When the historian Eutritus succumbed to temptation and used it not just to record history, but to alter it, Moira promised the Great Goddess Hephestia never to do so again. After that, historians could only pray that she would guide their pens and be their muse.

Not only historians prayed to her, though. All wordwrights did. Every year a playwriting competition was held in Moira’s honor in the city of Attolia. The plays were performed during the Moirian Festival, and the winner of the competition would receive a feather pen crafted from solid gold.

Nearest of the gods to mortals, Moira sees them in all their folly and their wisdom and records what she sees. When people wished for something to come true they would say, “May it be written with Moira’s pen.”

I faced a dilemma when my preordered copy of this book arrived. I was reading for the Cybils, so I didn’t have time for this book (which was published after the deadline). But how could I resist? Well, the answer came when I realized that since it’s short stories, I could read a short story from this book as a reward for finishing another book. That ended up spreading out the book and making me happy each time I treated myself to another story.

Fans of Megan Whalen Turner will be delighted with this book.

meganwhalenturner.org

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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Review of Garlic & the Vampire, by Bree Paulsen

Garlic and the Vampire

by Bree Paulsen

Quill Tree Books (HarperCollins), 2021. 154 pages.
Review written January 9, 2022, from a library book
Starred Review

Garlic and the Vampire is a fun graphic novel suitable for early elementary school kids. The book opens with bulb of garlic with a body oversleeping and being teased by her friend Carrot when she’s late. They’re part of a whole group of sentient vegetables made by kindly Witch Agnes. Garlic and her friends help Agnes tend her garden and sell the produce in the village market. They happily interact with the people in the village.

Garlic has some anxiety about doing her job well. Witch Agnes tries to reassure her and encourage her that she’s doing fine.

But then somebody moves into the castle overlooking the valley. Agnes’s magic mirror shows them that a vampire has returned. The vegetables go into a panic. What about the people in the village?

But everybody knows that vampires are afraid of garlic, so they decide that Garlic should confront the vampire.

Witch Agnes gives her tools to help her, but it takes all Garlic’s courage to do the job.

And things turn out like no one expects – in a fun and child-friendly way.

A delightful, quirky, and very sweet story about a little bulb of garlic being brave.

harperalley.com

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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Review of From Dust, a Flame, by Rebecca Podos

From Dust, a Flame

by Rebecca Podos

Balzer + Bray, 2022. 400 pages.
Review written November 12, 2022, from a library book
Starred Review

Wow. This is one of those books I can only describe as intricately woven.

The story begins simply enough. It’s the eve of Hannah’s seventeenth birthday, and what she wants is to get to go to summer school to improve that one B she got. But her mother insists they can’t afford it, even though she’s dragged them all around the country until Hannah got into Winthrop Academy. Then her big brother Gabe lets down their birthday tradition by not staying awake until her birthday hits. But those annoyances fade to insignificance when, on her birthday, Hannah wakes up with yellow eyes, slitted like a snake’s.

But before they can do anything, the next day she wakes up with a new deformity, ranging from fins to scales to claws. They always go away in the night, and she always wakes up with something new.

Hannah’s mother takes the problem to heart. She says she knows a specialist who can fix the problem, and Hannah and Gabe should stay in their apartment. She’ll be back in a few days.

Instead, their mother is gone for weeks. So when they get a mysterious note telling them about their grandmother’s death — a grandmother they didn’t know existed — they show up to sit shiva with a big Jewish family they knew nothing about.

After they get to the home of relatives, we start getting occasional chapters telling us about what happened when Hannah’s mother was seventeen and why she left her mother’s house, never to return. And that story has to do with her mother’s mother, the one who recently died, and her history in Prague before the war, as well as stories she brought with her, and maybe something more tangible.

There are stories within stories here, and ultimately deep danger to Hannah and everyone she loves. This book is wonderfully woven and involves golems and sheydim and amulets from Jewish folklore.

rebeccapodos.com
epicreads.com

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Review of How to Keep House While Drowning, by KC Davis, LPC

How to Keep House While Drowning

A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organizing

by KC Davis, LPC

Simon Element, 2022. 152 pages.
Review written January 8, 2023, from a library book.
Starred Review
2022 Sonderbooks Standout:
#2 General Nonfiction

Oh, how I wish this book had existed when I was a young wife and young mother!

Now? Well, I’m not drowning so much as I was then — but I still have some mental hang-ups around housework, and this book helps soothe them, even though that soothing isn’t quite as desperately needed.

And this book is so soothing! And so gentle! And so soul-feeding!

The basic message of this book is this: “Care tasks are morally neutral.”

And underlying that message is calling them “care tasks” instead of “chores” — thus taking away a sense of duty.

I also love that she doesn’t try to shame you into getting your space more organized. She doesn’t prescribe a certain way of doing things and acknowledges that everyone is different and what’s functional for you is what works.

When I viewed getting my life together as a way for trying to atone for the sin of falling apart, I stayed stuck in a shame-fueled cycle of performance, perfectionism, and failure.

When will we learn that shame and scolding and punishment is not a good way to improve? This book is full of gentleness that will inspire you.

Doing care tasks is not a duty, but a kindness to future you. All part of self-care.

And the book is full of kind tips for helping yourself do those care tasks and live a functional life.

The way the author ends the Introduction is beautiful and healing, and will give you an idea of what you’ll find in this book:

I’ll say it again: you don’t exist to serve your space; your space exists to serve you.

In this book, I’m going to help you find your way of keeping a functional home — whatever “functional” means for you. Together, we are going to build a foundation of self-compassion and learn how to stop negative self-talk and shame. Then, and only then, can we begin to look into ways to maneuver around our functional barriers. I have so many tips for how to clean a room when you are feeling overwhelmed, how to hack motivation for times when you feel like doing nothing, how to organize without feeling overwhelmed, ideas for getting the dishes and the laundry done on hard days, and lots of creative hacks for working with a body that doesn’t always cooperate. And we are going to do it without endless checklists and overwhelming routines.

As you embark on this journey I invite you to remember these words: “slow,” “quiet,” “gentle.” You are already worthy of love and belonging. This is not a journey of worthiness but a journey of care. A journey of learning how we can care for ourselves when we feel like we are drowning.

Because you must know, dear heart, that you are worthy of care whether your house is immaculate or a mess.

I highly encourage you to check out this book if you have any level of emotional baggage with care tasks.

strugglecare.com

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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Review of What My Bones Know, by Stephanie Foo

What My Bones Know

A Memoir of Healing from Complex Trauma

by Stephanie Foo
read by the author

Random House Audio, 2022. 10 hours, 3 minutes.
Review written December 22, 2022, from a library eaudiobook
Starred Review
2022 Sonderbooks Standout:
#1 General Nonfiction

This book is amazing. It’s full of helpful information about healing from complex trauma, and it also tells a compelling story about a resilient person trying to cope with awful things in her history.

Stephanie’s a journalist. So when she got a diagnosis of Complex PTSD, she documented her journey of trying to cope and trying to heal.

Once we find out what her childhood was like, the listener of this audiobook isn’t at all surprised by her diagnosis. Her parents subjected her to horrific abuse — and then abandoned her when she was a teen. That she came to have a functional life and successful career is amazing.

But Stephanie was thrown by her diagnosis. She began reading about C-PTSD, which develops from chronic trauma over a long period of time that a person has to deal with on a daily basis and never feels safe. Her reading told her that C-PTSD has permanent negative effects on people’s lives, and she became afraid that she was incapable of good relationships or a happy life — that everything she did would be destructive.

And there were some low points in her journey and some unhelpful therapists and methods of therapy. But the book progresses to where she came to understand and make peace with her background and learned ways to connect with others and build a meaningful, happy life. In the audiobook, she includes recordings from very helpful sessions she had with an expert on C-PTSD. The book builds to her wedding — where she realized she’d built family and community, and then to the time of the pandemic — where she learned that the coping skills she’d learned as a child were actually superpowers when faced with an actual crisis. They aren’t all bad.

And all of this was fascinating storytelling, combined with deep insights about life and coping and building relationships and healing. A truly wonderful book. You’ll get something out of this no matter what your background.

stephaniefoo.me

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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Review of Monsters in the Fog, by Ali Bahrampour

Monsters in the Fog

by Ali Bahrampour

Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2022. 32 pages.
Review written December 23, 2022, from a library book
Starred Review

Oh, this book is exactly what I love in a picture! A sweet story full of surprises with a great message and a twist at the end. This is one of those picture books that makes me sad I’m not doing storytimes any more.

The main character is Hakim, a donkey. He reminds me of Sylvester, from Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. The beginning pages set the stage:

It’s hard to knit a sweater with your hooves,
but Hakim somehow did it.
It was a present for his friend Daisy,
who lived on top of the mountain.

He packed the sweater in his saddlebag.
“She’ll love it,” he thought. “It gets cold up there.”

It was a foggy morning.
Hakim could barely see the end of his nose.

Then Hakim starts encountering others on the narrow, winding trail. The first one appears out of nowhere and warns Hakim to turn around because there are monsters up the mountain!

And then Hakim starts seeing frightening shapes in the fog. But when he gets closer, they turn out to be other frightened travelers. My favorite one is the shape like a screaming skull that turns out to be a bear on a runaway tricycle.

Each animal Hakim encounters ends up joining the group climbing the mountain, with help carrying things in Hakim’s saddlebags. The last shape in the fog they encounter ends up being a wonderful surprise.

At the end, Hakim gives his friend her present and the other animals go on their way in the sunshine on the other side of the mountain.

But I love Hakim’s wise words first:

“Everything looks like a monster in the fog,” said Hakim.
“But the closer you get, the less scary it becomes.”

This is a picture book that’s destined to become a classic.

alibahrampourbooks.com

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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Review of Little Thieves, by Margaret Owen

Little Thieves

by Margaret Owen
read by Saskia Maarleveld

Macmillan Audio, 2021. 14 hours.
Review written October 31, 2022, from a library eaudiobook
Starred Review
2022 Cybils Finalist, Young Adult Speculative Fiction
2022 Sonderbooks Stand-out: #1 Teen Fantasy Fiction

Oh, this book is so, so good! I listened to it while on a road trip four hours away to New River Gorge National Park and found myself looking forward to spending more time in the car, almost more mesmerized by the audiobook than I was by the stunning autumn leaves. The narrator did a wonderful job weaving the spell, and I was hooked from the very beginning.

The book begins with a dark tale:

Once upon a time, on the coldest night of midwinter, in the darkest heart of the forest, Death and Fortune came to a crossroads.

They’ve come to the crossroads to meet with a woman and her four-year-old child. The mother believes her child is bad luck. The woman was a thirteenth child, and this child is her thirteenth. So that is how Vanja gets Death and Fortune as her godmothers.

But then we fast forward twelve more years. Vanja is wearing the face of a princess, and she’s planning a jewel heist at the house party of another noble family.

We learn that for a year, Vanja has been masquerading as the princess whom she once served, using the princess’s enchanted pearls that give her a beautiful appearance and play on the desires of those who look upon her. She’s betrothed to the margrave of Boern, but he has been away at war for a year, so she’s had charge of his castle.

As she pulls off the elaborate jewel heist, at the end of the first chapter we read:

Once upon a time, there was a girl as cunning as the fox in winter, as hungry as the wolf at first frost, and cold as the icy wind that kept them at each other’s throats.

Her name was not Gisele, nor was it Marthe, nor even Pfennigeist. My name was — is — Vanja. And this is the story of how I got caught.

I saw on the flap that this book is a retelling of “The Goose Girl,” and for a little while, I was faintly horrified to find myself sympathizing with the horrible maid who stole the princess’s life, a princess I came to love in Shannon Hale’s version, The Goose Girl. But this is a very different retelling! I think it’s kind of funny that now two of my favorite books came from that fairy tale, but in such different versions.

In this version, the truly terrible villain is actually the margrave the princess was traveling to marry.

And as Vanja pulls off her jewel heist as the Pfennigeist, she learns that the margrave is coming home. And he’s called in the Order of the Prefects of the Godly Courts to uncover the Pfennigeist. And on her way back to the margrave’s castle, she runs afoul of another of the Lower Gods and gets cursed to slowly turn into a statue of jewels by the full moon — unless she makes up for all she has taken.

Of course, that may not be the worst thing, because now that the margrave is back, he wants to get married quickly. And what are these monsters that keep coming after his bride?

But oh, there’s so much more — I’d better not try to tell all the threads woven together and then skillfully unwound.

I will say this is a very loose retelling of the fairy tale, with many more details woven into the story. Instead of being an actual goose girl, the deposed princess works in an orphanage which in German (or something like it) is called Gosling House. A junior prefect who comes to investigate the thefts is named Conrad, and yes, a dead horse is important to the plot by the end.

Besides being a very loose retelling, it’s also much darker than Shannon Hale’s retelling, but after all, we’re pulled into sympathy with the villain of that tale — she hasn’t been treated well by the nobility, including sexual assault by the margrave when she had the appearance of a servant. (Nothing sexual is onstage, but there are some innuendoes and some dark moments.)

But oh my goodness, how well the plot is woven!

I thought of it as an alternate-reality medieval Germany, since they use a Germanic language and The Goose Girl is a fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm. So then I was pulled up short when same-sex relationships and transgender people are seen as entirely normal. Kind of pulled me out of the medieval Germany vibe. But then I laughed at myself. It was a world where the religion involved tribute to the Lower Gods, including gods of place and the gods of Death and Fortune. So without our same Scripture, why wouldn’t same-sex relationships be seen as normal?

But oh my goodness, the plot of this book is wonderful! Vanja’s set up with lots of problems — She also wants to gain enough money to get out of the Blessed Empire so she won’t have to serve one of her godmothers for the rest of her life. But she also needs to evade justice for her thefts and break the curse so she doesn’t get turned into a statue and continue to hide her true identity and stay alive despite the monstrous attacks and also try to avoid marrying the margrave.

Yes, it’s complicated, but magnificently so.

Oh, and the title? It comes from a proverb from the Blessed Empire:

The little thief steals gold, but the great one steals kingdoms;
and only one goes to the gallows.

margaret-owen.com
fiercereads.com

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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2022 Sonderbooks Stand-outs — Books for Kids

Tonight I’m going to post my third and final batch of 2022 Sonderbooks Stand-outs — with Children’s Fiction and Nonfiction and Picture Books.

Sonderbooks Stand-outs are my personal favorite books from those I read this year. I’m not judging by literary merit, but simply by fondness. How much did these books warm my heart?

The ranking is very subjective, and I make multiple categories when it’s hard to decide. I split Children’s Fiction into Speculative Fiction and everything else, and I split Picture Books into Silly Fun and everything else. It seems like an awful lot of books, but I read even more.

All of these books are highly recommended and much loved:

Children’s Speculative Fiction

  1. Little Monarchs, by Jonathan Case
  2. The Ogress and the Orphans, by Kelly Barnhill
  3. Garlic and the Vampire, by Bree Paulsen
  4. The Last Mapmaker, by Christina Soontornvat
  5. Amari and the Night Brothers, by B. B. Alston

More Children’s Fiction

  1. The Secret Battle of Evan Pao, by Wendy Wan-Long Shang
  2. Merci Suárez Plays It Cool, by Meg Medina
  3. The Boys in the Back Row, by Mike Jung
  4. Those Kids from Fawn Creek, by Erin Entrada Kelly
  5. Different Kinds of Fruit, by Kyle Lukoff
  6. Answers in the Pages, by David Levithan
  7. Attack of the Black Rectangles, by Amy Sarig King
  8. Stuntboy #1: In the Meantime, by Jason Reynolds and Raúl the Third
  9. Premeditated Myrtle, by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Children’s Nonfiction

  1. Marshmallow Clouds, by Ted Kooser and Connie Wanek, illustrated by Richard Jones
  2. Before Music, by Annette Bay Pimentel, illustrated by Madison Safer
  3. Bake Infinite Pie with X + Y, by Eugenia Cheng, illustrated by Amber Ren
  4. Washed Ashore, by Kelly Crull
  5. The Tide Pool Waits, by Candace Fleming, pictures by Amy Hevron
  6. Molly and the Mathematical Mysteries, by Eugenia Cheng, illustrated by Aleksandra Artymowska
  7. Galloping Gertie, by Amanda Abler, illustrated by Levi Hastings
  8. Sylvie, by Sylvie Kantorovitz
  9. Make Way for Animals!, by Meeg Pincus, illustrated by Bao Luu
  10. Blips on a Screen, by Kate Hannigan, illustrated by Zachariah OHora

Silly Fun Picture Books

  1. Monsters in the Fog, by Ali Bahrampour
  2. A Spoonful of Frogs, by Vera Brosgol
  3. This Book Is Not For You!, by Shannon Hale, illustrated by Tracy Subisak
  4. How to Be Cooler Than Cool, by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Jean Jullien
  5. The Three Billy Goats Gruff, by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
  6. Zero Zebras, by Bruce Goldstone, illustrated by Julien Chang
  7. The Legend of Iron Purl, by Tao Nyeu
  8. How to Be on the Moon, by Viviane Schwarz
  9. Too Many Pigs and One Big Bad Wolf, by Davide Cali, illustrated by Marianna Balducci
  10. Here We Come!, by Janna Matthies, illustrated by Christine Davenier

More Picture Books

  1. Berry Song, by Michaela Goade
  2. Like, by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Leo Espinosa
  3. A Seed Grows, by Antoinette Portis
  4. I’ll Go and Come Back, by Rajani LaRocca, illustrated by Sara Palacios
  5. Gibberish, by Young Vo

I’ll post all the missing reviews as soon as I can. I hope you get a chance to try some of these books!

And here’s my permanent webpage for all my 2022 Sonderbooks Stand-outs!

Happy Reading!

2022 Sonderbooks Stand-outs — Books for Teens

It’s taking me so long to post my Sonderbooks Stand-outs this year! But at last, I have no tooth pain and I’ve finished reading for the Cybils Awards and the Mathical Book Prize — and a long weekend coming up. I hope to get the whole set posted here and on a webpage before the weekend is done.

Again, Sonderbooks Stand-outs are simply my favorites — the books that stand out in my mind after a full year of reading. I don’t choose them for literary merit or any deeper criteria, but simply go with my heart — which books most warm my heart when I think of them?

The ranking is very subjective and goes back and forth a bit. Please take the ranking as secondary, because I love all of these books.

Many of these do not have their reviews posted yet, especially the ones I read for the Cybils. After I make a page for the Stand-outs, my next priority will be getting all these reviews posted.

Books for Teens were especially difficult this year, because I read more than I have in years. At the start of the year, I was a judge for the 2021 Cybils second round in Young Adult Speculative Fiction, and at the end of this year I was a panelist for the 2022 Cybils first round in the same category. I also think that I’ve had a delayed reaction to being on the 2019 Newbery committee, and for the last couple years have been less interested in reading middle grade books. I still read plenty, but I enjoyed binge-reading for award committees the older level books.

Anyway, I read so many speculative fiction books for teens, I decided to use three categories for teen books: Fantasy (a fantasy world), Paranormal (magic or paranormal activity in our world), and everything else. Here’s how I ranked them in those categories:

Teen Fantasy Fiction

  1. Little Thieves, by Margaret Owen
  2. A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, by T. Kingfisher
  3. Moira’s Pen, by Megan Whalen Turner
  4. Vespertine, by Margaret Rogerson
  5. The Excalibur Curse, by Kiersten White
  6. Year of the Reaper, by Makiia Lucier
  7. The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea, by Axie Oh
  8. So This Is Ever After, by F. T. Lukens

Teen Paranormal Fiction

  1. The Mirror Season, by Anna-Marie McLemore
  2. A Snake Falls to Earth, by Darcie Little Badger
  3. From Dust, a Flame, by Rebecca Podos
  4. The Weight of Blood, by Tiffany D. Jackson
  5. Lakelore, by Anna-Marie McLemore
  6. Bad Witch Burning, by Jessica Lewis

More Teen Fiction

  1. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  2. Aristotle and Dante Dive Into the Waters of the World, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  3. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, by Holly Jackson
  4. Good Girl, Bad Blood, by Holly Jackson
  5. As Good as Dead, by Holly Jackson
  6. All That’s Left in the World, by Eric J. Brown
  7. The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester, by Maya MacGregor

Teen Nonfiction

  1. Grand Theft Horse, by G. Neri, illustrated by Corban Wilkin
  2. Gone to the Woods, by Gary Paulsen
  3. Revolution in Our Time, by Kekla Magoon
  4. Welcome to St. Hell, by Lewis Hancox
  5. Punching Bag, by Rex Ogle

I guarantee some good reading with any of these books! Enjoy!

And here’s my permanent webpage for all my 2022 Sonderbooks Stand-outs!

2022 Sonderbooks Stand-outs – Books for Adults

Well, it’s time to announce my 2022 Sonderbooks Stand-outs! Way past time, in fact!

I like to post Stand-outs on January 1st, but this year a terrible toothache absorbed my attention. After getting a root canal and temporary crown, I’m ready to proceed.

To give you an idea of my difficult task, here are the numbers of books I read in 2022:

Adult Fiction: 11 books
Adult Nonfiction: 30 books
Teen Fiction: 56 books
Teen Nonfiction: 7 books
Children’s Fiction: 57 books
Children’s Nonfiction: 113 books (counting many picture books)
Fiction Picture Books: 283 books

Let’s say the children’s nonfiction books are all picture books, even though they’re not. That would be grand totals of

396 picture books
161 longer books

Grand total: 557 books read in 2022.

So if I have chosen 93 stand-outs (and I have), you see that I’m actually making difficult choices.

My list of Stand-outs come from all the books I read in a year and they are my personal favorites. I’m not ranking them by literary merit — I’m listing the books that I enjoyed the most.

As an example of a quirky choice, my Sonderbooks Stand-out #9 in General Nonfiction is Carotid and Vertebral Artery Dissection, by Jodi A. Dobbs and Amanda P. Anderson – simply because I had a vertebral artery dissection that caused a stroke eleven years ago, and at last I have a source of information validating my experiences with that. Definitely a Stand-out for me!

This year was extra difficult in the Teen Fiction category, because I was a second round judge for the Young Adult Speculative Fiction category last January and a first round panelist for the same category this Fall. And read lots in between. So as usual, I decided to solve that difficulty by breaking things up into multiple categories.

Many of the books do not have reviews posted yet, especially the ones I read for the Cybils (before we chose our Finalists), so my next priority will be getting the reviews for all these books posted.

It also turns out that it’s taking me a long time to get the books listed with links to the reviews, so I’m going to break this post up to get more titles out sooner.

Here are the books for grown-ups that I especially loved in 2022:

Fiction

  1. The Golden Enclaves, by Naomi Novik
  2. Black Cake, by Charmaine Wilderson
  3. The Murder of Mr. Wickham, by Claudia Gray
  4. The 100 Years of Lenni and Margot, by Marianne Cronin
  5. The Reading List, by Sara Nisha Adams

Christian Nonfiction

  1. Miracles and Other Reasonable Things, by Sara Bessey
  2. Wholehearted Faith, by Rachel Held Evans
  3. The Whole Language, by Gregory Boyle
  4. Freeing Jesus, by Diana Butler Bass
  5. Learning to Pray, by James Martin, S.J.
  6. Open and Unafraid, by W. David O. Taylor
  7. Braving the Thin Places, by Julianne Stanz

Other Nonfiction

  1. What My Bones Know, by Stephanie Foo
  2. How to Keep House While Drowning, by KC Davis
  3. Conversations with People who Hate Me, by Dylan Marron
  4. The Choice, by Edith Eva Eger
  5. Collective Wisdom, by Grace Bonney
  6. Invisible Acts of Power, by Caroline Myss
  7. Call Us What We Carry, by Amanda Gorman
  8. Playing with Myself, by Randy Rainbow
  9. Carotid and Vertebral Artery Dissection, by Jodi A. Dodds & Amanda P. Anderson

Here are my 2022 Sonderbooks Stand-outs for Teens.
And here are my 2022 Sonderbooks Stand-outs for Children.

And here’s my permanent webpage for all my 2022 Sonderbooks Stand-outs!