I read so many great books this year. But after much deliberation, I’ve narrowed it down. As you make out your TBR list for 2023 (or whenever you’re reading this), consider adding some of these favorite books I read in 2022.
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I feel pretty strongly about most of the blog posts I share on The Merry Momma (obviously, or I wouldn’t write them!), but I have to say, my yearly book lists are some of my favorites. Reading is as essential to me as breathing, and the only thing that gets me fired up more than reading books is talking about the books I’ve read.
Related Post: Top 10 Blog Posts From 2022
(Of course, my utmost passion is pursuing God and life in Christ – so when the books I’m reading/sharing are on that topic? Look out world – the words are going to fly!)
I read a total of 92 books this year. This is actually lower than the last few years, due to a mid-year reading lull. My drought didn’t last long, however, and by August, I had rekindled my fire (thanks in no small part to our summer “TV Detox”).
However, if 92 books sounds like an insane number to you and you’re wondering how in the world I read that many books, here’s my answer. I will also say, I include our read-aloud chapter books in my total number, as well as audio books. (I didn’t have as many of those this year, which could also have contributed to my lower number of books.)
Related Post: How I Read So Many Books as a Busy Mom
Unfortunately, I don’t have the time or space to tell you about all 92. (I can hear the collective sigh of relief. 😉) But if you want to hear about my top favorite books I read in 2022, this is the post for you!
My Favorite Books From 2022
I read SO MANY great books this year. (Every year, my reading list seems to get better and better, and choosing my favorites gets harder and harder!) But after much deliberation, I’ve narrowed it down to my top favorites. As you make out your TBR list for 2023 (or whenever you’re reading this), consider adding some of these favorite books I read in 2022.
In the order I read them:
This book lit a fire under me to dive deeper into apologetics — both for my own sake and for the sake of my kids. If you don’t think that’s something all Christian mommas need to be prioritizing these days, you’ll be convinced within the first chapters. What I loved about this book was that it was filled with talking points, arguments, counterarguments, and other tools to equip us as we guide our kids. And it was a treasure trove of resources for further study.
When not one, not two, but THREE books in a row recommended this one, I was intrigued enough to get it. And that was a good call, because it is fascinating! After years of being an avowed (and vocal) atheist, cold-case homicide detective J. Warner Wallace decided to put his detective skills to work investigating the assertions of the New Testament… and became a passionate Christian in the process! He now says “the case for Christianity was as convincing as any case [he’d] ever worked on as a detective.”
Whether you’re a skeptic who doesn’t believe “all that nonsense,” or you’re a believer looking for tools to defend your faith, this book is a fascinating, deeply-researched exploration of the truth of Christianity.
Risen Motherhood: Gospel Hope for Everyday Moments – Emily Jensen & Laura Wifler
This book was my to-read list forever, and while I don’t know what took me so long to read it, I wish I would have sooner! It’s so fantastic, and I highly recommend it.
I love how they take various aspects & challenges of motherhood and compare culture’s message with the gospel message, showing how the gospel applies to even the most mundane moments of motherhood. If you could use a little more hope and encouragement in your mothering, read this book.
Habits of the Household: Practicing the Story of God in Everyday Family Rhythms – Justin Whitmel Earley
If you want cultivate a family culture that points your kids (and others) to Christ, yet is conducive to the busyness and messiness of real-life parenting, this book is pure gold. In it, Justin shows us how to establish intentional habits and rhythms around everyday routines to bring “spiritual meaning into otherwise mundane moments.”
Having recently read Family Discipleship by Matt Chandler and Adam Griffin (read my review here), I wondered if this book would be a repeat of everything I learned there. But it wasn’t at all. Yes, there were similar themes and concepts, but the books complemented each other quite well. I loved Justin’s focus on the development of consistent habits to shape hearts, and his idea of turning regular household routines into Gospel liturgies was fascinating.
This book is full of both big-picture frameworks and practical ideas for implementation, and I would heartily recommend it to every Christian family I know.
No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind – Daniel Siegel & Tina Payne Bryson
This is an excellent continuation of The Whole-Brain Child (which I put on my list of favorite reads from 2021). While there is some repetition from WBC (not a bad thing, since I needed the refresher!), this book dove more deeply into how to apply whole-brain science and strategies to discipline, specifically.
I’ve read a LOT of parenting books and listened to a LOT of parenting advice, and this has been, by far, the most helpful to me and the model I feel best about following. I love the focus on teaching because, as the authors repeatedly emphasize, the purpose of discipline is not to punish, but rather to teach. Something we often forget in the heat of tough parenting moments.
If you want to learn how to discipline in a way that stops undesirable behaviors in the short-run, builds skills in the long-run, and nurtures your relationship with your kids in the process, I can’t recommend this book enough.
**Note: I definitely recommend starting with The Whole-Brain Child, if you can, but they do explain things well enough in No-Drama Discipline that you wouldn’t be lost if you didn’t.
I have yet to read anything by Jen Wilkin that hasn’t blown me away with its insight and depth, and this one was no different.
As the back of the book says, there is a “growing disinterest and misunderstanding regarding the role of God’s life-giving, perfect law in the Christian life. Rather than the source of joy it was intended to be, the law is viewed as an angry god’s restrictions for a rebellious people.”
Even many Christians pit the law against the grace of Jesus as if one was “bad” and the other “good.” But in this book, Jen shows us the significance of the Ten Commandments for Christ-followers and how our obedience to them enables us to live in the full joyous freedom of a God-designed life.
Think you know the Ten Commandments backwards and forwards? Think you’re good because you’ve never killed anyone or cheated on your spouse? I guarantee, no matter how long you’ve been studying the Bible, this book will make you look at them in a whole new way. Jen shows us how to get to the heart of each commandment, practically apply it to our everyday lives, and obey from a place of delight in the Lord.
If you are/have ever been worn out from the constant hustle of measuring up to arbitrary standards — whether others’, your own, or (your perception of) God’s — this is a book you need to read. With incredible insight and raw vulnerability, Ruth shares her journey from striving for self-improvement and worldly approval to resting in and responding to God’s grace.
As the back of the book says, “Discover the true meaning of grace as you stop striving to be ‘enough,’ and start resting in the welcome Jesus has secured for you — because God’s grace is better than your very best.”
I read most of it in 3 days because I didn’t want to stop reading! And while some of it did get a little repetitive in parts, I didn’t even mind because it was a message I needed repeated so I could get it into my head and heart. I absolutely, whole-heartedly recommend this book to anyone who is tired of striving and wants to “replace the gospel of self-improvement with the gospel of life-transforming grace.”
Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible – E. Randolph Richards & Brandon O’Brien
I zoomed through this book because it was FASCINATING. My mind was blown through the whole thing. If you are any kind of student of the Word (which, if you are a Christian, you should be 😉), I highly encourage you to give it a read.
Here’s a (very) brief synopsis:
“Because of the cultural distance between the biblical world and our contemporary setting, we often bring Western biases to the text… Biblical scholars Randy Richards and Brandon O’Brien shed light on the ways that Western readers often misunderstand the cultural dynamics of the Bible.”
I had this book on my to-read shelf for over a YEAR, eager yet scared to read it. Eager because I had heard that it was life-changing, but scared because I knew it would be one of those books that I couldn’t unread. I knew I wouldn’t be able to go back to life as usual after I read it.
And it was, indeed, one of those books. It made me question so many of my goals and priorities and left me wondering what I’m even doing with my life.
Like the author, himself, I don’t know yet what to do with all of it. But I do know I couldn’t walk away from this book pretending I hadn’t been convicted to do more to spread the gospel and make my life count for something more than my own ease and comfort.
If you’re ready to be challenged and inspired to do more with your life, I highly recommend reading this book. (But it’s okay if it needs to sit on your shelf for a while before you do. 😉)
How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth – Gordon Fee & Douglas Stuart
I’ve been reading the Bible for decades now, and I’m no newbie to Bible study. I’ve even done a fair share of learning about “how to read/study the Bible.” So, to be honest, I kind of expected this book to be a lot of the same old stuff I’d read/heard before. But since it came highly recommended by a source I trust, I bought it anyway. (Used, though, so I wouldn’t be out much if I was right.)
Well, I was wrong. I learned SO much about how to (first) interpret the true, intended meaning of Scripture for its original audience, and (second) how to responsibly apply it to life today. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to read/study the Bible “for all its worth.”
Bonus: Grasping God’s Word: A Hands-On Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible – Duvall & Hays
Grasping God’s Word was like How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth on steroids. Literally a textbook for interpreting the Bible, it’s not a quick-and-easy read by any means. However, it’s VERY accessible for the average reader, and I’ve enjoyed going through it. It is WELL worth the read.
No More Perfect Kids: Love Your Kids for Who They Are – Jill Savage & Kathy Koch
This book challenged, convicted, and inspired me, and is a book every parent needs to read. It equip readers with the tools and perspective to:
- Identify and remove the Perfection Infection from their parenting
- Really know each child so they can fully embrace their unique design
- Release their children from unrealistic expectations
- Answer the questions their kids are silently asking in a way that gives them the courage and freedom to be themselves
If this sounds like a book you could use in your parenting, consider giving it a read!
Character Matters: Raising Kids With Values That Last – John & Susan Yates
Character Matters is a motivational, yet practical guide on building character in our families. What I love most about it is that while it does offer plenty of ways to instill each character trait in our kids, it does it from a foundation of first teaching us how to grow it in ourselves. This book is so so needed, and is a must-read for all families!
(Note: The version I have was written 30 years ago, so a few things are a bit outdated. But there’s an updated version from 2016. Regardless of which version you get, it’s a timeless resource!)
If you are raising a male, married to a male, or ARE a male, drop what you’re doing right now and run to get this book. It’s that good. I devoured it from the very first page to the final word. I don’t re-read books very often (I have too many others I want to read!), but this one I will.
I’ve been researching and teaching my kids about emotional regulation and healthy processing for a while now because of one child who was really struggling. So, some of the strategies in this book were not new to me. But the boy-specific insights and reasons behind them gave me greater understanding. And I’m walking away better equipped with effective tools to help both my boys grow into emotionally strong men.
I’m so thankful I read this book when I did. I definitely think this is a “better late than never,” but “the earlier the better” kind of read.
What’s So Amazing About Grace? – Philip Yancey
This book wrecked me. I wish I had read it years ago when I had very little understanding of (and therefore gave very little) grace. What a profoundly impactful read.
Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth – Richard Foster
Exploring and expounding on the “classic” disciplines of faith (Biblical meditation, prayer, fasting, worship, etc.), the book’s mission is to help readers “discover a richer spiritual life infused with joy, peace and a deeper understanding of God.”
In the book, Foster asserts that “superficiality is the curse of our age,” but that “the classical Disciplines of the spiritual life call us to move beyond surface living into the depths.”
I’ve learned a lot about each of the disciplines throughout the book, and it has greatly impacted me. I’m finding that it is, indeed, leading to greater depth of faith.
I appreciate, however, that throughout the book, Foster keeps the disciplines in their proper perspective — with the focus always on God. Otherwise, as he repeatedly points out, even spiritual disciplines can become idols.
If you want to grow deeper and strengthen your walk with God, I highly recommend this encouraging, challenging, thought-provoking resource.
Full of relatable stories, biblical wisdom, and practical ideas, this book’s mission is to help moms (and dads!) parent out of God’s abundant grace and acceptance rather than a pressure for perfection.
I love how it’s helping me balance grace and discipline in a way that repeatedly points my kids to Jesus. As Jeannie says, “If our desire is to see our kids grow in Christlike character, we must start by captivating them with his grace. Our kids must know something about Jesus’ heart for them before they will ever desire to seek his heart above all else.”
This is an excellent book for any momma who has ever felt the pressure to be a perfect parent raising perfect kids. I highly recommend it!
She Works His Way: A Practical Guide for Doing What Matters Most in a Get-Things-Done World – Michelle Myers & Somer Phoebus
This book completely flipped conventional “wisdom” on its head, but in the very best ways possible. It pointed out 100 different ways I had bought into the world’s ways of doing things rather than God’s, and I was reeling for a while. Every single chapter challenged me, but it was all so true and so good.
Warning! Don’t make the same mistake I did! I had this book for a while, but I kept putting it off because I didn’t think I qualified as a true “working woman.” I don’t have a big career or full-time business, after all.
But as I read the book, I realized it’s for every single woman, regardless of how you work. Because we ALL do some kind of work — whether it’s inside the home or outside, full-time or part-time, paid or unpaid, professional or volunteer. We ALL work. And we’re ALL being fed subtle lies about how/how much we should do that work every single day.
That’s why, if you’re a woman who wants to do what truly matters in a Gospel-centric way, I encourage — no, urge! — you to read this book. It will blow your socks off, and you will never be the same.
At the risk of sounding bossy, I want you to put this one at the top of your to-read list RIGHT NOW. I’d even go so far as to say that just about everyone in the modern Western world needs to read this book.
The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry is for those who feel perpetually weary, for the tired souls wasting away from “hurry sickness.” It’s for those who have bought into the lie that a meaningful life comes from doing more, making more, and getting more. It’s for those who have ever gotten caught up in “hustle culture,” while all the while feeling like there had to be more to life.
Mostly, though, it’s for those of us who want, more than anything, for our lives to imitate Jesus’. (Yes, this is a Christian book, but it will speak to you even if you are not one!)
It is completely counter-cultural, and yet profoundly life-giving. Convicting, yet encouraging. Challenging, yet refreshing. If your life feels defined by hurry, I urge you to get your hands on this book. You won’t be able to put it down once you do.
Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together – Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
Using the first five verses of Titus 2 as her Scriptural foundation, Nancy exhorts “older women” and “younger women” alike to embrace Paul’s call to learn from each other and live out the Gospel together.
I love how she breaks down the passage and teaches us how to live out each piece of it, both personally and in community. I definitely recommend it for any woman who wants to grow in Christ, grow in relationships, and grow in mentoring partnerships. I’m excited to put what I’ve learned into practice!
I had picked this one up at a consignment store months before, and when John Mark Comer spoke so highly of it in The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, I bumped it up my list.
And it was just as fantastic as he said. An insightful, inspiring (and sometimes challenging) study on spiritual disciplines, it made me want more from my Christian life. And yet, his conversational style and humble transparency kept it from feeling like a list of to-dos from the high horse of someone who has everything all figured out. In not shying away from his own desperate need for Jesus, he (re)ignites in readers a desire for their own spiritual transformations. It certainly fueled my hunger for an ever-deepening spiritual growth, and gave me the tools to live a more abundant life in Christ.
I definitely recommend this one for anyone who wants to be transformed from the inside out to look, live, and love more like Jesus.
Those are some of my favorite books from 2022, but there were SO many other great ones. If you want to get a peek at more of my reads, be sure to follow me on social media, where I share what I’m reading every Wednesday!
Our Favorite Read-Alouds
I read a lot of great books with the kids and as a family, as well. Here were our favorites:
- How to Train Your Dragon series, by Cressida Cowell – My 6 year-old LOVED this series, and we zoomed through it!
- Tucket Adventures series, by Gary Paulsen – We read these together as a family, and EVERYONE enjoyed them
- Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls – Another family read-aloud. Warning: the ending is quite sad, but it didn’t seem to affect our kids as much as it did us!
- The Sign of the Beaver, by Elizabeth George Speare – Our final family read-aloud in 2022, and it was a hit!
- The Prince Warriors series, by Priscilla Shirer & Gina Detwiler – The boys and I are reading these together. We’re on Book 3, and we’re loving them!
SHARE WITH US: What were some of YOUR favorite books from 2022?? I would LOVE to hear about them in the comments below!
More Favorite Books:
- My Favorite Books I Read in 2021
- My 15 Favorite Books I Read in 2020
- My Favorite Books I Read in 2019
- My Top 10+ Favorite Books From 2018
- My Top 10 Favorite Books of 2017
- My Favorite Books For Moms
- My Top 10 Favorite Parenting Books