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  • Olivia Swindler

Mid Year Reading Superlatives

We are halfway through 2022, and I am honestly not sure how I feel about it. This year has already involved a transatlantic move, a tiny bit more travel, and lots of walks with lots of dogs.


It is honestly impossible for me to pick my favorite reads of the year so far; most are worthy of at least some recognition. So here are my mid-year superlatives!



(my little growing American bookshelf!)



Best Historical Fiction

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois

This book should be required reading. It is honestly a stunning novel that weaves together US and family history beautifully. This book moved me to tears multiple times. I will be thinking about it for a long time. I am so thankful books like this exist.


There should be more historical fiction books like this one. This book is so timely and poignant. If you liked “Homegoing” I think you would enjoy this book as well.



Best Armchair Travel

The Unsinkable Greta James

A cruise to Alaska, anyone?


I loved this book. It is a beautiful picture of grief and family. And while this is a story about the loss of a mother, more than anything it is a story about a father and daughter and I absolutely loved it. Read with tissues while dreaming of glaciers.


Best Nonfiction

Think Again

For me, the mark of a good nonfiction read is one that I immediately want everyone around me to read ASAP so we can talk about it. This is one of those books.


I loved this book. The more divided our world becomes the more important I believe it is to question our opinions and viewpoints. This book gives practical ways on how to do so. I highly recommend. I loved it on audio!


Best Gloomy Day Read

This Time Tomorrow

Sometimes the best cure for a gloomy day is some nostalgia.


This book is stunning. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will resurrect your favorite 90’s playlist. I flew through this book, it was the perfect mix of nostalgia and beauty.


Best Poetry

Call Us What We Carry

Absolutely stunning. If you are only able to read one book that is set in the pandemic, make it this one.


Best Page Turner

Black Cake

Give me a book with multiple timelines and I will not be able to put it down. A dysfunctional family story just adds to the page turning value.


This book is stunning. I loved the writing style and the short chapters made it impossible to put down. It felt similar to "This Is Where I Leave You" and the writing style reminds me of "Malibu Rising". Highly recommend this book!


Best Audiobook

Empire of Pain

Narrated by the author, this book is incredibly detailed, so well reported, and a must read. I did not know much about the opioid crisis before reading his book, but I loved Keefe’s book, "Say Nothing", and I was really looking forward to reading this. I highly recommend this book, especially if you are interested in the pharmaceutical industry and the ongoing opioid crisis. I will be thinking about this book for a long time. Really loved reading it on audio.


Best Mystery/Thriller

Portrait of a Thief

I want there to be more thrillers like this one. This book reads like a literary Oceans 11.


This book is really fun. I love an art heist story, and the history nerd in me really appreciated the literary take of this one. The characters are not just entertaining, but people I would want to be friends with. Moreover, I believe the questions and conversations posed by this book are so important. I really recommend picking this one up.


Best Beach Read

Lessons in Chemistry

Bring this book to the beach, on a airplane, on a boat. This book will be in my top 5 of the year.


I adored this book. The writing is hilarious and so smart. Though the main character is much different than Midge Maisel, I think fans of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel would love this book. Also possibly the best dog in all of fiction. Highly recommend!


Best Romcom

Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband?

First things first, I want to be friends with Yinka. I love her. This book was refreshing, honest, and so real. I adored all of the side characters and appreciated the honest friendships depicted in this book. Also, I loved how religion was woven in through the book. It never felt preachy, it just felt honest. I can’t recommend this book enough.


Best ohmygoshwhatdidijustread?!

Project Hail Mary

The hallmark of an ohmygoshwhatdidijustread book is the inability to really say anything about the plot because everything is a spoiler. Really all I can say about this book is, man wakes up alone in a space ship and has no idea who he is or why he is there. Dun dun dun duuuuuunnnnn!


It is hard to find words to describe how much I loved this book. I really loved The Martin, but this one was even better. It was impossible to put down and the science was surrounded by so much plot detail that it was comprehendible (ish). I highly recommend this book! It not only made me fall deeper in love with space but it made me want to learn more about the science that goes into making the world turn.

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