31 books I’ve read in 2022

The books I’ve read in 2022 are here and we have a little bit of everything. Poetry, Romanian authors, self-reflection, and some 1000 pages of historical fiction. I hope you enjoy these recommendations and find some inspiration for your next readings. 

  1. Nu te gasesc pe nicaieri by Laura Ionescu (I can’t find you anywhere by Laura Ionescu)

Laura is a contemporary Romanian author who writes her memoir from immense love and sorrow. The book describes a Romanian family environment in the ‘90s, as the country and its people were trying to find a new identity by leaving communism behind. Written painfully, this tale of love and loss between a mother and her daughter took me back to my own childhood.

  1. The pillars of the earth by Ken Follet.

Until I picked up this book in my hands, I did not know I like to read historical fiction that centers its action around knights and kings in 12th-century England. As the author said, he was surprised to realize that a book that is essentially about a man’s journey to build a cathedral would become so popular. The book is the first one of three books, plus a prequel. 

  1. home body by Rupi Kaur

Rupi’s poetry is an intimate conversation about love, pain, growth, reflection, and self-love. Her poetry is personal and profound, and the feeling I was left with at the end of the book is that the less you say, the more powerful your message is.

  1. Ma gasesti cand vrei by Lavinia Braniste

A Romanian author explores a couple’s life as they navigate their relationship through pain, power, and manipulation. I enjoyed reading the book, but I think it lacked that culminating moment that I kept waiting for. 

  1. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Have you ever thought about how your life would be like had you made different decisions or chosen different things? Or where would you be today if you have done or said something different at a certain moment in your life? The Midnight Library is a story about parallel universe theory, a place of simulation, regrets, and infinite possibilities. 

  1. The book of joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Carlton Abrams 

I got this book at an estate sale and I’ve been reading it little by little every day at lunchtime during those few weeks of the war in Ukraine. It was my daily dose of compassion, optimism, and hope for a better world. A book that I encourage you to read slowly, pause, and reflect on the profound yet simple ideas shared with us by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu.

  1. The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The second book of Zafón’s tetralogy is The Angel’s Game — no more or less than 700 pages of magic and suspense. The action unfolds on the streets of Barcelona where the author weaves a magical and mysterious story of books, love, and the darkest feelings of the human soul. You can read the four books in random order, but if you are curious to discover Carlos Ruiz Zafón, I suggest you start with the first book, The Shadow of the Wind.

  1. James Baldwin – The fire next time

James Baldwin wrote The fire next time in 1963, one hundred years after the Emancipation Proclamation, addressing all Americans to face the racial injustices and the consequences of slavery.

The book starts with a letter Baldwin wrote to his nephew on the day he was born. The first time I read the letter was during an English class in community college, and since then I always wanted to read the letter again and come back to his writings.  

Below is an excerpt from the letter:

You were born where you were born and faced the future that you faced because you were black and for no other reason. The limits of your ambition were, thus, expected to be set forever. You were born into a society which spelled out with brutal clarity, and in as many ways as possible, that you were a worthless human being. You were not expected to aspire to excellence: you were expected to make peace with mediocrity. Wherever you have turned, James, in your short time on this earth, you have been told where you could go and what you could do (and how you could do it) and where you could live and whom you could marry. 

-James Baldwin, The Fire next time

  1. Orbi de Petronela Rotar (Blind by Petronela Rotar)

Petronela Rotar is a Romanian author that writes about relationships and personal struggles. It is not a book I would necessarily recommend, maybe because it tries to be a self-help book but without a clear message.

  1. Rromii. Sclavie Și Libertate de Petre Petcuț (Roma people, slavery and liberty by Petre Petcut)

The book presents the history of Roma slavery that happened north of the Danube during 1370-1914. Telling the story of the slavery of an ethnic group in Europe for nearly five decades inevitably led me to think of the painful words Baldwin wrote on the 100th anniversary of the emancipation of black people in the United States.

  1. Go back to where you came from – Wajahat Ali

Ali Wajahat writes with a lot of humor about his personal experiences, despite all the struggles he and his family went through. His heartwarming storytelling makes you think of what truly means to be American in the twenty-first century. I encourage you to read the book if you haven’t done so.

  1. The comfort book – Matt Haig

It brings such comfort to read Matt Haig. The book is a collection of personal notes and stories that serve as a reminder that things will eventually get better, no matter how bad they seem.

  1. Bureti de Fag – Mihai Dutescu

Dutescu, a Romanian contemporary author, writes about communism very differently than other authors out there, in the sense that he writes clearly and truthfully about the morality of the middle-class people who lived under communism but had bourgeois aspirations.

  1. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
  2. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
  3. Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell was on my reading list for a while, and when I finally decided to read his books, I did not stop at one, but I’ve read three of his books in just one month. 

Gladwell’s ideas are unique and provocative, making you think about some of the popular and established ideas in our society. In Outliers, his main argument is that success comes from extraordinary circumstances and effort rather than extraordinary talent. Blink is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that we seem to make in an instant –in the blink of an eye–that aren’t as simple as they seem. And Talking to Strangers examines our interactions with strangers and why they go wrong.

  1. We Uyghurs have no say by Ilham Tohti

Ilham Tohti is currently serving a life sentence in China for his writings and his efforts advocating for the Uyghur’s rights in China. His book, We Uyghurs Have no Say, is a collection of his writings about the history of Xinjiang, the treatment of Uyghur people inside China, and other personal reflections.

  1. How Yoga Works by Geshe Michael Roach

Any yogi probably read this book or plans to read it to understand what the Yoga Sutra really says. Geshe Michael translated the teaching of the Yoga Sutra into the form of a novel about a young Tibetan woman who uses her wisdom to transform the corrupt world around her into a paradise on earth.

  1. La conquista de Mexico by Fernando Orozco

After a trip to Mexico City earlier this year, I came back with many books that I’ve always wanted to read about the fall of the Aztec empire and the Spanish invasion of Mexico. A book that, despite all of the dense historical facts, it’s easy to follow and digest. Orozco provides a great description of the interactions between Cortez and Moctezuma, the emperor of the Aztec Empire at the time of the Spanish invasion. 

  1. Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat

This past year, Danticat became one of my favorite writers. In her book, she writes eight intimate, absorbing stories about those who stay, those who leave, and the forces that pull all of us together. Her stories are like opening doors into other people’s lives, allowing readers to witness the Haitian diaspora’s love, fear, loss, and sense of belonging.

  1. The Lost Children by Valeria Luiselli

Luiselli worked as a translator and interpreter for an immigration court in New York City that handles Central American children who arrived at the United States border seeking sanctuary. Luiselli’s job was to administer a 40-questions questionnaire to children who would arrive without an adult at the border. Based on their answers, a judge will decide if the child can receive asylum or be deported. Most unaccompanied children come from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, and on their journey, they suffer unimaginable abuses. Why did you come to the United States? is the first question in the questionnaire. What can a five-year-old answer to that question that would make a judge allow them to reunite with their family in the US?

  1. Horizontal Vertigo: A City Called Mexico by Juan Villoro

Oh, this book was such a delight to read. Villoro is a keen observer of his city, its people, and the forces that move one of the world’s greatest metropolises. He writes with such intimacy and familiarity about Mexico City’s cultural, political, and social aspects that only those who’ve spent some time in the Aztec capital can truly grasp the meaning of his observations. The book makes a great gift for Chilangos and those who grew up in Mexico City in the 60s and want to embark on an epic journey of the past, the present, and everything in between. The book is also available in Spanish

  1. Copilul tau. Parinții tai. Tu by Ioana Chichet-Macoveiciuc (Your Child. Your Parents. You by Ioana Chicet-Macoveiciuc)

Chichet-Macoveiciuc is a contemporary Romanian author that is very appreciated and read by many young Romanian families who want to learn how to raise their children with love and tenderness. Although the book aims at those who have children, I was interested in reading it from the perspective of the author’s journey of healing her relationship with her parents. It is a book about the pain that is passed down from generation to generation and the emotional baggage we carry from our parents and ancestors. I recommend it whether you have kids or not, more as an exploration of family relationships and generational healing. 

  1. Brother, I’m dying de Edwidge Danticat

Brother, I am dying is an autobiography that recounts the difficulties Danticat faced when she was left by her parents in the care of her uncle in Haiti while her family immigrated to the United States. Danticat writes passionately, intimately, and painfully about her life experiences but also about family relationships and a kind of therapy.

  1. The Stationary Shop by Marjan Kamal

A love story that begins in Iran in the 50s, and ends up in the United States, a lifetime later, unfortunately too late. The story saddened me tremendously, but it opened my appetite for reading more books that center around love stories.

  1. Tantra of the Yoga Sutras de Alan Finger

Alan Finger has managed to translate the teachings of the ancient yoga treatise—the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali—into an easy-to-understand and digestible read about the four pillars of yoga. It’s a book you can’t just read once and put back on the shelve. A reading that must be deepened and then accompanied by practices applied in everyday life.

  1. The Power of Moments by Dan Heath, Chip Heath
  2. Design for Belonging: How to Build Inclusion and Collaboration in Your Communities by Susie Wise

I’ve read Both The Power of Moments and Design for Belonging as part of the book club I am running at work.

The Power of Moments is a great book that provides examples from everyday life on how you can create memorable moments for those around you, both in your professional environment and in your family. I recommend reading it if you are interested in creating unique and memorable moments for those around you. Design for Belonging is a practical guide using tools of design that can create feelings of inclusion, collaboration, and respect among groups, either in a classroom setting or a meeting at work. 

  1. Fragil de Simona Gosu (Fragile by Simona Gosu)

Towards the end of the year, I felt like returning to the shelf with Romanian books and I chose to read the debut prose of the writer Simona Gosu. A collection of short stories about dysfunctional families, vulnerability, fears, and children left adrift. I don’t think I’ve ever read a short Romanian prose that had such a profound impact on me. Simona Gosu explores the anxieties of childhood, the emotional instability of adults, separation, and family abandonment in a subtle form that stays with you for a very long time. 

  1. We were liars by Emily Lockhart

Contrary to popular opinion, the book did not grab me, or at least not as described by hundreds of readers all over the reading forums. It’s quite possible that I was the one who didn’t fully get into the story, or maybe I didn’t read the book at the right time. In short, it’s about a rich, white American family who spends their summers on their private island. The rest of it is just lies.

  1. Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System As a Path to the Self by Anodea Judith

I’ve always heard about the seven chakras and the energy flowing between them, but I have never actually read more about how each chakra works.  Each chapter focuses on a single chakra, starting with a description of its characteristics and then exploring its particular childhood developmental patterns, traumas and abuses, and how to heal and maintain balance. There are many books about the chakra system out there, but if you want to start with an easy and clear understanding of it, pick up this book. 

I hope you found some inspiration on this list. Let me know in the comments below your reading recommendations.

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