My favorite 2022 reads

I’ve got one more book on the Kindle I hope to finish before 2022 comes to an end, and if it is truly amazing I’ll let you know, or, more likely, I’ll add it to the list next year.

2022 was the year of Taylor Jenkins Reid for me. I know she’s been around for a while now, but I didn’t pick anything up until February of this year, and then spent the rest of the year going throug her back catalog, and also reading her most recent. I guess I should thank BookTok for introducing me to TJR, as every TikTok I saw was recommending Evelyn Hugo. I will often be the last to the party, because I borrow most books from the library, which often has a 6 or 8 week waiting list for the popular titles.

Everyone was also recommending It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover, which I also read this year, but I gotta say, not really a fan.

Keep in mind, not all of these were written in 2022, they are just ones I managed to read this year. There is no particular order, either.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

All of the Taylor Jenkins Reid

I started with The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, but eventually also read Malibu Rising, Daisy Jones and The Six, Carrie Soto Is Back (TJR’s 2022 release), as well as One True Loves and Evidence of the Affair (novella). Evelyn, Malibu, Daisy Jones, and Carrie Soto all exist within the same universe, and they are all so fun to read. The pop culture, celebrity glamour (and pitfalls) of the characters are very much what I could envision Hollywood, or the 70s music industry, or the 80s tennis tours are like. If I had to choose one, I’d probably go with Evelyn Hugo. It was the first of my TJR reads, and the kaPOW factor of the plot twist had my mouth hanging open, like, am I reading what I think I’m reading? And I love being surprised like that.

I know I enjoyed this book because I recommended it to a bunch of people, and I also gifted it to someone for Christmas. Carrie Soto Is Back is also a 5-star. You can’t go wrong with these.

The Summer Place

That Summer Place, by Jennifer Weiner

I’m adding this one to the list for the kaPOW factor that I mentioned in my previous ranking. I got to a certain part in the second half of this book, and put it down to text a friend, demanding that she immediately read it so we could discuss. That Summer Place is the third book that takes place in a Truro, Cape Cod universe that only in the most subtle of ways collides with each other. It’s almost like a slight nod to the loyal reader that these books are connected (not unlike what Jenkins Reid has done with her universe). This is also one of a few books I read that incorporated the COVID-19 pandemic into the narrative, and taking advantage of the interesting family dynamics, forced co-habitation, and other nuances that lends itself to topsy turvy plot twists.

I haven’t missed a Jennifer Weiner summer read in a while now. While last year’s threw me for a curve, as it was a much heavier read than I thought it would be, I’m impressed that she continues to expand her breadth and depth in her novels.

The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music

The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music, by Dave Grohl

I finished reading this on March 13, and 12 days later, Taylor Hawkins died at the age of 50, while the Foo Fighters were on tour. Oh the agony. One of my favorite bands, maybe my favorite band of my adult life. Grohl’s stories are funny, heartbreaking, awe-inspiring, and more than one of them takes place in Seattle 🙂

Special shoutout to Dave’s mom, who recognized her child was not going to following in the traditional path towards adulthood, and supported that untraditional path, that included living in a bus, touring the country and the world with small punk bands. That is faith.

Ruby Fever (Hidden Legacy, #6)

Ruby Fever, by Ilona Andrews

I’ve gotta add this one in here because it was by far the most anticipated book of 2022 for me. I literally took vacation the day it was released, sat by a pool for 5 hours, and read it straight through while my daughter and her friends played at the water amusement park we were at. It is the 6th book in Andrews’ Hidden Legacy series, and the third featuring protagonist Catalina Baylor. I have read and reread this series a lot. Like, a lot. It played heavily in getting me through dark times of 2020, and 2021. And, fortunately, Ruby Fever did the fans a favor of wrapping up plotlines from the entire series, giving us lots of fight and explosions, lots of kissing, a surprise fiancĂ©, and family secrets revealed. Added bonus, the likelihood of more adventures with the Baylor sisters, as the ending definitely tees up the chance for the youngest sister, Arabella, to receive her own trilogy of adventures.

How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question

How to be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question, by Michael Schur

2022 is the year I discovered audiobooks. I had listened to audiobooks before, but definitely preferred Kindle books to listening. Even at the gym I was more likely to pop in a podcast then listen to a book. That changed this year, when I figured out my brain could handle listening to one book, usually at the gym, or in the car, or cooking, while also reading my Kindle, usually at night in bed, or whenever if the book was really good. With that, I’d say that How to Be Perfect was my favorite audiobook of the year. The Sentence by Louise Erdrich is a close second.

I should add that, while I wasn’t a superfan of the show, the series finale episode of The Good Place is remarkable, and I’ve watched it 2 or 3 times. I laugh and cry. The creator of the show wrote this book based on the research he had compiled while working on the show. (Shout out to West Hartford, hometown of the author, woot!). The questions raised and debated in this book are not the worlds biggest philosophical questions (I mean, they are in there), but it’s the ones that I will relate to and reflect on on a daily basis that I think about the most. Why am I donating to this charity, and is it enough? Should I care if the barista sees me tip them? Is it okay to watch a Woody Allen movie? Am I a good person because I push my shopping cart back to the store after grocery shopping?

For that last question (and for that particular chapter), I literally think of this book every time I bring my cart back to the cart return at the QFC. Every time.

I wrote a thing about unsubscribing

File under “I did not write this headline” and I only say this because I don’t want anyone to think that I believe Disney Plus is a useless subscription. For me, a fan of the MCU, Disney+ has been wonderful during the pandemic and unemployment. I still won’t pay for ads on Hulu, though. Sorry to my child who hates watching the ads during her anime binges. I am that frugal.

screenshot of “Spring Cleaning: Useless Subsriptions You Need To Cancel Now

Also, as a newshound, it has been difficult to cancel any of my newspaper subscriptions. Writing this piece did, however, make me list out the number of subscriptions I have, and how much I spend, which I am going to share with you here. Better have a seat.

  • The Seattle Times, daily deliver plus online access: $188.50/qtr = $754/yr
  • The New York Times, online: $17/month = $204/yr
  • The Washington Post, online: $10/month = $120/yr
  • SCC Insight, via Patreon: $5/month = $60/year

So, yeah. I can write about giving up subscriptions, but doing the actual unsubscribing is a bit of a different story.

I will say, I have been unsubscribing to a ton of marketing emails and it’s quite liberating. I went through Gmail for a few minutes every day for a week and unsubscribed to 5-10 mailing lists. Made me feel accomplished.

READ: Spring Cleaning: Useless Subscriptions You Need To Cancel Now

I wrote a thing about cool pet supply brands

Puppy life has taken over my brain for the past 6 months. My only child feels it. The husband feels it, and I definitely feel it. Puppy seems to think everything is fine. I wonder why!

Puppy life continues to seep into freelancer life. Editor extraordinaire Carly suggested this story topic and I was all (dog) ears.

screenshot of my story for GBR, Feel-Good Shopping From These Do-Good Pet Supply Brands

READ: Feel-Good Shopping From These Do-Good Pet Supply Brands

According to my research, pup owners spend something like $1400 annually on dogs. I am pretty sure I’ve spent at least that over half a year! All for you, Bailey, all for you.

These do-good brands are for the dogs. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

My personal favorite is Small Batch, a freeze-dried treat out of San Francisco. Humanely raised meats; certified-organic, non-GMO vegetables, farmers dedicated to sustainability and land stewardship. For the dogs (and even cats). It’s amazing to see how the dog food industry has come over the years.

And maybe this explains why I am way over my doggie budget. I am paw-sitive it is worth it.

I wrote a thing about online classes

So, the people who I talk to on the regular since the fall probably have heard me mention that I’m taking an online class. It is CS50, Harvard’s popular Introduction to Computer Science course, and thank goodness it is self-paced because it’s taking me a while to complete.

Taking this course has been enlightening (also frustrating as hell). Just as freelancing has given me an opportunity to work a few muscles that had been dormant for a bit, learning how to code and completing the homework assignments have provided a chance to work another side of the brain. Problem-solving and language-learning is part of it, but also getting out into forums and seeking help on Reddit, Discord and other platforms has been part of the educational experience.

I’ll say this about the developers community (or maybe the CS50 community?) …They’ve been an incredibly supportive group. People from around the world coming together to share knowledge is inspiring.

Well, I didn’t write about my CS50 experience (which is ongoing, 2.5 lectures to go), but I did get to research and write about some other suggestions for online classes that can help your career (and yourself).

Have a read: Online Classes That Are Worth the Investment

screenshot of Online Classes That Are Worth the Investment via

Once I’ve actually made it through CS50, I definitely want to write a thing about it. Still processing.

I wrote a thing about how to recover from a bad job interview

This was a lovely piece to write. I interviewed an interview coach! Diana YK Chan was positive, upbeat, and had some great advice for the job seekers out there.

You can read more about her advice here: How You Can Bounce Back After a Bad Job Interview (and Ace the Next One)

And I’ll add some additional thoughts that didn’t make it into the story.

Body Language!

Chan says 93% of your message impact is based on your body language. It’s not just what you say but how you say it. Especially as we are all doing inteviews over Zoom, job seekers need to amp it up even more.


Chan suggests for Zoom interviews, having an office vibe in your background. You want to come across as professional. You also really, really need to practice. Set up your camera to double-check lighting. Make sure your audio is working well before the interview. And if something fails, don’t sweat it. Use humor to lighten the mood if A/V difficulties gets your nerves.

Head vs. Heart!

Chan said these words a few times, and I included it in the story as well, but there’s something to be said about responding from your heart and not your head. When you over-worry or over-analyze you are more likely to respond with your head, like, ‘this is what they want me to say.’ Instead, speak from your heart. She spoke of making that connection with your interviewer.

Anyway, Diana was generous with her time and has a great presence on LinkedIn, so I recommend giving her a follow.

Read: How You Can Bounce Back After a Bad Job Interview (and Ace the Next One)

I wrote a thing about tv shows and movies that address disability and difference

Writing this story finally had me sit down and watch “Crip Camp,” the 2020 documentary, produced by the Obamas’ production company. Ever since watching it I walk my usual dog walk route along the neighborhood and think, “those campers at Camp Jened is a big reason why this corner is wheelchair accessible.” Or, I think, “Why is this sidewalk intersection NOT wheelchair accessible?”

I have certainly noticed the uptick in TV shows featuring characters with disabilities. Last week we were watching “Nancy Drew” on The CW and a main character is using ASL with his hearing-impaired father. It’s not even mentioned, they just start doing it, which is such a change from the days of “on a very special Blossom.” We still have a ways to go, though.

GLAAD reported that just 3.5% of broadcast scripted shows include a character with a disability. Compare that with the CDC reporting 1 in 4 adults in America live with a disability. It is wildly disproportionate, and will likely be years before more accurate representation is met.

image of screenshot: TV Shows and Movies That Address Disability and Difference

I enjoyed writing this piece and I learned quite a bit. I was also nervous that as an able-bodied person, I could not fully represent the community. I reached out to a mom I know who advocates for this community, who put me in touch with another mom, and also reached out to an organization that supports the intellectually and developmentally disabled in King County. Advocates from Arc of King County gave me more suggestions than I could use (many of theirs focused on movies or TV shows that were a bit older than the audience I was writing for), so I wanted to list them out here.

The Reason I Jump (2021)

The Reason I Jump, was a 2020 film festival favorite. It follows the experiences of five young nonspeaking autistic people around the globe. The title comes from the best-selling book by Naoki Higashida, who, at the age of 13, gave a voice to his experiences as a nonspeaking autistic child.

With narration of portions of Higashida’s book, alongside interviews with family members, the film provides viewers with a sensory experience that highlights the emotions within these young adults from India, Britain, the U.S., and Sierra Leone, to empathetically convey to a neurotypical audience what it is like to live within a neurodivergent mind.

Breathe (2017)

A young man stricken with polio, finds love, refuses to give up on life and the couple spends their lives helping other polio patients. Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy star, with Andy Serkis in his directorial debut!

Wretches and Jabberers (2011)

Two men with autism travel the world with the goal of changing attitudes about disability and intelligence. One of the women I messaged with emphasized the impact this film had on her, as she raised a nonverbal child for a while.

I also wished I could have written about “Raising Dion” and the “How To Train Your Dragon” series. Perhaps there is a second installment that needs to be done…

Anyway, read the first installment here: TV Shows and Movies That Address Disability and Difference

I wrote a thing about financial literacy and kids

I remember as a kid getting $5 a week for an allowance. I can’t remember if I actually got the $5 on a regular basis or if, like I do now as a parent, I was given it when my parents remembered. I also am trying to remember what I did with that money.

When I was a little bit older, I babysat and made some pretty good money, relatively speaking. I had an added advantage in that my older sister handed down a few of her jobs when she stopped babysitting, so I had a couple of regular gigs throughout middle school and high school. Sweet.

I worked during the summers in high school, and all through college. For at least a quarter and through the summer of my last months at the University of Chicago, I actually held a job and had a paid internship. I have no doubt this work ethic, on top of the somewhat neurotic way I viewed money on account of being surrounded by mostly rich kids at a prep school during the critical teen years, has crafted my view on money and finances.

Based on this, you might think I have served my child well with a financial education starting at a young age, yeah? You would be wrong! Work ethic? What’s that? Value of a dollar? Sounds fishy. It’s a lot harder to instill in your kid in this day and age, but I’ll keep trying.

It’s why I loved working on this story for Financial literacy is critical in this day and age, where buying items is as easy as tapping on your phone. Student loans today aren’t want they were before, and gimmicks and scams are that much more trickier to catch.

But you can start early, as the experts in this story suggest.

Read: Never Too Early: A Parents’ Guide To Teaching Your Kids About Money

Diverse YA & MG reads from 2020

This story was published the week of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and I didn’t feel like writing or posting. Perhaps it’s fitting, then, that this short list of books represents what America means to me. Immigrant stories, learning about racism and antiracism, overcoming defeat and achieving dreams. Maybe even more fitting, I’m typing all this while watching Inauguration Day coverage on TV. American flags, national anthems, feeling hopeful and optimistic.

For the past few years I have made a point of focusing my reading on books by women and POC. There are good stories that deserve to be told. I don’t want to get on a high horse around this. But I do believe it is important to walk the walk and talk the talk. If you don’t know what or who to read, you can start with this list (if you enjoy young adult reads), and I also suggest making use of The Seattle Public Library’s “Your Next Five” feature. You can tell a librarian (all via web form or email) what books you just read or enjoyed, and they’ll give you recommendations. Be upfront that you want to read POC authors and they will find you a book. Or, you know, your local independent bookstore. Or, if you must, Twitter.

Or start with this: Great Diverse Reads of 2020

I wrote a thing about cats and dogs

So, if you haven’t heard the biggest news, get ready: We got a puppy! That is actually old news. Bailey has been a part of our family since October. But taking care of a puppy sure did occupy a great deal of space in my head, so I was thrilled when Carly, Lead Editor at, suggested a piece about budgeting for your new pet.

I focused on cats and dogs since they make up the majority of pets in U.S. households. If you must know, 86.9 million households in the U.S. report having a pet. That is a lot of pets.

Anyway, this one was very fun to write and research, and I included a couple of examples of pet expenses that I have heard about over the past year from friends. That comes at the very end.

Give this a read: How Your New Cat or Dog Will Impact Your Wallet

“How Your New Cat or Dog Will Impact Your Wallet”

And, please follow Bailey on Instagram:

I wrote a thing about spending and saving

2021 is getting off to a sluggish start. I’m still wrapping up the stuff from the last year that I wanted to mention on the blog, like this piece that I wrote for Funny thing, a year ago I was working with GBR as a publishing partner, reviewing their content, suggesting edits and pitching their stories to my fellow editors for promotion.

Today, I am freelancing for them, writing stories that once upon a time I may have been reviewing.

It’s the circle of (work) life.

Read it here: 2020 in Review: What Parents Spent and Saved This Year

Grateful for the opportunities to work with an awesome editorial team at GBR!

Happy New Year!