Cozy / Book Recs?

January 18, 2022

It was 50 degrees this morning! It felt like winter which means . . . I guess I have fully habituated to South Florida life.

I am working on my 2022 reading list and I would love your recs! In the past, I created lists for each quintile, but I think this year I will be a bit more flexible to allow for more mood reading AND flexibility when it comes to the Libby app/library holds!

I have been loving the Kindle lately, mostly because it’s so much easier at night when I’m lying on the kids’ floors waiting for them to fall asleep (note: yes, I still do this but our new house may change this because they will each have their own rooms instead of G&C sharing – we will see).


What have you read recently that you recommend? Novels, nonfiction, backlist titles too! (This project of reading a book from every year from 1920 – 2019 was fascinating!).

Last novel I finished (very short so it didn’t take long). Loved it and still thinking about it.


  • Reply Ashley January 18, 2022 at 1:26 pm

    I started tracking and rating the books I read over the past 2 years and it’s so fun! I love having a list to refer to for recommendations. I think we have similar tastes – I’ve loved some of your recs over the past year. Here are a couple of my favorites from last year:
    The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
    All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
    Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
    Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
    The Mothers by Brit Bennett

    I love lighter books and often read several a year but my favorites tend to either be heavy/gut-wrenching or adventurous (stories of survival, etc).

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 18, 2022 at 1:57 pm

      Read the last two and loved them!

    • Reply Tierney January 19, 2022 at 9:37 am

      Great Circle was awesome! I just finished it and highly recommend.

    • Reply Diane January 20, 2022 at 10:16 pm

      The Great Beleivers is one of my all time favorite books! So beautiful and wise!

  • Reply Taryn January 18, 2022 at 1:41 pm

    The Thursday Murder Club and it’s sequel by Richard Osman are fantastic British cozy murder series!
    Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan
    the Extraordinary Life Of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni.
    ^^ three of my favorites from last year reads.
    Plus agree with Ashley’s post above – the Great Believers especially!

    • Reply Meg January 18, 2022 at 7:12 pm

      I also really loved Thursday Murder Club and The Man Who Died Twice (same crew of characters, by Richard Osman). Delightfully funny and cozy mysteries. Also Garlic & Sapphires and Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl, if you like food-based memoirs. And If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha was a thought-provoking look into South Korea’s beauty culture.

    • Reply Ashley January 18, 2022 at 10:24 pm

      I feel like I have to tell everyone about The Great Believers. Incredible and heart breaking. Reading it during the pandemic gives a different perspective too. I feel like I never properly debriefed after!

  • Reply Megan January 18, 2022 at 1:54 pm

    I just reviewed my Good Reads 5 star: Firekeeper’s Daughter about teen Native American hockey player and great audiobook, This is How It Always is about parenting transgender child, 7 Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Ask Again Yes and The Sum of Us non-fiction about cost of racism in our country in all aspects. Can’t wait to read other recs.

    • Reply LDMN January 18, 2022 at 2:11 pm

      YES! I just finished the Firekeeper’s Daughter last night. Good, compelling, multilayered. Not lighthearted, but powerful. I stayed up way way way too late to finish it.

  • Reply Amy January 18, 2022 at 2:12 pm

    I really recommend the book The People We Keep. I read it over the summer and still think about the characters often. It well generally a really pleasant read.

    • Reply Sara January 18, 2022 at 3:13 pm

      That was one of my favs from last year too! It was a pleasure to read and stuck with me.

  • Reply Anne January 18, 2022 at 2:18 pm

    I think we overlap on books a lot! A few I’ve liked that I didn’t see on your list: We Are Not Like Them, Olympus Texas, and The Paper Palace. I’m currently reading the Louise Penny/Hillary Clinton book State of Terror, which is good so far!

  • Reply Eva January 18, 2022 at 2:26 pm

    In case you never read these older books:
    – White Teeth by Zadie Smith
    – The sorrow of Belgium by Hugo Claus
    – Flights by Olga Tokarczuk
    – Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
    – The Abyss by Maguerite Yourcenar
    – Beyond Sleep by W.F Hermans
    – A little life by Hanya Yanagihara
    – The eight life by Nino Haratschwili

  • Reply Claire January 18, 2022 at 2:30 pm

    Do you like mysteries? I’ve been on an Agatha Christie kick and just read and enjoyed Death on the Nile. I think the new movie version is coming out in Feb too!

  • Reply Marie January 18, 2022 at 3:05 pm

    I see Winter Solstice on your 2022 reading list — one of my all-time favorite cozy/comforting books. Highly recommend!

    A few other cozy books I’d also suggest:
    – Magpie Murders, by Anthony Horowitz — Small village British charm + book-in-a-book + murder mystery clues galore
    – Crossing to Safety, by Wallace Stegner — A classic for a reason, very soul-soothing
    – All Creatures Great and Small, by James Herriott — Each chapter is a short vignette about life as a country vet in England… great bedtime reading
    – Kirstin Lavransdatter, by Sigrid Undset — This is a behemoth of a book set in medieval Norway, but it is surprisingly readable and engrossing. Lots of snowy adventures. Read with a map and a mug of hot coffee!
    – Anything by Fredrik Backman

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 18, 2022 at 4:12 pm

      Read and love crossing to safety and many fredrik Bachman (except a man called Ove, for whatever reason!)

      • Reply AnandiRC January 20, 2022 at 5:27 pm

        Oh gosh Sarah, A Man Called Ove is one of my top 10 all time favorite books. Definitely give it a try if you like his other stuff. Seriously. <3

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 20, 2022 at 7:08 pm

          I actually read it before the others and couldn’t figure out what everyone loved about it! But maybe I could revisit …

  • Reply Erin R January 18, 2022 at 3:28 pm

    All I’ve been reading is romance lately because I find that I absolutely need the happily ever after right now…. a few non-romances that I’ve recently enjoyed are The Guncle and The Great Alone. I see a rec for Paper Palace up there and I also read that and absolutely hated it 🙂 (however things I cannot stand in books are excessive sexual trauma, a lack of anyone to root for and ambiguous endings soooo…. be forewarned)

    If you like romance I have tons of recs but I know that’s not everyone’s jam.

    • Reply Anne January 18, 2022 at 4:28 pm

      As the person who recommended The Paper Palace, your description is 100% on point. 🙂 The characters were pretty annoying and the ending—aah!! Maybe I didn’t like it as much as I thought? Ha.

    • Reply Mara January 18, 2022 at 5:16 pm

      Erin: Would love romance suggestions- I’m with you I need happily ever after and light fun reads in this crazy time of life!!

      • Reply Erin R January 18, 2022 at 5:33 pm

        Once I decided to just let myself read things that are fun and happy (or at least END happy) instead of books that I think I SHOULD read….. turns out I read a heck of a lot more 🙂

        Standalone books: The Hating Game (recently made into a movie which I also enjoyed!), Love Lettering, Love at First (I’ve loved every Kate Clayborn book I’ve read), Boyfriend Material, Red White & Royal Blue, The Love Hypothesis, Beach Read, Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating (generally a big fan of Christina Lauren’s books although there are some duds in there)

        Trilogies/Series: Winston Bros series/Knitting in the City series by Penny Reid (some are better than others but enjoyed them all), A Court of Thorns & Roses (2nd/5th book my faves – this is fantasy), Abby Jiminez’s books (first one is so-so, but Happily Ever Playlist and Life’s Too Short were great), Brown sisters trilogy by Talia Hibbert, all 3 Helen Hoang books (The Heart Principle was my favorite but it was also quite sad), The Simple Wild by KA Tucker series (4th one comes out in a few days!)

        I could go on and on but this should be a good start 😛

        • Reply Mara January 18, 2022 at 5:38 pm

          Thank you!!!! This is a great list. I have read some, so I assume we like a lot of the same things. I figured out the same thing this year, I like to read to escape, and when I started not judging myself for what I was reading, and just read what I liked, I read a LOT more!!

          I will suggest for you: The Idea of You, People we meet on vacation, 28 summers, and The Ex Talk.

          Happy “fluff” reading 🙂

          • Sarah Hart-Unger January 18, 2022 at 9:18 pm

            well i LOVED 28 summers, so will definitely check out the others!

        • Reply Marie January 18, 2022 at 7:26 pm

          Seconding the Helen Hoang recommendations!

        • Reply Ali January 19, 2022 at 2:59 pm

          Do you mind sharing a few more, Erin? These are GREAT suggestions. I’m completely on the happy book bandwagon lately!

          • Erin R January 19, 2022 at 5:52 pm

            Totally! Easiest way is probably to just follow me on goodreads if you use that…. anything 3+ stars I thought was at least decent. 4 is great, 5 was a favorite that i’ve probably re-read several times. I’ve enjoyed Tessa Bailey’s books, the Well Met trilogy from Jen DeLuca, most of the Bromance Book club series I enjoyed, Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold was my first foray into western romance (??) and really loved that one. Haven’t even started on historical romance but that is a subgenre I look forward to checking out – have heard great things about Bombshell. Currently reading Seven Days in June and loving so far.

            goodreads profile here:

      • Reply alyce January 19, 2022 at 9:38 pm

        I spent all of last year reading historical romances, and I have to recommend pretty much everything written by Courtney Milan and Tessa Dare. Also really enjoyed Alyssa Cole’s books, which were are contemporary. Second Helen Hoang – I rea all her books last year and they were a delight.

      • Reply Amanda January 20, 2022 at 10:50 am

        Other contemporary romance authors to read/enjoy are Sonali Dev (her 3 books with Jane Austen-inspired titles are fun), Jesse Q. Sutanto (Dial A for Aunties has a hilarious premise), Sonya Lalli, and Uzma Jalaluddin,

  • Reply Brooke January 18, 2022 at 4:06 pm

    I just finished Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown and found it fascinating in terms of understanding emotion.

    The Love Hypothesis was light and fluffy but really good.

    Good Talk by Mira Jacob was another I read last year, and may be my best book of all time. Never thought I’d say that about a graphic novel. So highly recommend!

    Also excellent is The Midnight Library.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns January 18, 2022 at 4:34 pm

    Some of my favorites from 2021: The Guncle, Sorrow and Bliss, Count the Ways, Between Two Kingdoms, Code Name Helene, and The Push. Those are all heavier for the most part. A lighter book I read lately and really enjoyed was “It Had to Be You.” It was on the MMD summer reading guide. Kind of romance/rom com. There were a lot of interconnected story lines but it was easy to keep track of everyone and it was just a fun book to read!

  • Reply Mary Alice January 18, 2022 at 4:53 pm

    Saint Maizie by Jami Attenberg is a backlist title that I loved the year that I read it. When I read City of Girls a few years later I remember thinking they had similar vibes. A few faves I read last year that you might like are Intimacies by Katie Kitmura (follows a translator working at the UN courts in The Hague – lots of internal dialogue, great sense of place, really thoughtful), Long Bright River by Liz Moore (literary fiction version of a crime/detective story), The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa (I read a handful of translated novels from Japan and this was my fave, really sweet story), Matrix by Lauren Groff (would never have expected historical fiction about a nun to be one of my fave books of the year but it happened) and Ghosts by Dolly Alderton (great writing and the best depiction of modern dating that I have ever read). Happy reading!

  • Reply Jessica January 18, 2022 at 8:27 pm

    Somebody’s Daughter was an amazing memoir.
    In the realm of life advice ish books, Doing Good Better has inspired the most change in my life, though I certainly don’t perfectly ascribe to it (it’s about Effective Altruism).

    • Reply Emily January 19, 2022 at 7:51 am

      Second this–Doing Good Better is life changing.

  • Reply Gabby January 19, 2022 at 12:24 am

    I’m currently reading Crying in H Mart. I love it!

  • Reply Marthe January 19, 2022 at 1:28 am

    Lately I’ve diverged into science fiction, via Matt Haig’s Midnight Library and all twelve of the Maxwell books by Jodi Taylor. Those were about a time traveling woman, very funny and thrilling to read! Now I’ve started Too like the Lightning by Ada Palmer. It’s a 12 hour read according to my kindle and it’s part one of thee. It’s reality weird in the beginning because everything is different in a few hundred years into the future. However, I find it really detailed and “real” and fascinating, and what I also really like is that Ms Palmer is a university history teacher with a feminist touch to her academic work. I’m at 35% now and so far very much drawn into it!

  • Reply Gillian January 19, 2022 at 7:14 am

    I second All creatures Great and Small and the Great Circle. If you liked Crossing to Safety, consider Angle of Repose, long but lovely (and as a descendent of people working in the mines of the west pretty interesting). There’s a Place for Us was one of my favorite books of the last 5 years and anything by Maggie O’Farrell has been a hit for me.

  • Reply Emily January 19, 2022 at 7:56 am

    I agree with several above commenters about the Great Believers–Sarah, you MUST read that book. it is just epic. Some other great ones I think you’d lke based on your taste: Kindred by Octavia Butler (a classic, sci-fi but I don’t usually read sci-fi and LOVED this book), the Position by Meg Wolitzer, Lucky Boy, the Leavers, Stay with Me, Burning Girl, the Body In Question, and Home Fire.

  • Reply Jenn January 19, 2022 at 8:00 am

    My favourite book from last year was The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz. It might not have been the best book I read, but it was such a page turner, and my whole family read it – it’s so rare that I can talk about a book with my husband and my parents and for us all to have so thoroughly enjoyed it! I also second the rec from above for It Had to Be You – such a great ‘ensemble cast’ book and a gentle story. This year I am very much looking forward to Emma Straub’s new book (This Time Tomorrow) and Fiona & Jane by Jean Chen Ho, which just came through my letterbox this morning…

  • Reply Amanda E. January 19, 2022 at 8:18 am

    Friends and Strangers by J. Courtney Sullivan
    Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
    What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
    The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

    • Reply Marcia (OrganisingQueen) January 30, 2022 at 3:14 pm

      Amanda, you and I might be book twins. LOVED top 3, and the Meg Wolitzer is on my list to read.

  • Reply Keren January 19, 2022 at 2:27 pm

    A couple of the books I’ve read at the end of the year were my favorites: The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki, it’s about a boy who starts hearing voices after his father’s death while his mom is becoming a hoarder. Integrated into their story is the story of a Japanese Zen monk who wrote a book about organizing (Marie Kondo style) Although this book deals with heaven topics it’s very compelling and introduces many subjects. The second book is Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr- this book includes stories about a boy and a girl on the days of the fall of Constantinople, story about. A story about an old man and a young teenager that takes place in current days Idaho and story about a girl in a spaceship that takes place in the future. All are connected by an Ancient greek play called Cloud Cuckoo Land about an utopian city in the sky. All the characters are facing a time of crisis. This book is so vast and is written beautifully and despite the hard events it gives you hope. Both books are on the long side, so maybe plan to read them on different months.

  • Reply Katherine B January 20, 2022 at 7:47 am

    Thanks for the link to the post about books of the century. What a great idea. I see her favourites were “A Town Like Alice” and “Testament of Youth” and I second them both massively, though I haven’t read TOY since I was 18, which is a long time ago! Must re-read it. ATLA is amazing but whatever you do don’t read any spoilers if you don’t know the story already. Also if you like historical romance, Georgette Heyer is the Empress and no one else even touches her. I can list her 10 best if you are interested? Comfort, escapist reading at its very best and so clever and funny too. So many others I could mention too but I did enjoy “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” last year.

    • Reply Alyssa January 20, 2022 at 9:28 am

      I would love to hear your top ten! I read Frederica about a year ago because I needed something escapist, and I very much enjoyed it. Wasn’t sure where to go from there though!

  • Reply Diane January 20, 2022 at 10:44 pm

    Oh so many great books? I’ll have to make a note of many of these.
    My favorite books I read last year (though not necessarily recent) were:
    The House in the Cerulean Sea
    A Bright Ray of Darkness (by the actor Ethan Hawke and I was skeptical, but turns out he’s a really good writer!)
    Fleishman is in Trouble (really spoke to the existential angst I feel about being a suburban mom)
    The Nickel Boys (so looking forward to reading Harlem Shuffle too)
    Two favorite historical romance novels: Bringing Down the Duke and The Duke Who Didn’t (I love romance novels, and these two were smart, and funny and really well written)

    The Good Neighbor (biography of Fred Rogers… if that’s not cozy, I don’t know what is. Also some great lesson in parenting with empathy)
    The Sun Does Shine: How I found life and freedom on death row
    Invisible Women: exposing data bias in a world designed for men (enlightening, but also enraging)
    The Riches Of this Land: The untold true story of America’s middle class

    I saw Wintering on your 2022 list – I just finished it and I highlighted the heck out of it. May has such insightful and wise things to say about nourishing life. It reminds me a lot of 4000 Weeks in how Burkeman urges us to pay attention to what matters. (or maybe that’s just what is speaking to me right now where I am in life…?)

    • Reply Katherine B January 21, 2022 at 3:54 am

      Hi Alyssa, how lucky you are to be just at the start of your Georgette Heyer journey! My mum (82) and I often say we wish there were some new ones suddenly discovered that we haven’t read or that we could have selective memory wipe so we could read our favourites as new again.

      “Frederica” would have been in my top ten, so we obviously have similar tastes! My absolute favourite (read multiple times) is “The Grand Sophy”.

      Then “Venetia”, “False Colours”, “The Reluctant Widow”, “The Unknown Ajax”, “The Toll-Gate”, “Arabella”, “Regency Buck”, “The Quiet Gentleman”, “Sylvester”, “A Civil Contract” and “The Talisman Ring”. (OK so that is 12 in all, so not a top ten). Hope you are able to enjoy some of these, and then there are a number more Regency ones, just slightly below these in excellence. Personally I don’t like the ones set outside the Regency, or the more “real” history ones as much. The 1920s and 1930s crime novels are great too and a fascinating picture of a certain section of English society at the time – contemporary then but historic now.

      • Reply Alyssa January 23, 2022 at 8:30 pm

        Thanks Katherine! I just picked up The Grand Sophy from the library. Can’t wait to dive in!!

  • Reply Katherine B January 21, 2022 at 3:59 am

    Sorry that was meant to be a reply to Alyssa! But Diane, yes I read “Invisible Women” in 2020 and was also enraged. A brilliant book. Also re earlier posts I love “Winter Solstice” but probably best to read it in November or December! “The Shell Seekers” and “Coming Home”, on the other hand, also by Rosamunde Pilcher can be read at any time, but great for the summer I would say – love them both.

  • Reply Candace Krause January 21, 2022 at 10:43 am

    Just making a list of all of these great suggestions–thank you!!–
    And have a few to add that I haven’t seen mentioned:
    Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab. listened to this(narrator is one of my favorites) but then bought the physical book so I could share with friends
    Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware–mystery, suspense till the end
    Breath by James Nestor. (non-fiction, very interesting)

    • Reply Alyssa January 23, 2022 at 8:32 pm

      I second Addie LaRue! I just finished and it was a great read!

  • Reply YS January 21, 2022 at 7:55 pm

    Who Is Maud Dixon by Alexandra Andrews
    Good Neighbors: A Novel by Sarah Langan.
    These books are page-turners with huge twists! I loved both of them.
    Someone above mentioned White Teeth by Zadie Smith. This was a recent read for me, and I really enjoyed it! Zadie Smith is brilliant and so hard to believe it was her first novel.

  • Reply Emily January 26, 2022 at 9:16 pm

    If you haven’t read everything by Becky Chambers, I recommend it all.

    Also, I’m pretty sure we both loved This Is How It Always Is, and Laurie Frankl’s new book, One Two Three came out last year.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 27, 2022 at 7:02 pm

      Ooh thank you!! I just read A Psalm for the wikd built and preordered the sequel 🙂

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