The Daily Grace
The Daily Grace

Notable: What I’ve Been Reading Lately

Jul 19, 2022 | reading & recs | 6 comments

I AM NOT a competitive reader. I don’t set goals, I don’t strategize my list, I don’t look to fill in defined categories or stretch into genres (with intention) I don’t typically enjoy. Which is to say I am basically a mood reader (totally in keeping with my Enneagram 9-ness, right?), happiest when I glance toward my very long “someday I may read” list to see what strikes my fancy at the moment.

All this is interrupted with great regularity by what’s new and popular now. I am fascinated by publishing, promotion, the WHOLE BUSINESS of getting books into people’s hands. I give way too many books a try under this heading, but the good news is I will put one down in a heartbeat if it isn’t speaking to me, delighted to move on to something that—to me—might be more engaging.

It’s been a great 2022 from this standpoint, several reads landing on my coveted FAVORITE ALL TIME BOOKS list, and another good handful reaching at least 4-star status for me. There have also been several DNF choices that are fine novels for other readers—just not for me.

So here we go with my list of mention-worthy reads, January, February, and March!

These Precious Days, Ann Patchett

The beloved New York Times bestselling author reflects on home, family, friendships and writing in this deeply personal collection of essays.  

A smart, lovely, insightful, inspiring read and I will never not think about it. I could call out every essay with a long list of loves, but I’ll limit it to these: Eudora Welty, How Knitting Save My Life, Book Covers, Reading Kate DiCamillo, A Talk to the Association of Graduate School Deans in the Humanities, and of course, These Precious Days. I adore Ann Patchett the writer, and I admire Ann Patchett the person. What a beautiful book and what gorgeous lessons in life. I listened to this one on audio, as Ann reads the essays, and the experience was moving, funny, exceptional. Now on my VERY FAVES book list.

Find it via: Bookshop Amazon Audible

Atomic Habits, James Clear

No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving—every day. James Clear, one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

Brene Brown told me to read this book and so I did. (She actually told all of us humans and she is right.) So good. So helpful.

Find it via: Bookshop Amazon Audible

The Maid, by Nita Prose

A heartwarming mystery with a lovable oddball at its center” (Real Simple), this cozy whodunit introduces a one-of-a-kind heroine who will steal your heart.

Similar to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine but in my opinion, not quite as masterful. Three stars.

Find it via: Bookshop Amazon Audible

Taste: My Life Through Food, Stanley Tucci

From award-winning actor and food obsessive Stanley Tucci comes an intimate and charming memoir of life in and out of the kitchen.

I devoured this one. (Pun intended) Listened on audio which is a DELIGHT because, well, Stanley Tucci. Then I bought the hardback because YOU JUST HAVE TO and I committed to a summer filled with pasta and Negronis. (I’ve had neither, now that I think of it. But I’m going to.) This book is just so…delicious. Five happy stars.

Find it via: Bookshop Amazon Audible

When Ghosts Come Home, by Wiley Cash

The eagerly awaited novel from the New York Times bestselling author of A Land More Kind Than Home, a tender and haunting story of a father and daughter, crime and forgiveness, race and memory.

This is my favorite of Wiley Cash’s books, a mystery I found engaging from the start. Plus I really like Wiley Cash and always cheer him on.

Find it via: Bookshop Amazon Audible

The Stars Are Not Yet Bells, Hannah Lillith Assadi

A story of secrets, loss, and the betrayals of memory: a lyrical novel of an aging woman confronting her romantic past under the mysterious skies of her island home.

I was not familiar with Assadi’s writing when I first discovered this book, pre-publication. I immediately reserved it at the library, and I was delighted to pick it up just as it was released. This little novel is everything I love: a beautiful, heartbreaking story; place (in this case, an island off the coast of Georgia) as a central character; writing that made me swoon. Solid five stars.

Find it via: Bookshop Amazon Audible

Going There, Katie Couric

Heartbreaking, hilarious, and brutally honest, Going There is the deeply personal life story of a girl next door turned household name.

I was a little conflicted about reading this. I am a Katie Couric fan, but some reviews were rather—shall we say unforgiving—in their positions regarding her ambition and selective memories. Still I couldn’t help myself, and I’m glad I read it. (I listened on audio, actually, and I recommend this format since Katie reads it.) She has lived a fascinating life, and as a woman of a certain age myself, I feel I grew up alongside her there on The Today Show couch. Also a great read for those interested in the ins and outs of news, popular culture, and LET’S FACE IT what really happened with Matt Lauer.

Find it via: Bookshop Amazon Audible

Shiner, Amy Jo Burns

“[A] wrenching testament, told in language as incandescent as smoldering coal. . . This is not a despairing book, but a hopeful one, of Appalachian women taking back their life stories.” –New York Times Book Review

I’m always game for a novel with a setting in the Appalachian Mountains, and so I was excited to pick up this one. I’d never read Amy Jo Burns, and she did not disappoint. One of my favorite reads this spring.

Find it via: Bookshop Amazon Audible

I’ll be back in a week or two with notable reads of April, May and June. In the meantime, I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading if you care to share in the comments. Happy reading, everybody!

Bookshop and Amazon offer affiliate partnerships that give a tiny financial reward to bloggers for any purchases made from the links. That’s not my motivation in writing this post, but it doesn’t cost anything extra if you click and decide to purchase one of these books. I do want to fully disclose, however. I greatly value your trust as a reader. 


  1. Colette Rodbell

    Listening to Tucci read his book was such a treat! Thanks!

    • Cathy

      Isn’t he just so delightful? XXOO

  2. Georgia White

    “I give way too many books a try under this heading, but the good news is I will put one down in a heartbeat if it isn’t speaking to me,”

    I rejoiced to read this as I always feel guilty if I don’t finish a book….. the “clean your plate mindset”

    This liberated me to just skip on by if I’m not feeling a story!
    Thanks for all the recommendations 🙂

    • Cathy

      I so understand that sentiment! But I know there are so many wonderful books I will never get to–I have not one worry about ever running out, so I just move on! Thanks so much for commenting, Georgia. So many of us feel or have felt this way!

  3. Chad

    I saw the Stanley Tucci novel on the shelf not too long ago and decided not to get it. Will be grabbing it next time!

    • Cathy

      It’s so good. I think you’ll really enjoy. He’s a great writer, a fascinating person (of course) and his memoir is just the right mix of funny and poignant. Do let me know what you think!

Cathy Rigg Headshot

Hi. I’m Cathy.

This is a blog about writing, creative living, and grace in the everyday. It’s my hope this little spot on the internet will be for you a place of quiet and reflection, a source for inspiration, and a reminder there’s beauty all around—we simply need to keep our hearts open to see it. Thank you for being here with me.

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