There are some books that you read and enjoy but they don’t leave a long lasting impression. Whereas, other books seem to grab me, shake me about a bit and promise to never leave my side.

I know there are many posts around this time of year with their ‘books of the year’ and for me, out of the eighty one I read in 2022, there are too many to post about. However, I decided to post about some of the stories that still get me thinking, even if it’s months since I read them. From thought-provoking picture books to astonishing insights into other peoples lives, these are the books that I instantly think of when someone asks for a recommendation.

A collection of all sorts from 2022 that really made me sit up and take notice in more ways than I could ever have thought possible. Reading about how other people see the world I live in can only be a good thing. The more we read about other experiences and talk to each other, the more genuine understanding there will be.

Joyful Joyful – curated by the amazing illustrator Dapo Adeola. He has brought together incredible Black creatives from all over the world to share their experiences in this fantastic collection of stories. A beautiful and thoughtful glimpse into the lives of others, this book never fails to make me smile (published by Two Hoots – Sep 2022).

I was honoured to interview Dapo for on-line resource My Book Corner too – you can read it here!

Daddy’s Bad (Bed) Day – written by Ross McKay and beautifully illustrated by Catherine Lindow, is breathtaking. Its gentle text helps explain mental heath struggles to younger members of the family. An accessible book for all, written with compassion and love. If children are to understand what is going on in their world, picture books and reading material that can be shared with the whole family is a huge step towards their understanding (published by Curly Tale Books – Nov 2022).

Call Me Lion (3rd left) – written by the incredible Camilla Chester and illustrated by Irina Avgustinovich is next on my list because of the effort, research and enthusiasm Cam has for raising the voices of those with Selective Mutism (SM). Her attention to detail and involvement in the SM community to ensure accurate representation was astounding. Leo and Richa will always have a piece of my heart (published by Firefly Press – June 2022)

In August 2022 I traveled around Scotland with Cam as we shared the ‘Call Me Lion’ love in as many cities as we could. It was an incredible experience and I was delighted to organise it all AND spend a week with one of my favourite people. You can read all about our adventure here!

I have known award-winning writer Patrice Lawrence for many years, she is a ray of sunshine in my life and a great friend. From when her Young Adult debut novel Orangeboy came out into the world in 2016 to her latest middle grade read The Elemental Detectives, brilliantly illustrated by Paul Kellam, Luke Ashforth and Amanda Quartey, there are so many adventures she takes her readers on. What I love about her writing is that it takes you places you can only dream of. Imagine there was another world within your city or town, one that no-one else knew about but was filled with mystery and intrigue (published by Scholastic – Sep 2022).

These are the stories that I want to read. Although Patrice brought out a few books last year, this is the one that keeps chatting away to me. Every close or nook that I see in Edinburgh, has me wondering what else is out there!

Everyone has memories of when they went to high school – some good, some bad. Bullies, boyfriends, acceptance and inclusion are the things that mostly spring to mind.

Louisa Reid has encapsulated all of that and more in her brilliant Young Adult verse novel Activist, beautifully illustrated by Yuhzen Cai. In her hard-hitting story about high school life where unfortunately the girls are never believed and the boys are just being boys – or so the hierarchy within the school says.

We should be able to say when something has happened and action should be taken – sadly, this is not the case for a lot of assaults. Activist goes a long way in detailing what an equal world should be and the repercussions of actions which should bring justice but it doesn’t always. This book should be studied in high schools across the world – it has such an important message for teenagers, parents and teachers alike (published by Guppy Books – Oct 2022).

I have a fascination with religions that are not my own. I no longer go to church, a decision I made when I was 17, much to the annoyance of my mum who was a devout Catholic.

Author Ali Millar spent time in the Jehovah’s Witness (JWs) when she lived in the Scottish Borders, so I was interested in reading her memoir The Last Days. I didn’t know much about JWs before I started reading but by the end I was more than brought up to speed. Her memoir is a brave, fascinating insight into a world far away from my own.

I attended her event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (Aug 2022) and what struck me about her story was that the room was full of people who had gone through exactly what she had. A truly humbling moment to hear their thoughts and experiences alongside her open and frank Q & A (published by Ebury press – July 2022).

Being a member of book groups allows me to read stories that are for readers older than those reading my reviews on My Book Corner. There are so many amazing books out there but The Mad Women’s Ball by Victoria Mas is a stand out for me and one I will always think about.

Paris, 1885 and the women in society were institutionalised at the drop of a hat. Too opinionated, too chatty, too hysterical – so many more examples in the intake logs.

Set in the Salpêtrière Asylum, every year they open their doors to the elite who come to gawk at the women held behind its doors in a lavish event. An astounding story which was published in 2021 by Transworld and translated by Frank Wynne, I didn’t read it until early 2022. More of this please.