2022 must-reads from Kerri Miller: 3 nonfictions to top your 2022 to-be-read list

Three bookcovers
From left: "All In: An Autobiography" by Billie Jean King. "How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America" by Clint Smith. "Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest" by Suzanne Simard.
Courtesy of publishers

In March, Book Scan, a company that measures the number of print books sold, reported that sales for the previous 12 months had risen more than 8 percent and e-books and audiobooks were up, too.

Many of us found time to read more during the pandemic, a silver lining if I ever heard one. And many of us tried to make sense of the murder of George Floyd and the social justice demonstrations that followed with the voices and experiences and wisdom of writers.

As I come to the last three books in my year-end must-reads, I hope you’ve found that deeper, enriching and meaningful interaction with books, and that you’ll find a way to continue it into next year.  

There are so many essential stories to receive and cherish.

“Finding the Mother Tree” by Suzanne Simard is a mix of memoir and science by a forest ecologist who led the field in studying the way trees communicate. You can listen to my interview with Simard from earlier this year on my podcast.

“How the Word is Passed” by Clint Smith is a devastating travelogue of sorts, in which Smith visits historical sites and reexamines their association with slavery. 

And finally, I recommend “All In” by Billie Jean King, which chronicles her evolution from athlete to activist and her role in the fight for equal pay. Even after President Barack Obama awarded her the Medal of Freedom for her contribution to LGBTQ rights, she says she still feels the urgency to make change. She writes: “If you’re in the business of change, you have to be prepared to play the long game.”

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