2022 in Review

I hope to have read my 100th book by Dec. 31, 2022, but as of now, I have read 99 books. My Good Reads goal was an ambitious 100 books.

I probably shouldn’t have selected a chunky Stephen King book, If It Bleeds, for my last read of the year, but I wanted to end the reading year on a high note or at least a book I thought I would love.

  • Children/YA books: 16
  • Memoir/Nonfiction: 12
  • Adult Fiction: 24 (25 if I finish book #100)
  • Poetry: 47

Breakdown of Ratings this Year:

  • 5 Stars: 57
  • 4 Stars: 29
  • 3 Stars: 11
  • 2 Stars: 1
  • 1 Star: 1

Top Memoir/Nonfiction:

Top Children/YA Books:

Top Adult Fiction:

Top Poetry: (this category is always the hardest for me to pick from)

Share your favorite reads from 2022!

Seed Celestial by Sara R. Burnett

Source: the poet
Paperback, 92 pgs.
I am an Amazon Associate

Seed Celestial by Sara R. Burnett, winner of the 2021 Autumn House Press Prize, blends myth and motherhood in its reflection of the exasperating uncertainty of our modern lives, particularly with regard to how we treat one another and our very own planet. It also highlights the struggle of immigration and what it means to be a child of immigrants in a world less forgiving of differences.

Each of the five sections opens with a quote from Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things that mirror the section headers: Seed, Animal, Word, Earth, and Celestial. Rightly, Burnett opens her collection with “Ab Ovo” (i.e. “from the egg”) musing on the sharing of a single body by two and what it means to be unprepared and prepare for birth at the same time. It is that comfort of belonging and not knowing what comes next that readers find themselves in. Isn’t that the crux of being alive, trying to be prepared for the next thing and yet never being fully prepared for it?

In “Primary Source,” she reminds us that as a parent she has a “better understanding of terror/and the miraculous.” This echoes later in the collection where gun violence and the upward trend of school shootings makes its mark. A topic many parents worry about and that I continue to write about.

While not all connected back-to-back, there are emotional echoes throughout the collection to this great sense of loss and destruction. “Endling” (pg. 15-16) the narrator says, “When a species is the last of its kind,/it’s called an endling, a word//that reminds me of changling,/such a fairy-swapped child//” How do we reconcile the ability to adapt and change with the last species of its kind? Is it the end of that species? Or is it that the species is evolving into something necessary, something that can survive its environment, much like the communal fish in the “Fish (in) Tanks” poem that follows.

Throughout the middle of the collection, loss plays a predominant role, as do questions of how can we keep things that we really don’t possess, especially when we cannot see our own shortcomings or predict future destruction based on past actions? Read, “Demeter’s Wager,” to see this dichotomy at play.

Seed Celestial by Sara R. Burnett circles back in on itself, finding the seed of ourselves and our world and noting that sometimes we don’t have the power to stop what we don’t want to happen. Life happens and we must take what we can from it, move into a celestial place where we can observe, join, and serve the people we were, are, and will be as best we can. There is no manual for this life.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Poet:

ara Burnett is the author of Seed Celestial, winner of the 2021 Autumn House Press Poetry Prize, forthcoming in fall 2022. She is also the author of Mother Tongue, a poetry chapbook (Dancing Girl Press, 2018) and has published several poems and essays in Barrow Street, Copper Nickel, Matter, PANK, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Maryland, and an MA in English literature from the University of Vermont. Previously, Sara was a public high school English teacher in both Washington D.C. and Vermont and an educator at a non-profit immigration organization working in and with schools. In addition to writing poetry and non-fiction, she also writes picture books. She lives in Maryland with her family.