The 13 Books I Read in 2022, Reviewed in 3 Phrases

I read a lot of non-fiction in 2022 and it’s currently my favorite genre—specifically non-fiction books about psychology and mindfulness.


54% of the books I read are rated 5 stars. Nice!

Upstream: Selected Essays : Oliver, Mary: Books

1. Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver

Calming. Invigorating. Enlightening. [Full review]

Books Non-Fiction

Upstream by Mary Oliver | Book Review

I forgot who or what influenced me to read this book but I’m so happy, and also lucky, that I picked it up. I have no expectations. I have no prior knowledge of Mary Oliver. But when I started reading the first few pages, I was captivated. Her writing is so delicate and beautiful. There were lots of moments where I needed to pause just to savor the words. Where I find myself smiling and taking a deep sigh. This book calms me and invigorates me at the same time.


The 32 Books I Read in 2021, Reviewed in 3 Words/Phrases


1. Modern Love by Daniel Jones

Heartfelt. Some stories are meh. 95% of the stories are by published writers. [3 🌟Full review]

2. Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Unlikeable characters. Annoying as hell. Whatever. [1.5 🌟Full review]

3. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

Balik eskwela feels. Information overload. Science and Technology. [4 🌟Full review]

4. Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

Vulnerability. Compassion. Medyo paulit-ulit. [4 🌟 – Full review]

5. Storyworthy by Matthew Dicks

Highly entertaining. Lots of interesting personal stories. A must-read for everyone. [5 🌟 – Full review]

6. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Strange in a good way. Disturbing but charming. Love Merricat. [5 🌟 – Full review]

7. Essentialism by Greg McKeown

Streamlining. Mostly about corporate work and super busy people. Elitist? [2.5 🌟 – Full review]

8. The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel

Humility. Role of luck and risk. Be flexible. [4.5 🌟 – Full review]

9. Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Super entertaining start tapos biglang nag U turn. Too much testosterone. Keso. [2 🌟 – Full review]

10. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Great storytelling. Entertaining pero may part na too woo-woo for me. Makes you want to travel and learn new languages and eat yummy food. [3 🌟 – Full review]

11. The Chicken Sisters by K.J. Dell’Antonia

Delightful start and middle. Unlikeable main characters. Spilled secrets and sabotage. [3.5 🌟 – Full review]

12. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Be more rational. Wag tamad magisip. Nakakabobo yung pagka comprehensive. [2.5 🌟 – Full review]

13. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Creativity. Wow. Will definitely reread. [5 🌟 – Full review]

14. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Hedonism. Beauty vs Morality. No likeable characters. [3.5 🌟 – Full review]

15. The Whole-Body Microbiome by B. Brett Finlay, Jessica M. Finlay

Probiotics will save the world. Consume yogurt and kimchi. Don’t use antibacterial agents – soap and water will do. [3 🌟 – Full review]

16. Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Hilarious. Smartly written. Must read! [5 🌟 – Full review]

17. Lifespan: Why We Age—and Why We Don’t Have To by David Sinclair

In a nut shell: eat healthy, exercise, importance of intermittent fasting. Lots of medical jargons. Dense. [3.5 🌟 – Full review]

18. The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday

Vague. Didn’t like how it was written. Too in-your-face. [3 🌟 – Full review]

19. Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Quirky and strange protagonist. Made me want to work in a convenience store while reading it. Weird overall but in a good way. [4 🌟 – Full review]

20. Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Korean culture. Nakakagutom – you will crave Korean food. Love and loss pertaining to her mother. [4 🌟]

21. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Helpful in building relationships. Informative. There’s something problematic in the ‘physical touch’ example. [3 🌟]

22. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Melancholic. Tragic. A few “WTF!” moments. [3 🌟]

23. The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal

Right book at the right time. Remember what’s reallly important. Feel your feelings but you don’t always have to act on it. [4.5 🌟]

24. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

LGBTQ+ themes. Coming of age. Made me more interested in mythology. [3.75 🌟]

25. Educated by Tara Westover

WOW. Must-read. Inspiring. [5 🌟]

26. Arsenic and Adobo (Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery #1) by Mia P. Manansala

Cozy mystery. Nakakagutom. Fun read pero asan yung adobo? [4 🌟]

27. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Adult fairytale. Humorous. Intriguing. [4.5 🌟]

28. Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

Kulang sa build up yung love story. Cringy. Okay yung premise pero di ako fan nung execution. [2 🌟]

29. The Healing Self: A Revolutionary Plan for Wholeness in Mind, Body, and Spirit by Deepak Chopra

Helpful book on taking care of our bodies and minds. Can be technical at times which I like. Relaxing to read. [4 🌟]

30. Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett [5 🌟]

A quick, interesting read. Neuroscience. Teaches people on how to be a better human being—didn’t expect that. [4 🌟]

31. Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

Somewhat of a page turner. No matter how many theories my mind came up with, I didn’t see that twist coming. Didn’t like how the diary was formatted. [4 🌟]

32. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Atmospheric. Mushrooms. A bit far-fetched. [4 🌟]

My digital bookshelf in Notion:

Books Humor Insights Mystery

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman | Book Review


  • You don’t want to miss out on a really really amazing, brilliant story
  • Kung gusto mong magkaron ng madaming feelings (mostly matawa)


A bank robber has taken hostage a group of strangers. Bank robber sya pero sa apartment viewing naganap yung hostage situation. From an outsider point of view, kakabahan ka kasi baka kung anong mangyari, but what happens inside that apartment is something else.

Funny and heartfelt. Memorable and quirky characters.

Our April BOTM

Akala ko, Big Magic na ang top book ko for 2021. Pero after ko ‘to basahin, wala na. Sobrang nalito na ko. Sobrang ganda!!! Book of the month namin ‘tong Anxious People and ang dami rin nila na na-inlove sa story, sa writing, sa cleverness, sa characters at kung ano pa mang namiss ko. Ang galing talaga.

Books Non-Fiction

The Whole-Body Microbiome by B. Brett Finlay and Jessica M. Finlay | Book Report


  • You’re interested in learning how probiotics contribute to quality of life and can increase lifespan
  • You need a detailed reminder why eating a healthy diet and regular exercise are good for you
  • You don’t mind the book being too medical or scientific-y (?) sometimes

Lately nagkaron ako ng ‘health and wellness phase’ so naghanap ako ng mga libro under this genre. Meron kasi akong mga karamdaman pero hindi naman malala. Pero ang dami. Yung isa medyo malala pala kasi twice na kong na-surgery dahil don pero manageable naman as of now. At ayoko nang mas dumami pa at maoperahan ulit so biglang isang araw na lang, sobrang naging aware ako dun sa mga existing medical issues ko kaya gusto kong mas maging proactive pagdating sa health ko.

Isang naisip ko nga ay magbasa ng mga libro about promoting health at ang isang napili ko ay ito ngang The Whole-Body Microbiome. Ang subtitle nya ay: How to Harness Microbes—Inside and Out—for Lifelong Health.

Books Classic Horror Insights

The Picture of Dorian Gray | Book Review


  • You’re curious why this became a famous classic
  • You’re interested in themes revolving around beauty vs morality
  • You want to read about a despicable lead character


Yung libro ay patungkol sa isang napaka-poging bachelor (si Dorian) na sobrang na-obsess sa kagwapuhan nya. Pumapasok din sa horror genre yung book kasi meron syang painting ng muka nya tapos imbis na sya yung tumatanda, yung painting yung nagiging matanda at pumapangit while he remains youthful and pogi.

Books Fiction

The Chicken Sisters by K.J. Dell’Antonia | Book Review


  • You think a family drama that revolves around two competing chicken restaurants is something you’d enjoy
  • You want to read about two sisters whose feud is deeper than serving the best fried chicken in town
  • You want something that’s a bit fun and sometimes heart warming (but eventually things will get out of hand)

Already convinced? Click to buy on Amazon.


Two rival chicken restaurants. Two sisters who hate each other. Amanda is team Chicken Frannie’s and Mae is team Chicken Mimi’s. The feud will escalate when they compete in the popular TV show, ‘Food Wars’.

Ingredients: spilled family secrets, deliberate sabotage, and a $100,000 cash prize for the Food Wars winner.

Aside from being a Reese’s Book Club pick, I got attracted to the beautiful, bright yellow book cover and the title. And so I read the blurb and I find the premise really interesting. I think this book could be an entertaining movie or tv show.

Books Insights Memoir Non-Fiction

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert | Book Review


  • You feel like you’re the only person who haven’t read it and you’re curious
  • You want to read about a woman who travelled across Italy, India and Indonesia to eat, pray and love 😅
  • You want to read about a person who you may fall in love with or totally hate (or both, like me)

Already convinced? Click to buy on Amazon.

During the course of reading the book, I think I experienced equal parts of annoyance and admiration. There were a lot of comments about her being self-absorbed (and a ton other hateful adjectives) but in her defense, she didn’t travel the world to become a philanthropist (although did everyone forget about the fundraising she did?)

I think there’s nothing wrong with dedicating an entire year just for yourself if you’ve been through something that you feel is extremely painful. And whether people understand it or not (I know I didn’t), it’s none of their business.

Books Romance

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert | Book Review


  • You’re in the mood to read an adult fiction with explicit sexual content
  • You’re into awkward dirty talks and cringey e-mail exchanges


This is a romance novel na may halong erotica. It’s about a rich girl (Chloe) na nagkaron ng near death experience so naisip nyang gumawa ng bucket list kasi feeling nya ang boring ng buhay nya. Sample nung items na nasa checklist nya ay ‘Go camping’, ‘Have meaningless sex’, and ‘Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage’. Enter this guy (Red, an artist) na tutulong sa kanyang ma-accomplish yung list nya.

Already convinced? Click to buy on Amazon.


Ang misleading ng book cover and blurb. Kala ko sweet and romantic yung story. Na may konting adventure kasi ang interesting nung list nya. Well, adventure nga naman kaso sexual adventure pala.

Books Classic Mystery

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson | Book Review


  • You’re in the mood to read something strange and different
  • You want to read about disturbing and misanthropic characters, but still very likeable
  • You want something haunting and charming at the same time


It’s a story about two sisters, Merricat and Constance, living in a “castle” without adult supervision because everyone in their family is dead (hindi counted si Uncle Julian kasi may sakit sya and si Constance yung nagaalaga sa kanya). They are super anti-social and hate sila ng mga townspeople for being unusual and rich.

Books Classic Fiction

Animal Farm by George Orwell | Book Review


  • You want to read a story about talking farm animals
  • Gusto mong mas maging mulat sa mga nangyayari sa ating lipunan
  • Gusto mong mabilang sa milyong milyong tao na nakabasa na ng librong ‘to


The farm animals had enough! Hindi na nila kayang i-tolerate ang pagpapalakad ng amo nila na si Mr. Jones. Kaya naman gumawa sila ng paraan para mapatalsik ang amo nila at sa wakas! The animals reign supreme! Pero ngayong nasa pamumuno na sila ni Snowball (white pig) at Napoleon (fierce-looking boar), ano ang magiging kapalaran ng mga farm animals? Mas naging mabuti nga ba or worse?

📷: Katie Troy

This book is about power and how it can potentially change anyone who acquire them. At kahit animals ang main characters dito, the message is clear and strong. The author intended for it to be a reflection of the events that happened during the Russian Revolution so it’s a political satire. Pero I think pwede din syang ma-apply in the workplace somehow.

Books Mystery Thriller

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris | Book Review


  • You want an okay psychological thriller involving a married couple (don’t expect Gone Girl levels)


  • You’re a loving pet owner
  • You have low tolerance for torture


It’s about Jack and Grace na seen by their social circles as the perfect couple. Pero ang suspicious ng pagka-perfect nila kasi magtataka ka bakit walang sariling cellphone si Grace, nung hiningan sya ng e-mail address binigay nya yung e-mail address ni Jack, at laging hindi sumisipot si Grace sa lunch invites ng mga amiga nya and kung makakasipot man sya, kabuntot nya lagi si Jack. So medyo given na dito na si Jack yung psychopath. Kaya ang tagline nung book is, “The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?”

Books Fantasy

A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin | Book Review

More than a year kong binabasa ‘tong libro na ‘to. Sa wakas makaka-move on na ko sa next book. May times kasi na nasa mood akong mag-hangout sa Westeros tapos pag na-distract ako, totally makakalimutan ko sya. Kasi iniisip ko rin na alam ko nanaman yung ibang mangyayari because of the series. Pero nananaig pa din yung curiousity ko kung anong difference nung books from the series kaya kahit nakakatamad minsan, gusto ko pa din tapusin. At alam ko rin na once magsimula ako ulit, sure naman na manunumbalik yung pagka-fanatic ko.


Books Classic Humor Romance

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen | Book Review

My 6th book this month! Super duper proud of myself. Ngayon lang ‘to nangyari.

Yay tapos ko na! Kala ko hindi ko matatapos kasi first classic novel ko ‘to and super hindi ako sanay sa writing style (1813 sya na-publish). Hindi ko pa din napapanood yung movie nung sinimulan ko so nahirapan talaga ko kasi wala akong idea. Nung sinimulan ko, feeling ko hindi kaya ng comprehension ko yung mga ganito. Nakaka-intimidate. Kaya rin hindi ako mahilig magbasa ng classics.

Pero nag-attempt pa din ako kasi highly recommended sya ng mga members ng book club namin. The first 20% is a struggle. Ang hirap talaga i-absorb for me. Pero unti-unti syang nagiging interesting and na-overpower nung plot yung writing style.


Merong 5 sisters at ang bida ay si Elizabeth Bennet. Ang one and only goal ng nanay nila ay maikasal ang mga anak nya sa matitinong mga lalake. Super plus points kung mayaman. And given the time period, I wouldn’t blamer her. In the process of finding suitable partners for her daughters, na-meet ni Elizabeth si Mr. Darcy. Good looking and mayaman si Mr. Darcy but Elizabeth hated his guts.

Nung around 80% na ko, pinanood ko yung movie pero hanggang dun lang sa parts na nabasa ko na.
Adventure Books Mystery

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton | Book Review


A ship is set to sail to Amsterdam to transport a super valuable and mysterious thing called ‘The Folly’. But someone is wreaking havoc and the passengers are relying on Samuel Pipps (world’s greatest detective) and Arent Hayes (his loyal bodyguard) to uncover the culprit. Thing is, Samuel is being held prisoner, so Arent has to step up and do the investigating himself.

This book is an adventure. Na-inlove ako dun sa setting and how the author narrates the story. It’s as if I’m there as a passenger enjoying the sea breeze, watching the dolphins, and being amused and entertained by sailors fighting. Super fond of how the author describes scenes.

Dusk arrived in ribbons of purple and pink, a few stars puncturing the sky. There was no land in sight. Only water.

I also liked how the chapters were short. My Kindle is set to show how many minutes each chapter would take to read, and most of the time it would show ‘5 mins left in chapter’, sometimes even 1 minute. So whenever I see that the next chapter would only take 2-6 minutes to finish, the tendency is to read “just one more chapter”.

I can’t remember being bored reading this book. Impatient maybe. Kasi gustong gusto ko nang malaman kung sinong nag-devise ng plan to sabotage the ship! They all seemed so innocent. Sobra.

Also, this is our book club pick for November.


Una kong hula ay si Vos. Ang creepy nya kasi pero parang ang obvious masyado. Kaya napunta naman ako kay Sara. Kasi she seemed so kindhearted. Kaya naiisip ko na baka may surprise sa huli na masama pala sya. And sobrang hate nya din pala yung asawa nya (justifiably so) kaya hindi pa rin talaga sya lusot. Gustong gusto na nyang makawala kay Governor General. So andun yung motive. Kahit nung nasa island na sila sya pa din yung primary suspect ko 😂

Naisip ko pa na, with the urge from Sara, si Lia ang nag-plano ng lahat. Kasi nga Promil kid sya. And at one point naisip ko rin na baka related si Lia kay Samuel Pipps kase pareho silang gifted. Mali nanaman!

Yung mga gripping scenes dun sa book is yung storm and nung nagkakagulo na. Feel na feel ko yung chaos. Nung una diba parang adventure lang tapos after mangalahati, puro patayan na. Nagulat ako nung pinatay yung Captain. Napaisip tuloy ako bakit nga ba nag-deviate sa plan si Crauwel? Magtatanong pala ko sa book club Discord.

Kaya naman kase hindi ko napagkamalan si Creesjie, kasi yung pinapakita nyang character is someone who only cares about having a wealthy husband. So I only perceived her as a simple minded woman who’s a gold digger and cares too much about her looks. Tsaka diba nagpakita sya ng interest kay Vos nung nag-propose sya and promised her a comfortable life. It’s all an act pala. Kaya rin nasa baba sya ng list ko of suspects gawa dun.

Mas mataas si Pipps sa suspect list ko kesa kay Creesjie. Pero sa isip ko kasi, sobrang imposible na maging involved sya kasi nga nakakulong sya. Sobrang pa-victim pati nya. Ang hirap din maging sobrang suspicious sa kanya kasi nung binigay yung background nya sa una, akala mo yun na ‘yon. Not until nung na-reveal sa huli yung totoong family history nya. Tapos yung Saardam pala is specifically designed para makalabas sya sa kulungan nya. Tss.

Anyway, nung hindi pa nari-reveal ang lahat, nag-panic ako dun sa fake act ni Isabel. Kala ko talaga totoo! In fairness kay Sara and Arent naisip pa nila ‘yon.

RATING [4 🌟]

While I enjoyed almost everything and sobrang nakakaloko yung culprits, I feel like the ending is the weakest point in the book. Hindi ako super na-satisfy dun sa execution nung reveal. And yung ending, parang, ganun na lang ‘yon? But I must say it’s still worth reading kahit medyo let down yung ending.

Nakakaasar yung magkapatid kasi halos walang remorse. Mej nakakaasar din yung sobrang curiosity ni Sara and Lia nung ina-unfold na nung magkapatid kung pano nila na-execute yung devious plans nila. Parang may halong wonder pa nga. Mas nangibabaw yung curiousity nila kesa sa galit.

Although ang intention talaga is to kill Jan Haan, ang dami pa din nadamay na tao. Plus the animals huhu. Mapapatay pa ni Vos si Arent. So parang hindi ako ganun ka-agree na walang justice. Naging “Let’s just forgive and forget and form a star-studded group.” na lang.


I chuckled at this:

“What brings fine sirs like yourselves down to the arse end of the ship?” asked the constable, putting a dried piece of fish into his mouth. Far as Arent could tell, there wasn’t a single tooth waiting for it.

Power should be a burden, not a shield. It should be used to everybody’s betterment, not merely for the person who wielded it.

Sara: Courage isn’t an absence of fear. It’s the light we find when fear is all there is.

Sammy had once told him that love was the easiest thing to spot, because it didn’t look like anything else. It couldn’t hide itself, it couldn’t disguise itself, it couldn’t go unnoticed for very long.

Click to view my digital book shelf.