Happy 22nd Birthday to Me: 22 Favorite Books, TV Shows & More 

If you couldn’t tell by the title, today is my twenty-second birthday. To say the least, it’s definitely a weird birthday thanks to our current reality. I’ll be going out shopping – in mostly outdoor shopping outlets –  for the first time since January and I have plans to celebrate with friends later on this week. 21 was a big growing up year for me, and despite the events of the last five months or so, I loved being 21. I think 22 is going to be another big growing up year for me, as I navigate post-college life, real working world and grad school included. I’m trying to be more optimistic and less stressed in August, and I want to do my best to carry out this attitude this year!

I wanted to bring some birthday cheer to the blog today, so I’ll be sharing 22 of my favorite things that have brought me so much joy this summer, in the forms of books, TV/movies, and podcasts – you’ll likely recognize a few repeats from my monthly wrap-ups but I can’t stop gushing about them so much! I also didn’t want to share strictly books because I recently shared my favorite reads of 2020, and let’s be honest yearly wrap ups or a summer wrap up will be here before we know it!


Some books that I’ve LOVED but haven’t shared too many details about yet or full reviews for include: 

The Heir Affair (The Royal We #2) by Jessica Morgan and Heather Cocks – I feel like I’ve mentioned The Heir Affair in so many blog posts this summer, but I officially read & finished it last week… and I can’t stop thinking about this sequel to The Royal We! I actually got too impatient to wait for a physical copy from the library, so I borrowed a digital copy and devoured it on my Kindle in about 2 days. The Heir Affair was everything I wanted in this sequel, and while I’m really content with the way it ended, I seriously would not mind a third book. 

Anna K by Jenny Lee – Anna K is hands-down one of the best YA books I’ve read in 2020. I’ve come to realize that I don’t want to use the Gossip Girl meets Crazy Rich Asians comparison because while it has GG vibes (and honestly not really CRA), it is such a story of its own. I loved its Anna Karenina retelling, and it just felt so mature. I seriously cannot wait to get my hands on the upcoming sequel. 

Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman – I didn’t write a review of Deborah Feldman’s Unorthodox, having just included in in my July wrap-up, but it definitely didn’t do how much I loved this memoir justice! This was another Kindle read because I didn’t want to wait for a physical library copy. I watched the Netflix adaptation back in March, and while I feel like the show captured the spirit of the book (Deborah Feldman was also a big part of the project), her memoir is just so, so good and so different from the show. Almost immediately after finishing it I borrowed her second memoir, Exodus, and enjoyed that read too. 

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon – I admit that I’ve become more critical about what historical fiction I pick up because of my coursework and reading in Holocaust Studies, but I thought From Sand and Ash was a really well-written and untold story set during WWII. The book follows a Catholic priest and a Jewish woman who were raised together pre- WWII and the efforts the two go through trying to hide Jewish people in WWII time Italy, while they also have feelings for one another. 

Books I’ve also loved, but also feel like I’ve been talking non-stop about include:

All Adults Here by Emma Straub – Seriosuly, everyone needs to give all of her books a chance and I think her latest release, All Adults Here, is the perfect one to start with.

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle – The BEST contemporary romance I’ve read this summer (and maybe ever??). 

Beach Read by Emily Henry – The.hype.is.true!!! Please take this one with you on your travels to the beach, pool, or bed this August! 

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With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo – Such a must-read YA book. I loved Emoni’s story about raising her daughter and her dreams of going to culinary school. 

Have a Little Faith in Me by Sonia Hartl – If you’re looking for a YA book with great discussions surrounding sex and religion (and want to transport yourself to summer camp), Have a Little Faith in Me is the perfect read for you. 

10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon – It really isn’t summer without a Sandhya Menon book, and her latest release is another must read, especially for those who love frenemies-to-lovers.

Some romance reads I’ve talked A LOT about and have really enjoyed include Colleen Hoover’s Verity, Hannah Orenstein’s Playing with Matches, Robinne Lee’s The Idea of You, & my reread of Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments. 


Below Deck Mediterranean S5 (Bravo) – Below Deck has pretty much been my reality TV obsession since stay-at-home life started back in March. The latest spinoff season, Below Deck Mediterranean, might just be my favorite season yet. I love the crew and its female leadership and the drama has me so hooked this season especially. 

Selling Sunset S2 & S3 (Netflix) – I really think Selling Sunset might be my favorite Netflix reality show. I watched the second season over Memorial Day weekend, and at the time I’m writing this post, I’ve watched the first 6 episodes of season 3. I know I’ll likely have finished the whole season by this morning! I admit that the drama between the women is way over the top, but at the same time, I can’t get over the extravagance of their lives & jobs. 

The West Wing (NBC/Netflix) – The West Wing has been my family’s watch since about June. I think because of Parks & Recreation, it often pops up on my Netflix recommendations. My parents decided to rewatch it, especially because major league sports hadn’t been on for a while. I’m still on the first season – we’ve slowed down since baseball came back on- but I’m ready to sneakily watch it on my own because I love it so much.

Sleepless in Seattle (Netflix) – You might know that I love movies from the ‘80s and ‘90s, so it might seem really weird that I’ve only just watched Sleepless in Seattle for the first time! I really loved it! I enjoyed it a lot more than You’ve Got Mail, but I still have to watch When Harry Met Sally so I can properly share my rankings. 

The Politician S2 (Netflix) – If you’re craving a slightly ridicuslous, but absolutely addicting watch, please go watch The Politician ASAP. I think I liked the first season more than this second season… but that doesn’t mean I didn’t finish it in less than two days and find myself listening to Ben Platt’s cover “Corner of the Sky” all the time. 

Sugar Rush: Extra Sweet (Netflix) – I’ve recently realized that Sugar Rush might just be my favorite baking competition show! I feel like it’s so refreshing from other American baking shows because the judges are just so nice and not super critical, and I really love the themes in this season. 

The Babysitters Club (Netflix) – The Babysitters Club is another thing I feel like I keep mentioning in posts, so I think that’s enough of a sign that it’s time for you to watch if you haven’t! 


Bad on Paper – Bad on Paper is definitely going to make it’s way on to my yearly favorites wrap-up. I’ve really ventured into the world of podcasts in 2020, but Bad on Paper is my absolute favorite. I specifically make time to walk or do some sort of activity (mostly baking or cleaning) so I can listen to their new episodes on Wednesdays. Their podcast is such the perfect blend of books and conversations about careers, life, shopping, pop culture and more. I also love reading Grace’s blog, The Stripe, and I loved the first season of Becca’s RomCom Pods. 

“Behind-the-Scenes of Book Marketing with Morgan Hot (@nycbookgirl)” Episode by Sarah Bookshelves Lives – Another favorite bookish podcast of mine is Sarah Bookshelves Live. She does bi-weekly episodes in the summer- I also think she’ll be starting the fall with bi-weekly episodes as well-, but my favorite so far has been with Morgan of the bookstagram, @nycbookgirl, who also works in publishing. I loved her insight on the industry.


What have some of your summer favorites been? Any I mentioned? Do you have any book, TV, or podcast recommendations for me? Share in the comments!

13 thoughts on “Happy 22nd Birthday to Me: 22 Favorite Books, TV Shows & More 

  1. Happy Birthday! The best song to listen to today is Taylor Swift’s 22!! I hope you have a great birthday! I also LOVED Verity and Sleepless in Seattle. I recently read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and it was so good! I definitely recommend it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy 22nd!! The best age, imo 😉 Thanks for sharing these, I’ve been looking for more bookish podcasts to subscribe to for forever and am so so excited about these ones!!! Hope you have a great birthday and a wonderful August!!! 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

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