Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 book list

I had so much fun keeping a list of the books I read last year that I decided to make it an annual tradition. (Here's a link to last year's list of 41 books.)

1. Shift Your Habits by Elizabeth Rogers--An excellent choice for starting out the new year, this book offers lots of ideas for decreasing your energy usage.
2. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell--Interesting look at the "tipping points" that cause epidemics, businesses, etc. to really take off in success and popularity
3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak--Um, wow! When I saw this book had 550 pages, I almost put it back. But it was highly recommended by an English teacher friend, Kelsey, so I decided to give it a shot. I could not put this book down, and finished it in less than 3 days! I then passed it on to Eric who read it quickly as well. Rough language and difficult subject (Nazi Germany) but a very compelling story!
4. A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel--I did not know what to expect with this book, which Flower Patch Farmgirl listed as a favorite. It was an enjoyable reflection on the author's growing up years in a very small town. At one point, I was laughing so hard it hurt!
5. French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano--Having long been interested in the French culture, this was a fascinating look at how French women view food--something to be relished and enjoyed, but balanced with moderation.
6. Desperate Households by Kathy Peel--This was highly recommended on a blog I read regularly. It was an interesting read, but I didn't really take anything away from it.
7. Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis--Wow, what a compelling story! I loved reading about this mature, compassionate, sold-out-to-Jesus young woman and her impact on people in Uganda (and their impact on her!)
8. Scratch Beginnings by Adam Shepard--A fascinating book by a recent college grad who decides to move to a Southern city with just $25 in his pocket. He moves into a homeless shelter, with the goal of having $, a job, and his own housing within a year's time. Rough around the edges, but definitely an interesting story.
9. The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith--I read this at the suggestion of an English professor friend of mine. It's a very different style from what I usually read, but I really enjoyed it.
10. Mindset for Moms by Jamie C. Martin--I have read Jamie's blog, Steady Mom, for a couple years now, and often appreciate her perspective on motherhood. The goal of this book is to help you shift your mindset to one that is more joyful. A good read, though I didn't find it particularly impactful.
11. Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones--An award-winning novel recommended by my professor friend, this is a gritty story of a young woman growing up on a primitive, tumultuous island, and how her life is impacted by a teacher who reads aloud the classic book Great Expectations.
12. Simply the Savior by Nancy Parker Brummett--A book that encourages simplifying our lives to bring us closer to the Savior.
13. Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith--The next book in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, filled with mystery and intrigue.
14. The Vow by Kim and Krickitt Carpenter--I flew threw this true story, especially since I was in the hospital at the time and could relate a little more to the agonizing trauma this amazing Christian couple endured.
15. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder (Hereafter LIW)--The comfort food version of a book. I read this while we were staying in the Ronald McDonald House and appreciated the escape to a simple, old fashioned and familiar story. I decided to read the rest of the series throughout the year.
16. Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker--I started reading this the day before Naomi was born, so I will always have a strong memory association with this book. I was struck that day by the chapter on wearing just 7 clothing items for a month because that's essential what I did during the 3 weeks I was on hospitalized bed rest: 2 pairs of pants, 4 t-shirts, and 2 sweatshirts; everything mix-and-match. Very thought provoking!
17. Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth
18. An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff--Not quite what I expected, but a compelling account of the friendship that developed between an NYC executive and a boy who lived on the streets. It's difficult to swallow the situations these two encountered as children, but it makes you more grateful they found each other and became good friends.
19. Far From Here by Nicole Baart
20. Making Piece by Beth Howard--The author claims that she exists because of pie--her parents met over slices of banana cream pie and were married soon after. This is an interesting book about the author's grief journey after the sudden death of her husband, and about how pie helped her through that time and shaped her ongoing dreams. She now runs a pie stand in eastern Iowa. Unfortunately, the book is fairly crude.
21. Play These Games by Heather Swain--Thanks to my friend Carrie's review, my eye caught this book on the shelf of new books at our local library. Lots of creative ideas of games and activities using everyday objects.
22. Some Assembly Required by Anne Lamott--For years, I've enjoyed reading Lamott's non-fiction. She has such a quirky, intriguing style. This book is the account of her teenage son becoming a dad, and about her own transition to being a grandmother.
23. Paris, My Sweet by Amy Thomas--Another book for Francophiles, especially those with a sweet tooth. The author travels back and forth between NYC and Paris, devouring and reviewing as many desserts as she can.
24. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey--We already implement a lot of what Dave talks about, and Eric has even taught FPU at our church, but I enjoyed reading the many testimonials found in the book. So inspiring to keep being good stewards!
25. The Healing by Jonathan Odell--Recommended by Amy, I was drawn to the book by her comparisons to two other books I've enjoyed--as well as the author's last name. =) Unusual, compelling story that takes place in the South.
26. Paris in Love by Eloisa James--Are you seeing a pattern?! Another book about a family who lives in Paris for a year.
27. The Penny Whistle Traveling with Kids Book by Meredith Brokaw--My mom sent this right before our big summer road trip, and I found several ideas to implement for our long drive.
28. Seven Secret Pauses by Macrina Weiderkehr--Mentioned in the other "Seven" book (see #16), this book encourages us to pause for prayer and reflection at seven times throughout the day.
29. SAHM I Am by Meredith Efken--This Christian chick lit novel about an on-line community of stay-at home-moms is not my typical style of reading material, but it was refreshing and a fun read for vacation.
30. Still Alice by Lisa Genova--Wow. Recommended by a dear friend of mine, this novel about a Harvard prof who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimers blew me away.
31. 52 Simple Ways to Build Family Traditions by Paul and Leisa Thigpen--Inspiration for incorporating Christ-centered traditions. My mom gave it to me, and I passed it on to Katie when I met her because I thought she'd enjoy it.
32. The Red Herring by Brian Moriarty--Fascinating debut novel about rock climbing, relationships, and forgiveness (in draft form--in process of being published) by one of our closest real-life friends.
33. Farmer Boy by LIW
34. Left Neglected by Lisa Genova--By the same author as Still Alice (see above), this one was just as compelling. I'm a big fan of this writer!
35. Beyond Bath Time by Erin Davis--Had hoped to write a more thorough post about this book and I may re-read it at some point. Challenging thoughts for moms!
36. Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach--Written by a former editor at Real Simple, this book was a fun read. Though my tastes differ significantly from the recipes shared, I still enjoyed this peek into another family's "food life."
 37. The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan--This topic is interesting to me, even though it's highly unlikely we'll ever be true homesteaders. Lots of practical advice for making the most of your yard to produce food.
38. Hurry Less, Worry Less for Moms by Judy Christie--Good reminders from a seasoned mom
39. Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic--My third reading--this is the most convicting book about being a mom that I've ever read (and re-read!)
40. Cleaning House by Kay Wills Wyma--I'd hoped to take the time to more thoroughly review this book and may do so in the future. This book is about teaching your kids to be self-sufficient and not have entitled attitudes. I really enjoyed it.
41. Home to Harmony by Philip Gulley (Hereafter, PG)--When I told a friend I needed something light to read, she suggested this series. I'm hooked. Very much like Mitford with endearing characters, small town life, and wholesome humor. I laughed out loud several times! I read this entire series this fall.
42. Little House on the Prairie by LIW
43. Just Shy of Harmony by PG
44. The Green Book by Elizabeth Rogers--I always enjoy books that challenge me to be more enivronmentally-conscious
45. The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck--Quite the departure from my usual reading selections, but I really enjoyed this Christian novel about a special wedding dress that is worn by 4 different women.
46. Signs and Wonders by PG
47. Christmas in Harmony by PG
48. On the Banks of Plum Creek by LIW
49. On the Shores of Silver Lake by LIW
50. Life Goes On by PG
51. The Long Winter by LIW
52. A Change of Heart by PG
53. Little Town on the Prairie by LIW
54. Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst
55. These Happy Golden Years by LIW
56. The First Four Years by LIW
57. Almost Friends by PG (The last of the series--sigh!)
58. Love Anthony by Lisa Genova--I read all three of Genova's books this year, and this was my least favorite, but it's an interesting tale of two women dealing with loss. Autism is a major theme of the book as well.
59. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty--Recommended on a blog, this was an interesting tale of a woman who had a head injury and forgot the last ten years of her life.
60. Jesus Calling by Sarah Young--This daily devotional continues to be a blessing to me!

Looking back over the list, I realize this was a year in which I made reading more of a priority, partly because reading was a comfort to me in the difficulties we faced this year. And I read a lot more fiction this year than usual.

I am so thankful my mom gave me the Little House box set last year for Christmas. Though we read them often growing up, it had been a decade or two and I enjoyed reading them more than I anticipated. And I enjoyed the Harmony series so much that I'd like to give a copy of the first book, Home to Harmony, away to get one of you hooked. To enter, just leave a comment on this post regarding something you read this year. A winner will be selected on January 3.

Happy New Year, friends!


Sheila said...

I LOVED the Little House series! I read them over and over as a kid, and have read a few (by myself, not even reading to my kids) as an adult. I'm going to confess that I read the entire Hunger Games series. My kids were reading them (16 and 12 years old), and I felt that I need to read them because I was concerned about the content. However, I was quickly hooked, which I did not expect to be. I recently reread Jane Eyre, and I enjoyed that as well. I usually only have enough time to read things when I'm on vacation, so reading for me is a bit sporadic.

Lisa @ Simply Things Family said...

I read Unglued. I loved it and did it as a study with my ladies group. I plan to read at least 2 books a month this year. (Love the Harmony series!)

Lisa said...

I want to respond to almost every book on your list :) I read some of the same books (and thought some of the same things...such as #6...but I guess that just means that our households aren't desperate, right?...and #7...absolutely LOVED the book, was inspired by the story and the author). I've also read the Harmony series (although it was years ago). I loved the light-hearted stories as well, and I definitely needed the escape at the time! There are other books on your list that I'm going to pin because you've piqued my interest. Currently on my nightstand: "Boundaries With Kids" (for the third time! highly recommend!), "Make the Bread, Buy the Butter," and "The Doctor's Lady" Thanks for the list!

erin said...

I can't believe how many of the same books we read this year (down to What Alice Forgot), how funny! We probably had at least twenty books in common. :) I just started Unglued yesterday and it is great!
Also, don't know if the OC library has them, but we borrowed the #1 Ladies Detective Agency dvds - the series was so good, too bad they didn't make a second season.

thehomespunheart said...

My mind is spinning with how many books you read! I did read a couple of the same ones and a few others - but not nearly this many! Kisses From Katie was a favorite and I think I need to check out that series Home to Harmony! :)

Leah in Iowa said...

Thanks for this post! It's one I know I'll come back to time and time again.

Carrie said...

Fun! I love looking through other people's lists. Thanks for sharing.

angie said...

I love Philip Gulley's Harmony series, but don't own any of them. I would love to re-read Home to Harmony.
Thank you for publishing this list. I wrote down many of your titles to to add to my nightstand stack. I wish my library ordered more books by Christian authors.
You've inspired me to keep a running list of books I read in 2013. I finished a book today, so I started the list with it. (this is not the first time I've started such a list, but always forget to keep adding to it as I finish a book.) Any ideas for remembering to add to the list? Maybe I could write the titles on an ongoing bookmark....

Milissa said...

Thanks for sharing your list. I LOVE to read! A really great way (easy place) to keep track of your books is on If you're not already on that site, you should check it out.

Erin said...

I really enjoyed reading Call the Midwife, as I watched the series on PBS. I'm a big fan of memoirs!

MH in OH said...

I just finished Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. I love to read and also read a lot while on bedrest this year. The Little House books are wonderful read alouds for the whole family to enjoy. I am not familiar with the Harmony series. I think it would be interesting to look back at year's end on how many books I read in the past year - I'm sure I've forgotten what I read last Jan. Thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

I read the first Anne of Green Gables book. I am a huge reader, but had never read that series. I don't know why, because I loved it! Also, if you have a kindle, might I recommend two books by Gene Porter Stratton - A Girl of the Limberlost and Freckles. They are both free for Kindle and reminiscent of LIW and Anne.

wvalice at gmail

kelseylynae said...

Can't wait to add a few of these to my list! Thanks. I've been wanting to read "Some Assembly Required," and "Still Alice" sounds good too.

I'm glad you enjoyed "The Book Thief." I didn't know Eric read it as well. I finally got Kali to start it, and she is flying through it as well.

I recently started "The Zion Chronicles" by Bode Theone-- they are set in post WWII Jerusalem. If you haven' read them I think you would really enjoy them. There is another series, "The Zion Covenant" that was written second but chronologically comes first, set in Nazi Germany. They are Christian fiction. Well written.

Would like to check out the Harmony series :-)

Happy new year to you!

Mom said...

Thanks for the tip on the Harmony books -- I've read two of them so far. :) I read 30 books in 2012, including some of the same ones you read (such as Still Alice, Seven, and Almost Amish). Happy reading in 2013! Love you, Mom