2012: My Year in Books (Plus, Fall/Winter Mini Book Reviews!)

January 31, 2013

2012! Phew. It was a fun year in books.

There are 52 books listed on my 2012 reading list.
44 of those I read cover to cover, 8 of them I just skimmed.
51 of those were fully published books, only 1 was a self-published ebook.
I read the most in January – 9 books – and the least in November – 0. (I was busy writing!)

A few favorite, couldn’t-get-enough-of-’em, loved-them-to-pieces highlights:

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), by Mindy Kaling
A laugh outloud – repeatedly – memoir from the dry humored Kelly Kapoor from The Office. I read it while relaxing last summer at the lake. A perfect “beach read.” You know when you read a memoir of someone you’re barely familiar with and then after reading it, you want to know everything about them and be their new best friend? Yeah. That.



I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts On Being a Woman, by Nora Ephron
Damn, I wish I could write like Nora. (But doesn’t everybody?) Another wish: that I was more familiar with her work when she was still alive. Her writing is so powerful in its simplicity. Like a river that appears calm and slow on the surface, but is capable of ripping out trees and flipping boulders; there is so much more to her understated writing than you think upon first glance. Strong undercurrents of meaning and emotion and awareness.



Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed
This was the first book I read after Babygirl was born, and I absorbed it like a sponge. Cheryl’s story about her adventure was deeper than I expected, and I pulled every emotional connection I could from it during that hormone-filled, introspective time in my life.




The American Heiress: A Novel, by Daisy Goodwin
My favorite novel of the year. The quotes on the cover mention Downton Abbey, that if you love that show you’ll love this book. I have never seen it, but good gracious maybe I should. It was comfortable to read yet full of imagery and emotion that plunked you right down into the time period. Such fun.




The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future, by Chris Guillebeau
Chris’s second book didn’t disappoint. Motivating. Instructive. Clear. Worthwhile. Inspiring.




The Duck Commander Family: How Faith, Family, and Ducks Built a Dynasty, by Willie Robertson Korie Robertson
I stumbled upon this book while wandering through Barnes & Noble one weekend and actually smiled at the realization that it existed. We love the show. We laugh outloud at the show. We watch reruns of the show and laugh outloud again in the same places we laughed outloud the first time. And they have a book? I MUST READ IT. The pictures of the family Before Beards are practically worth the price of the book on their own. Add in the fascinating background of this unique, successful family and you have one darn-good entertaining read.


Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected: A Memoir, by Kelle Hampton
Another thought-provoker. Kelle is one of my favorite favoritest bloggers, and also an inspiration writing-wise. Her writing is, is, is…beautiful. (She would have been able to describe it with a better word than that. And with a simile to boot.) The quality of the blog posts she cranks out a couple times a week – writing about her life and her family and her home – never cease to amaze me. I was excited about this one, and it didn’t disappoint. The book extends on the topics she covers on her blog. Specifically, her childhood and journey surrounding the surprise diagnosis of her second daughter with Down Syndrome. It was a lovely read. I rarely read books twice, but this one I have marked for just that. It was contemplative and emotional and full of thoughts on life and motherhood that I want to invite back into my brain to rattle around for a while longer.

That list of highlights leans much more towards girly than my reading has in years past. Much more personal. In fact, my entire reading list from 2012 trends that direction. Compared to 2011 and 2010, it’s full of more fiction than non-fiction. But I guess that makes sense? Our reading tends to reflect what we are thinking about and who we want to be and what we are relating to and this year, the year I became a mama, maybe it’s strong women that really attracted me. Strong women that are also happily considered a little…loopy. Loopy and weird and totally, completely lovely.

I’ll take it.

Fall/Winter 2012 Mini Book Reviews

For my birthday last year I wrote 31 mini book reviews in celebration of my 31 years. In September I wrote a mini review for every book I read in June, July, and August. So, in order to wrap up my 2012 reading with a tidy little bow, here are mini book reviews for everything I read in September, October, November, and December. A sentence or two each, because it’s more fun that way.

Here we go!

The American Heiress: A Novel, by Daisy Goodwin
Loved. See above.

Three Weeks with My Brother, by Nicholas Sparks, Micah Sparks
The behind-the-scenes life story of one of the world’s bestselling novelists? Yes, please.

The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods, by Hank Haney
Way too technical for this I-only-golfed-in-high-school girl, but the peek behind the curtain provided by one of the few people in the world to ever get close-ish to TW was worth the read.

The Litigators: A Novel, by John Grisham
I stopped reading Grisham several novels ago, but I broke the streak with this one. Worth it. Nothing will ever be as wonderful as his first – A Time To Kill – but this one came close.

The Business of the 21st Century, by Robert Kiyosaki
A rare second reading for me. I challenged my Vemma team to read it, and I wasn’t about to not join them. Worthwhile. Eye opening. Reassuring. Exciting. (And short!)

The Duck Commander Family: How Faith, Family, and Ducks Built a Dynasty, by Willie Robertson, Korie Robertson
Loved. See above.

London Is the Best City in America, by Laura Dave
Ehh. I randomly ran into this novel deep into an Amazon search one evening. It was enjoyable and easy to read with a strong moral resonating throughout, but I didn’t love the quality of the writing.

Sign With Your Baby: How to Communicate With Infants Before They Can Speak, by Joseph Garcia
Informative! A super easy, useful mommy-read.

Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected: A Memoir, by Kelle Hampton
Loved. See above.

Black and Blue: A Novel, by Anna Quindlen
Oh my. I was mesmerized by this book. After I read Room a couple years ago, I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days, weeks, after turning the final page. This book was the same way. And damn, Quindlen is such a stunning writer.

Phew! Good stuff.

I have big writing goals for 2013, so if I’m able to simply keep my reading at the same level as 2012, I’ll consider it good. So, 52 books. Average of one every week. Let’s do this!

(I’m 5 books in so far. Look at me go!)

What reads did you love in 2012? What’re you reading now? How many books will you read this year?

In book geekery,

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