2012 Books

Dec 31, 2012

I had a goal to read 52 books this year. I figured if I could read an average of a book a week, that was pretty good considering my slow reading speed and busy life. I'm happy to report that I read a total of 60 books, so I even exceeded my goal by a little bit. :-)

At a glance, here are all of the books I read. All titles will be linked to my original reviews (unless I haven't written them yet, in which case they're coming soon). Also, I'll make note of whether it was an audio book. And last, be on the lookout for which ones made it into my Top 5 of the year because, you know, those are the ones you should read no matter what.  

1. State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett, partial AUDIO, 1/10
The year had a rough start. I enjoyed most of the book, but the ending RUINED the ENTIRE book.

2. Maniac Magee, by Jerry Spinelli, AUDIO, 6/10
I liked it, but now, almost a year later, I can remember very little about it.

3. The Parenting Breakthrough: A Real-Life Plan to Teach Your Kids to Work, Save Money, and Be Truly Independent, by Merrilee Boyack, 9/10
With Boyack's detailed plan for how to raise truly independent kids by age 18, this is one of my very, very favorite parenting books.

4. Anne of Windy Poplars, by Lucy Maud Montgomery, 8/10
As always, great characters.

5. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand, AUDIO, 10/10, Top 5
Every time I tell someone about this book, I am amazed all over again that it is a true story. 

6. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, AUDIO, 3/10
I know it's a science fiction classic. I know it's about books. But I could not wait to be done with it.

7. Baby-led Weaning: Helping Your Baby Love Good Food, by Gill Rapley, 8/10
Outlines a whole new approach to introducing solids to babies without using any purees. I used it with Bradley with great success (mainly because it made me much less stressed about all the whens and whats).

8. Peter and the Starcatchers, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, AUDIO 9/10
All about how Peter Pan became Peter Pan, this book had the perfect blend of adventure, magic, and a great deal of wit.

9. Taking Off, by Jenny Moss, 7/10
This historical fiction, with events surrounding the Challenger disaster, was interesting.

10. Midnight in Austenland, by Shannon Hale, 7/10
Nothing too memorable but very fun to read.

11. Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld, AUDIO, 5/10
I was intrigued by the steampunk genre, but it was a little too out there (or something) for me. I have no intention of finishing the trilogy.

12. The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde, 8/10
The plot is funny, the lines are funny, the characters are funny.

13. The Mouse and the Motorcycle, by Beverly Cleary, 6/10
Ralph S. Mouse and his obsession with vehicles was a great choice for Aaron's first chapter book.

14. The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin, 10/10, Top 5
This book changed my life. Really. I still think about it frequently.

15. Key Lime Pie, by Josie S. Kilpack, 6/10
The fourth one in a series of culinary mysteries, this one was just as fluffy as the others, but I read it when I was in the right mood for it.

16. My Father's Dragon, by Ruth Stiles Gannett, 7/10
Great little story about a young boy's adventures trying to save a dragon.

17. Funeral Potatoes, by Joni Hilton, 6/10
Not my genre of choice but not a bad way to pass the time during a long road trip.

18. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by, E. Lockhart, AUDIO, 7/10
I really enjoyed this story about a feisty teenage girl outwitting all her male counterparts, but there were some things I didn't like about it, too.

19. Edenbrooke, by Julianne Donaldson, 10/10,  Top 5
I feel happy every time I think about this book. Pure pleasure. Gets the award for best leading man.

20. Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever, by Mem Fox, 8/10
How could I not like a book that tells me the best thing I can do as a mother is read to my children?

21. Peter and the Shadow Thieves, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, AUDIO, 7/10
I didn't like it as well as the first one, but it was still very good, and I would definitely recommend this series to 10-14 year-old boys.

22.  Elmer and the Dragon, by Ruth Stiles Gannett, 6/10
I actually can't remember a single thing about this book except that I didn't like it quite as well as My Father's Dragon.

23. The Penderwicks at Point Moutte, by Jeanne Birdsall, AUDIO, 9/10
Really, really liked this third installment about the Penderwick sisters. These books say "summer" to me like almost nothing else.

24. Sink Reflections, by Marla Cilley, 8/10
A bit on the cheesy side (okay, a lot on the cheesy side), but after I implemented many of the suggestions in this book, my house stayed much cleaner. (Sadly, I lost a lot of my good habits when we moved. Yes, I know that was four months ago.)

25. The Littles, by John Lawrence Peterson, 6/10
I enjoyed reading this book from my childhood to Aaron and Max.

26. The Littles Take a Trip, by John Lawrence Peterson, 6/10
After reading this one, I decided I'm probably just going to let the boys read the rest of these on their own someday. It was cute, but it was a little juvenile to be truly enjoyable for me, too.

27. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith, 10/10, Top 5
Francie may well be one of the best main characters I've ever encountered. And the writing is an absolute treat.

28. Heaven is Here, by Stephanie Nielson, 9/10
This book made me appreciate all the good things in my life just a little bit more.

29. The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster, AUDIO, 6/10
I thought I would like this children's classic more than I did.

30. ScreamFree Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids By Keeping Your Cool, by Hal Edward Runkel, AUDIO, 8/10
Some really great ideas. I should already reread it.

31. Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America, by Firoozeh Dumas, 8/10
This memoir was both entertaining and enlightening. It cast America in a new, but not unfavorable, light.

32. Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale, AUDIO, 9/10
I enjoyed this book the second time just as much as when I first read it. 

33. Dead End in Norvelt, by Jack Gantos, AUDIO, 8/10
I really did love this partly autobiographical story (and Mike did, too).

34. Bringing Up Geeks: How to Protect Your Kid's Childhood in a Grow-Up-Too-Fast World, by MaryBeth Hicks, 9/10
I felt like I was reading a parenting manual written by my own parents. I agreed with practically everything in it. I want my kids to be geeks.

35. Emily of New Moon, by Lucy Maud Montgomery, AUDIO, 8/10
I loved Emily almost as much as Anne Shirley.

36. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloo, 9/10
I have not stopped thinking about this book and all the ethical and moral questions it raised. Also, I never thought I would find cell cultures so fascinating.

37. Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White, 10/10
Aaron and I enjoyed this book equally well. A true classic.

38. Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell, AUDIO, 9/10
I'll still go with my original summary: this book is heartachingly perfect.

39. What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures, by Malcolm Gladwell, 8/10
I will never think the same way about ketchup, birth control, or a multitude of other topics.

40. The Thief, by Megan Whalen Turner, AUDIO, 6/10
Not really my favorite.

41. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain, AUDIO, 9/10
This book validated my introverted personality. I will forever be grateful for it.

42. The Girl Who Chased the Moon, by Sarah Addison Allen, 3/10
Not what I was expecting and not what I liked.

43. Mr. Popper's Penguins, by Richard and Florence Atwater, 5/10
I thought this story was a bit on the boring side and not all that funny or cute.

44. The Unwanteds, by Lisa McMann, AUDIO, 9/10
Really, really great. This was the perfect blend of fantasy, magic, and dystopian.

45. The Witches, by Roald Dahl, AUDIO, 9/10
The story was great. The narrator was amazing.

46. Wonder, by R.J. Palacio, 10/10
Told from several different viewpoints, I loved this story about a 10-year-old boy learning to overcome his challenges.

47. The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigian, 6/10
I should have loved this story, but the writing draaaaaged.

48. The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden, 8/10
Aaron or Max will mention Chester or Harry or Tucker or Mario at least once a week.

49. Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier, AUDIO, 10/10, Top 5
The writing was exquisite, the plot was captivating, and even now, I get lost in the story just thinking about it.

50. The Aviary, by Kathleen O'Dell, 8/10
Unlike anything I've ever read before, in a good way.

51. Mr. and Mrs. Bunny--Detectives Extraordinaire by Polly Horvath, 8/10
I dare you to read this book and not laugh out loud.

52. Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl, AUDIO, 9/10
Opened my eyes to the subtle flavors of food and the powerful influence of appearance.

53. Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver, AUDIO 8/10
A strangely sentimental and beautiful story about a girl and her ghost.

54. Liar & Spy, by Rebecca Stead, AUDIO 8/10
So fun to see how all the pieces came together in the end.

55. Dinner: A Love Story, by Jenny Rosenstrach, 8/10
Yummy recipes intermixed with a great commentary about the importance of eating dinner as a family.

56. Matilda, by Roald Dahl, AUDIO, 8/10
I didn't know it until this year, but I love Roald Dahl.

57. Lost December, by Richard Paul Evans, AUDIO, 7/10
It has the Richard Paul Evans flavor for sure, but that's what I expected, so I liked it.

58. A Dog Named Christmas, by Greg Kincaid, AUDIO, 8/10
I don't love dogs, but I loved this book.

59. The 13th Day of Christmas, by Jason F. Wright, 7/10
Everything you would expect out of a Christmas story: heartwarming, tear-jerking, happy.

60. The Mansion, by Henry van Dyke, 9/10
Very metaphorical and thought-provoking. 

And that's it! Thanks, 2012! You've been a great year!


  1. Great post. Thanks for sharing the books and your insight.

  2. Thanks for all the great tips. I bought Rebecca right after you first raved about it on your blog. It's in a short line of books I've been trying to read. Silly me thought I'd have a ton of time to sit and read when I had a new baby!

  3. Wow! I have a goal this year to read more books (I've fallen out of the habit since high school), and I like quite a few on this list. Hope you meet your goal next year, too!

  4. FYI I love your recommendations. :) You're one of the ones I really trust.

  5. Wow, you read so much! Love it. I need to set my personal goal higher this year. ;)

  6. Okay, after reading your 3 most recent posts I think I just need to call you and go through them line by line- replying here would take much too long. But I can't help myself on a few things which I would definitely elaborate on if I could.

    #1 Well done, Gordy, gorgeous photo.
    #2 Hooray! I'm so glad that you loved "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" and "Rebecca".
    #3 "Outliers" and the introvert book are on my resolution list from your recommendation and I've added "The Happiness Project" to my "to read" list.
    #4 In my opinion the first book of the Emily series far outshines the other two and I can't believe you've never read The whole Chronicles of Narnia series. We have it on CD and I would definitely lend it to you if I were closer. Maybe I'll bring it the next time I visit.
    #5 I think you are a fantastic mom! -that was for no particular reason, just because I like you:)

    When we both get better at time management (or worse at time management) I'm sure we'll take a minute to catch up on the phone and I'm sure, as always, I'll forget at least 3/4 of the things I want to ask you after talking your ears off for far too long.

  7. Hmmm--I notice some parenting books here!! I've been looking for something for the toddler years but I'm not really sure what (I swore off parenting books after the baby one I read stressed me out even more). Is there one you really like? Dealing with tantrums, encouraging independence, fostering confidence etc?

  8. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier is one of my all time favorite books!! Here's to another great year of reading!!


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