Favorite Reads from 2012

I’m trying to be better about getting away from the glowing screen and reading ACTUAL BOOKS from time to time. I discovered some great books this year (and a few duds that will go unmentioned). Here are the best books I read in 2012.

  • Girl Gone 1 of 11
    Girl Gone

      Gone Girl: A Novel

    This was probably the most-talked-about book of 2012 and for good reason it's an engaging mystery written with a razor-sharp wit. It will keep you up at night, turning pages until you come to the surprising truth about the girl who vanished.

  • Angle of Repose 2 of 11
    Angle of Repose

    Angle of Repose (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)

    This isn't a book I'd heard of, but our book club selected it and once I got past the first chapter, I couldn't put it down. On the surface, it's a story of life in the pioneering West, but underneath it's a relatable portrait of a marriage and the resentments that can so easily poison a relationship.

  • How To Be Black 3 of 11
    How To Be Black

    How to Be Black

    This humor book, by the former editor of The Onion, is a hilarious but meaningful look at what it means to be black. People of all races would enjoy this funny and though-provoking exploration of black identity. Just don't be surprised at the funny looks you get when reading it.

  • Daring Greatly 4 of 11
    Daring Greatly

    Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

    If you've had the chance to see Brene Brown's TED talk on shame and vulnerability, you are probably already a fan.  Her book Daring Greatly continues to encourage us to be more vulnerable in our relationships. It's a transforming book full of both research and practical application.

  • The Passage 5 of 11
    The Passage

    The Passage: A Novel

    I can't believe I'm about to recommend a novel about vampires, but this book gripped me immediately and kept me up late at night (reading, thinking, and sometimes completely terrified).  It's a harrowing tale of post-apocalyptic creatures who terrorize the earth, but it's also an existential journey about survival. 

  • Let’s Pretend This Never Happened 6 of 11
    Let's Pretend This Never Happened

    Let's Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir)

    Jenny Lawson is one of my favorite bloggers so I was thrilled to hear she was writing a book. This memoir contains the hilarity and quirky stories you'd expect from Jenny, with a dose of poignancy as well.

  • Happier at Home 7 of 11
    Happier at Home

      Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life

    The follow-up to Gretchen Rubin's book The Happiness Project, this book seeks to understand how to have more happiness at home. I found it inspiring and hope to implement some of her practices in the coming year.

  • A Year of Biblical Womanhood 8 of 11
    A Year of Biblical Womanhood

    A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband "Master"

    I say this without exaggeration: this book may be the most important read of the century for Christian women. Rachel takes an unflinching look at what scripture says about the role of women, literally applying it t her own life in an effort to understand how our current interpretation (and picking and choosing) holds up to what the bible really says.

  • Planting Dandelions 9 of 11
    Planting Dandelions

      Planting Dandelions: Field Notes From a Semi-Domesticated Life

    I've followed Kyran as a blogger for some time, but I was astounded at how impactful her book was.  A serious and vulnerable memoir of motherhood and marriage, I recognized my own experience in this book and loved her insightful take on suburban life.

  • The End of Homework 10 of 11
    The End of Homework

      The End of Homework: How Homework Disrupts Families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning

    This book was recommended to me by an educator I admire, and it put into words the frustrations I've already felt about the amount of homework my kids are saddled with each night. Whether you are pro-homework or not, this is an important read for all parents and teachers, with a good foundation of new research to back up their claims.

  • The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down 11 of 11
    The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

    The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures

    This book explores the true story of a young Hmong girl with epilepsy, and the clash that occurs between her parents' traditional cultural beliefs and practices and that of the doctors who treat her. It's a fascinating and tragic exploration of both Western medicine and the ethics of cultural sensitivity.

What’s on your nightstand? Have any book recommendations for me for 2013?


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You can find Kristen Howerton  blogging at Rage Against the Minivan, or avoiding housework over at Facebook or Twitter. Other posts you might enjoy:



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