books of 2012: from biographies to beach trash

It is once again that time of year to look back and remember what I have read. Every year there are a few questions about how I categorize books. Undoubtedly, that leads me to categorize a bit differently the following year. In case you think that I don’t love beach trash, I do. It is a wonderful class of literature – that which I will take to a beach. I also call it ‘alternate television.’ That being said, I would not characterize it as ‘good literature.’ I hope that you find something in this list that urges you to pick up a new book. What have been your favorite reads of the year? Any recommendations for me?

A link is provided to each book – both the paper and kindle versions (when available) – on Amazon. If any of these books sound interesting, purchase using these links and you will be supporting this website. Thanks!


Top Picks of 2012: 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows In Paper For Kindle

I love this book. My mom recommended it to me a while back, but the name turned me off and I did not read it until two years later. Do not let this happen to you. It is a book written in letters. Renee sent it to me for my birthday, and in the following month it was read by at least six other people. (Take a minute to check out Renee’s 2012 book list.) It is a quick read and will leave you wishing there was more. Here is the thing: I have not yet met a man who has read it. Please, please, if you are a man and you read this book, please let me know your thoughts so that I can know if I should recommend for me as well.

The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection by Robert Farrar Capon In Paper For Kindle

This is another book that I adore. I love food, faith, and community. Originally published in 1969, I found that the book to be as true and as applicable today as I imagine it to be then. Beyond recipes, these are thoughts on life that ring true to my soul. Again and again, I was filed with wanting to share these thoughts with others. Here is just one paragraph for you to enjoy:

You indict me, no doubt, as an incurable romantic. I plead guilty without contest. I see no other explanation of what we are about. Why do we marry, why take friend and lovers, why give ourselves to music, painting, chemistry, or cooking? Out of simple delight in the resident goodness of creation, of course; but out of more than that, too. Half of earth’s gorgeousness lies hidden in the glimpsed city it longs to become. For all its rooted loveliness, the world has no continuing city here; it is an outlandish place, a foreign home, a session in via to a better version of itself–and it is our glory to see it so and thirst until Jerusalem comes home at last. We were given appetite, not to consume the world and forget it, but to taste its goodness and hunger to make it great. 


Recommended Reads: 

The Hunger Games  by Suzanne Collins (I read the trilogy over two weeks of travel, mostly in rural Africa. Wonderful young adult literature that should be read as one book rather than three. Living in places of genocide and war made parts of this ring particularly true.) In Paper For Kindle

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, Book 2) by Suzanne Collins In Paper For Kindle

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, Book 3) by Suzanne Collins In Paper For Kindle

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (My friend loved it, my dad hated it, I gave it a try. I found myself reading late into the night frustrated that I was loosing sleep but wishing I could stay up all night.)In Paper For Kindle

Angry Conversations with God: A Snarky but Authentic Spiritual Memoir by Susan E Issacs (It made me smile. I love the honesty.)In Paper For Kindle

Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott (Wow. Hard life, real faith.) In Paper For Kindle

Trusting in His Goodness by Marilyn Wilson and Shelly Cook Volkhardt (This is a book primarily written for women on God’s goodness. It is filled with much truth. Mimi is a dear friend and it is wonderful to read thoughts I have heard her speak.) In Paper For Kindle

Through the Veil  by Lisa Ohlen Harris (Great memoir of places I love. Of course, I am biased as I know Lisa and the book tells of places I know.) In Paper For Kindle

A Swiftly Tilting Planet (part of the Time Quintet) by Madeline L’Engle In Paper For Kindle

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (I liked this book, but did not adored, so was torn as to where it should go.) In Paper


Recommended Beach Trash:

Getting Stoned with the Savages: A trip through Fiji and Vanuata  by J. Marteen Troost (I laughed my way through this book while traveling the backroads of Uganda and remembering my childhood in Fiji.) In Paper For Kindle

The Partner by John Grisham (A good Grisham. Did not know there were bad ones until this year – please avoid those listed in the ‘not endorsed’ category.) In Paper In Paper

The Race by Clive Cussler In Paper For Kindle

Certain Women by Madeleine L’Engle In Paper

The Girls  by Lori Lansesns In Paper For Kindle


Business and Development:

Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn (Awesome. It is about the situation of women around the world. If you do not know much about women’s rights around the world, please take a moment to learn. This is not perfect or cohesive, but it is good and worth a read.) In Paper For Kindle

African Friends and Money Matters by David Maranz (If you live and work in Africa, read this book. If you don’t, probably not necessary.) In Paper

Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond (This is the most ‘academic’ book on this year’s list. It is a good one that looks at the differences societies and regions. I truly appreciate the thoughts and perspectives.) In Paper For Kindle

Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions by Guy Kawasaki In Paper For Kindle

The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extroverted World by Marti Olsen Laney (If you are an introvert and have not read about being an introvert in the working world, this is a good read.) In Paper For Kindle

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t by Jim Collins In Paper For Kindle


Not Endorsed:

The Innocent Man by John Grisham

Theodore Boone  by John Grisham

The Tehran Initiative by Joel C Rosenberg

One Day  by David Nicholls


In Case You Missed These Posts: 

books of 2011: biographies to beach trash

books of 2010


3 Replies to “books of 2012: from biographies to beach trash”

  1. Love this!
    I also read the Potato Peel Society and loved it. Made me want to go holiday in a small English cottage.
    This year I read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. I was skeptical since it’s written for middle school boys and about Greek mythology which has never been a big interest. I loved it! It’s a definite recommended read, along with its follow up series, Heros of Olympus. Quick easy reads, but fun, adventurous and really funny.
    I’m working up the courage to start Pillars of the Earth, the size is surely daunting!

  2. Thanks for posting this – I always love getting books recommendations off your lists. In fact, I just started Water for Elephants from your 2011 recommendations.

  3. So glad you like these recommendations! Loved that book. I have a new book that I think your girls might enjoy. Will send an email soon about it.

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