Where Logic Meets Love

2012 Reading Wrap-Up

Friday, December 28, 2012

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2012 Reading Wrap-Up | Faith Permeating Life

It's almost the end of 2012, which means it's time for some end-of-year wrap-up posts!

I am taking the idea for today's post from Emily at Love Woke Me Up This Morning, who shared a list of questions related to books. Since people seem to like my book recommendations, I thought this would be a good thing to share. You can answer the questions yourself in comments here or write your own post and share the link over on Emily's blog!

1) How many books did you read this year?
I don't remember if I've mentioned it before, but I have a journal where I keep a record of all the books I read. I've been doing it since 2006, and it's a fun way to keep track of what I've read (and also a good way to jog my memory for 3BoT posts!). Anyway, since January 1st of this year I've read 39 books, which is kind of low for me. I like to aim for 52, or a book a week. I'm almost done with the book I'm reading now, so it should end up being a round 40 for the year.

2) Which book surprised you the most?
Probably Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat by Hal Herzog. I picked up this book at the library only because my brother texted me a picture of the cover with some message like "Haha rats" because we had our pet rats at the time and the book had a picture of a rat for the "Some We Hate" animal. The writing was a little choppy, but surprisingly it was a very interesting book and I've found myself referencing it more than once in conversations about animals and ethics.

3) Which book were you the most disappointed in?
Both The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson and The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing by M.T. Anderson came highly, highly recommended, and I thought both of them were kind of "meh." To give you an idea -- I listened to The Devil in the White City on audiobook during my runs, and it somehow accidentally skipped two entire hours in the middle of the book. I didn't notice until I finished the book and saw that the files in my iTunes had never been listened to. Whoops.

4) Did you start any new book series?
Actually, no, I didn't read any series this year. Unless Neil Gaiman ever writes a sequel to Neverwhere, which is apparently a possibility. But I probably wouldn't read it if he did because I would have forgotten the entire plot of the first book by then.

5) Did you wrap up any series?
Nope. I tend to read series after they're already all out and I can read through the whole thing. This has the dual benefit of 1) getting immediate gratification of cliffhangers and 2) being less disappointed if the books after the first one suck, since I wasn't waiting in anticipation for an entire year.

6) Which book had your favorite cover?
I'm gonna go with Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (the Bloggess), which has on the cover a picture of a stuffed mouse dressed up like a Shakespearean actor -- see picture above. This is just one of several taxidermied animals that Jenny actually owns, all of which are costumed in some way, and I find it hilarious/awesome that they used a photograph of her actual dead mouse for the cover.

7) What books are you looking forward to in 2013?
I have no idea what's coming out in 2013. I'm usually several years behind on reading books because I get them from the library a long time after they're popular because I'm cheap like that. But I know Dianna E. Anderson is working on a book that will be out at some unspecified time in the future, and I sure as heck want to read that!

8) Do you have any (book-related) goals for 2013?
I'd like to get back up to reading 52 books a year. Keeping up a regular running schedule should help with this since I can get through audiobooks pretty quickly if I listen to them while I run. I also bought a Kindle this year so I take that in my work bag and can read on the bus. I got a bunch of iTunes and Amazon gift cards for my birthday and Christmas, so I guess one of my other goals is to actually buy books so I can read more books the same year they come out!

9) Any other books that deserve a shout out?
Let's Pretend This Never Happened, besides having an awesome cover, was hilarious. Look for a recommendation in an upcoming 3BoT post. I also enjoyed Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert, which I've referenced several times on this blog, and The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan.

10) What are you currently reading?
I'm almost done with The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins. I figured it would be good to read since I just started this new job. It's semi-relevant to me, but aimed more at managers. Then I just (on Emily's recommendation, and in accordance with my above resolution to spend my gift cards on books) bought and downloaded the audiobook for The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

11) What are your top 3 books for 2012?
This is way too hard to pick, so I'm going to split it by fiction and non-fiction.

Top 3 fiction:
  1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  2. The Time-Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  3. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Offenbaugh
Top 3 non-fiction:
  1. Torn by Justin Lee
  2. The Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans
  3. The Blue Parakeet by Scot McKnight
I loved Torn so much that I'm planning to do a very special giveaway to try to get more people reading and talking about it. So look out for that in the new year!

Share your answers in comments, or at least tell us what the best books you read this year were!

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for writing a fun wrap-up! As to your final picks, I also loved The Fault in Our Stars (though I have really complex feelings about that book; I'll write about it one day....) I adored Torn and Rachel Held Evans's books. And now I'm realizing that yet another year has passed in which I have read zero Scot McKnight, and I really need to fix that. 2013 WILL be the year for The Blue Parakeet (and Junia Is Not Alone, both have been hanging out on my TBR list for too long).

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    1. I loved The Blue Parakeet because it took how I felt about reading the Bible and laid it out in clear language. Like, "Yes, it makes sense to read the Bible in its historical context, but here's what that actually means, what it looks like in practice, and how it makes the Bible make that much more sense."

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  2. Yay! You have such great taste in books. A Year of Biblical Womanhood is definitely on my list of non-fiction books to read in 2013. I'm really excited! And I think 52 is a good goal. I'll be rooting for you!

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    1. Thanks! I think that, ironically, one of the reasons my book count was lower than usual was because I was unemployed for several months, even though I always say that I'd read more if I had more free time. During that time I felt like I had to "DO ALL THE THINGS!" whereas now I've got two hours on a bus 5 days a week where I basically do nothing but listen to podcasts or read books. (Assuming I keep my job through all of 2013, we'll see if that theory pans out!)

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    2. I completely understand! When I have an abundance of free time I tend to read less because I want to get other things done. But then when I'm busy I read even more. lol

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  3. Okay, I'll bite! Here are my 3 vorite reads from this year:

    1. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. This is a Western, and I've never really been into Westerns, but trust me, this deserves its Pulitzer Prize. The characters are incredibly real and funny and frustrating, and even though this is quite a long book, it's a total page-turner, because you just have to find out what happens to them. McMurtry is also one of the best male writers of female characters I've ever encountered. Plus, there are some great deeper thoughts here on the real consequences of "civilizing" the West.

    2. The Journal of Best Practices by David Finch. This is my top recommendation for you specifically, because it's the memoir of someone working to improve their marriage. It's from an unusual perspective, though: the author was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome several years into his marriage, so basically a lot of the emotional stuff that is second nature to most people was completely foreign to him and had to be consciously learned. However, in any relationship I think it's easy to forget those little things, and I definitely felt like this book helped me cherish my partner more. The author's ability to keep his humility and humor as he learns is very touching and inspiring.

    3 The Jesus I Never Knew by Phillip Yancey. I read half of this in the bookstore before I bought it because once I started reading, I just couldn't stop. Yancey's fresh, lively writing and thorough research helped me fall in love with Jesus all over again. Amazing.

    I also picked up The Blue Parakeet this weekend and found it really thought-provoking! Thanks for the rec! Have you tried his other stuff, like The Jesus Creed? That was another amazing read of this year...

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    1. Sweet, thanks for the recommendations! I have a copy of The Jesus I Never Knew and read it as part of a Bible study in high school, but I haven't re-read it since then. I remember liking it, but don't remember anything from it, so maybe it's time to pick it up again!

      Getting The Journal of Best Practices for my Kindle now. Thanks!

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