Well, I did it! I actually did! I read 97 books in 2010, and 98 books in 2011. This year, I was determined to read at least 100 books. I am excited to share my final book total for the year and say that I actually read…122 books in 2012!
I will be honest and say that I didn’t finish reading all of the books that were on my list. I did read lots that weren’t on my list! I was pleased to see that one fifth of the books I read this year were non-fiction. As a passionate fiction reader, I was determined to branch out this year. I still want to read more non-fiction (including biographies) but this was a good start.
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I read so many good / interesting / thought-provoking / emotional books this year, but there isn’t space to share them all. Instead, I’ll share some of my favorites with you – including at least one from each of my self-imposed reading categories.
In the area of teaching books, my favorite one was The End of Molasses Classes by Ron Clark. I will be the first to admit that I don’t have the endless energy that Ron requires of the teachers at his academy, but there were lots of good principles in here for teachers of all ages. Since it includes 101 principles, it was easy to sit down and read a section or two at a time.
My favorite couponing / frugal / money saving book that I read was All in Good Time by Tara Kuczykowski and Mandi Ehman. The subtitle of the book is When to Save, Stock Up, and Schedule Everything for Your Home. When the title says everything, it really means everything!
In the area of productivity / organizing, my favorite read was The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It was an interesting concept. Gretchen took a year to focus on what truly made her happy. She got organized, spent more time with her family, and learned that “The days are long, but the years are short.” This book documented her journey to living more happily.
I also wanted to read more classics this year. Without a doubt, my favorite was Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. It was a long read, but well worth it. I did discover that the musical adaptation follows the book much more closely than I anticipated. Having the musical on screen adaptation to look forward to was good motivation to finish the book!
I don’t know how to choose my favorite non-fiction book. While I wouldn’t say this genre is my first choice, I read several really good non-fiction books this year. Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis and The Color of Rain by Michael & Gina Spehn were both excellent. I also really enjoyed Adam: God’s Beloved by Henri Nouwen as well as Miracle for Jen by Linda Barrick.
One of the most intriguing ones was 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. Jen decided to pair down her life in 7 areas – and live with only 7 things for a month. The areas she focused on were food, clothes, spending, media, possessions, waste and stress. This book really made me think about what I how I want to simplify my life.
Finally, let’s move on to the fiction books I read. Oh, there were so many good ones! For historical / adolescent lit fiction, I have to recommend The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It is the emotionally charged story of how a book impacts a girl during World War II. This is written as an adolescent book, but it is worth a read for all. It is dark and you will cry, only because it is so powerful. Oh – runner up in this adolescent lit category is the entire Hunger Games trilogy. I read all three books in under two days. I couldn’t put them down.
I read some great new fiction books from Bethany House, thanks to the reviews I regularly get to write. Some of my favorites from those were The Fiddler by Beverly Lewis and Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden.
I also read several dozen books on my Kindle. I’ve been amazed at the high-quality of literature one can get for free. One of my favorite books on Kindle was recommended to me by my sister-in-law. Chop, Chop by L.N. Cronk. This book is not what you expect. I’m not going to give away much except to say that it was very good. I laughed and I cried. I’m ready to finish the rest of the series! This book is still available for free download on Kindle so I’ll let you read it for yourself.
My favorite fiction book of the year was, without a doubt, The Guernsey Literacy and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. This is the story of the Guernsey islands when they were occupied during WWII. Not only is this little known history fascinating, but the book is written as a series of letters from the characters in the book. I listened to the audio of this book, and hearing the British accents made this book even more enjoyable – if possible. If you haven’t read this book, please do!
Well, dear friends. There you have it. Those are the highlights of what I read this year. Have you read any of these? Or are you planning to read them now? Do you have any book recommendations for me, based on what you read this year? Stay tuned tomorrow for my reading plan for the upcoming year!