Top Books of 2012

I enjoyed compiling my list of books read this year and remembering some I had forgotten.

This has definitely been the year of the audiobook for me. I mentioned in my thoughts on audiobooks that generally I still prefer paper books, but audiobooks have greatly enriched my life this year. I generally listen to them while driving or getting dressed and ready for the day, sometimes while cooking, but there have been a few that I have carried around with me because I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.

I’ve also read more ebooks this year than before. I enjoy getting free or very inexpensive ones but sometimes have to remind myself that they’re there in my Touchpad or iPhone.

Before I get to my top ten, here are the tops in some categories:

Most humorous: The Big 5-Oh! by Sandra Bricker, reviewed briefly here.

Most balanced and helpful: The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges.

Best suspense: Full Disclosure by Dee Henderson, reviewed here.

Most philosophical: C. S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy: reviewed here.

Coziest: Tie between At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon, reviewed here, and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, reviewed here.

Best narrated audiobook: Tie between Roots, narrated by Avery Brooks, reviewed here, various narrators for The Help, reviewed here, and The Hobbit narrated by Rob Inglis, here.

Would’ve made top ten if not for some concerns: The Help by Kathryn Stockett, reviewed here (language issues), and When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin, reviewed here (character issue).

It has been hard to come up with a top ten, but here are the standout reads for me this year, in no particular order. Some are new, some are older classics I’ve reread; some fiction, some nonfiction:

Infinitely More by Alex Krutov, true story about an abandoned orphan in Russia whom God brought to Himself, reviewed here.

Not By Chance: Learning to Trust a Sovereign God by Layton Talbert, reviewed here.

Full Disclosure by Dee Henderson, reviewed here. Suspense novel about a cold case in which new evidence suddenly comes to light.

Wildflowers of Terezin by Robert Elmer, reviewed here. WWII story set in Denmark, based on true events. A Lutheran pastor thinks the best way to survive the Nazi invasion is to lay low, until he is confronted by the reality of human suffering and must get involved.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand, reviewed here.

Wives and Daughters  by Elizabeth Gaskell, reviewed here.

Anne’s House of Dreams by L. M. Montgomery, reviewed here. Next to the very first book in the series, this is my favorite Anne book, covering her first few years of marriage.

At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon, reviewed here. First of the beloved Father Tim books.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, reviewed here.

Roots by Alex Haley, reviewed here.

What are your top ten books read in 2012?

(This list will also be linked to Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books, where she’s allowing us to post what we’ve read this year, and Booking Through Thursday .)

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7 thoughts on “Top Books of 2012

  1. I still have to read the Talbert book I won here! I’m even more inspired since it made your top ten!

    I wish I could work audiobooks into my days more.

  2. I need to take advantage of more of my audio books, I think I have close to twenty I haven’t listened to. They are collecting dust on my bookshelf. Maybe I should make listening to my audio books a goal for me this year.

  3. Trying to pick favorite books is like trying to pick a favorite child sometimes. I have adored discovering Julie Klassen’s books this year and can’t recommend them highly enough. My friend, Beatriz Williams wrote an epic love story called “Overseas” that I especially enjoyed because I could hear her voice in her writing. One of my favorite periods of history is the wars of the roses and I finally read Anne Easter Smith’s beautifully written “A Rose for the Crown” which brilliantly weaves reality and fiction. It’s been a great year for books!

  4. Wildflowers made it on your top ten list, hmm? I keep finding more reasons to read it.

    I am thinking more about audiobooks t hese days. (What does that sentence mean, really?) I’m just…thinking that I’d like to try incorporating audiobooks into my daily life. I’m starting to think I might be able to concentrate on them and would really enjoy them. We shall see.

    • I enjoyed your catch-up commenting!

      For me, audiobooks really depend on both the book and what I am doing as to how well I can pay attention to them. I don’t think I could listen to an instructional non-fiction and get nearly as much as I would have by reading it — I tend to mark and reread passages in those — and still struggle to remember what I have read. But nonfiction in story or narrative form (like Unbroken) or a biography is ok. Most fiction I’ve found to be ok except Lewis’s Space Trilogy, because he says so much that is really important in them that it just flies by without my being able to assimilate it.

      Most of the books I have listened to have been really good: the few that were boring presented a disadvantage — you couldn’t just skim ahead to a more interesting section because you didn’t know when it was coming.

      Since my driving time has expanded since we moved here, audiobooks have helped tremendously. I used to chafe at a 20-minute one-way drive to my m-i-l’s place a few times a week; now I enjoy it. Then gradually I also began listening to them while dressing, fixing hair, etc., and sometimes while cooking. Formerly I had music on at those times and sometimes still do. But I am also alone at all those times (though often my youngest son is home then, he’s usually in his room): if I had little ones needing my attention that would be a different story. It would likely be harder to find time to listen then.

  5. Pingback: Saturday Review of Books: December 29, 2012 | Semicolon

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