My Best Books of 2012

Posted by on January 5, 2013 in women | 11 comments

Recently my mom started sending out a top ten list of books she read during the year with the family Christmas letter. I thought that was a fun idea, so I thought I’d share some books I read this year and enjoyed.

Non-fiction:
At Home by Bill Bryson. A history of some of how the rooms and objects in our home came to be.

Book of Mormon Girl by Joanna Brooks. Joanna Brooks’ story of growing up Mormon and becoming a Mormon feminist.

Mormon Diaries by Sophia L. Stone. A biography of leaving Mormonism.

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong. Steps to becoming a kinder, more compassionate person to those around you and to yourself.

Towards a True Kinship of Faiths by the Dalai Lama. A look at the similar core values in the religions of the world, and how those values can help bring peace and understanding to the world.

For Her Own Good : 150 Years of the Experts’ Advice to Women by Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English. A look at the health and family advice given to women over the years… most of it terrifying.

The Case for God by Karen Armstrong. A look at the history and theology of God.

Fiction:
The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey. A spin on Cinderella where the reward is becoming a fairy godmother, not a prince.

Mother Wove the Morning by Carol Lynn Pearson. A play about Heavenly Mother that left me sobbing for hours.

What have you read and loved this year? Books, articles, whatever!

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11 Comments

  1. I pretty much read two categories of books: history and mindless fluff. I virtually never read popular histories, in part because I find the lack of citations annoying and then I do so much of that for my own work that I don’t find it a very enjoyable leisure activity.

    Interesting history:
    Regulating menstruation: beliefs, practices, interpretations by Etienne Van de Walle and Elisha P. Renne
    Impotence: a cultural history by Angus McLaren

    Mindless Fluff:
    Edenbrooke: a proper romance by Julie Donaldson. It is ahistorical and maudlin and I loved it. I can admit it.
    Agatha Christie — still loving my goreless mysteries.

    Poetry:
    Sailing alone around the room, by Billy Collins
    Not much fun: the lost poems of Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker

    That’s what I’ve been reading of late. Lots of fluff, lots of gender history and a little poetry over breakfast and before bed.

  2. Poetry is wonderful. I love poetry. :-)

  3. Thank you for these suggestions! I’m going to put a bunch of these on my wishlist at Amazon.

    I haven’t done much fun reading this past year, since I’m usually so overwhelmed by reading for my classes. But I think at one point I did reread one of my favorite historical fiction books — Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati. I just love love loved it. Great characters, great romance, interesting villains, etc.

    • Trying to read for fun when you are in school is hard. And when we were in California, you gave me some great suggestions for feminist theology. :)

  4. What a great idea! I’m in need of some new reading materials.

    I don’t think I have 10 worth mentioning, but here are the ones that are:
    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Sklott (science, poverty, and I swear, a little magical realism thrown in–loved this non-fiction)
    Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross (a historical imagining of a rumored female pope in roam–so awesome)
    The Place of Knowing by Emma Lou Thayne (her autobiography–I cried in more parts than I’d like to publicly admit while reading this)

  5. I read and loved the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks too! And of course, I enjoyed Book of Mormon Girl. I read a lot this year, because I read when I am nursing a baby. Here are some others I would recommend:

    Bossy Pants by Tina Fey
    The Audacity of Hope by Barak Obama
    Mormon Sisters by Claudia Bushman
    Sisters: The Lives of America’s Suffragists by Jean H. Baker

    • I loved Bossy Pants! Tina Fey is awesome.

  6. Great idea. Great post.

    I try to read a lot, but this last year has been almost entirely overwhelmed by school reading. Of those, three of the best were:

    1. Kathleen Flake’s book on the Reid Smoot hearings.
    2. John Turner’s new biography on Brigham Young (Pioneer Prophet).
    3. The co-authored book on Emma Smith (Enigma).

    Two of the best philosophy books I read were both by John Caputo:

    1. Philosophy and Theology.
    2. What Would Jesus Deconstruct?

    I can’t remember the last book I read just for fun… but Joanna Brooks’ memoir and/or Claudia Bushman’s edited book about early pioneer women might count…

  7. I love Bill Bryson – I’ll have to put At Home book on my to-read list. I love sciency non-fiction, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was great. I’m reading The Alchemy of Air at the moment and it’s fascinating.

    For fiction – this year I finally read something by Richard Powers – The Time of Our Singing. I was blown away. He is a genius.

    Also I finally read Middlemarch and One Hundred Years of Solitude – both are wonderful (speaking of magical realism).

    I really, really enjoyed Jana Reiss’s Flunking Sainthood, and I’m hesitant to admit this but I didn’t love Book of Mormon Girl as much as I thought I would.

    Oh, I love books! I wish I could read them all!!!

  8. My favorite this year: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.

    My other favorites I have posted here: http://www.gerberadaisydiaries.com/

    Started off 2013 with Where’d You Go Bernadetter by Maria Semple — HIGHLY recommended!!

  9. I love book recommendations! I posted my top ten for 2012 here: http://lacymaybe.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/2012-favorites/

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