Books Read in 2012

Another year has gone by and so here is another brief report on the books I read last year. 
With my discovery of audiobooks the grand total really jumped up.  And I sure read a lot of young adult/children's books this year, too.  They are usually just so darn compelling from page one that I devour them.  Or so sweet that I cannot resist taking the time to read them.

The best print adult book I read was probably Drop Dead Healthy:  One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection by A.J. Jacobs or Montana in Maps.  I think that A.J. Jacobs is quite hilarious and I enjoy his life-as-an-experiment attitude.  This book is such a wonderful look at how much health advice there is out there and how worrying too much about being healthy is actually un-healthy.  Montana in Maps taught me a lot about my state, even if was a bit dated, and had super interesting maps and charts.  I also can't say enough good about Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology.  It was so inspiringAnd while we're on the subject of non-fiction I'd also add that the topic of post-mortum photography and its historical significance were among the most intriguing and new-to-me subjects which I read on rather extensively last year. 

The best print YA/Children's book I read was The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss.  As a child I never read this one, but I was very impressed by it as an adult.  I also read the entirety of The Giver series by Lowis Lowry and thought it was pretty darn great--book one and four particularly.

The best audiobook, which includes both adult and YA books, was probably Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.  I have a special liking for dystopian novels and this one with all its book burning was particularly resonant with my little Librarian soul.  I also was absolutely swept away with the heart-wrenching drama and beautiful language of O Pioneers! by Willa Cather.  I'd never read anything by her before, but she is on my to-read list in 2013.   I'm also inclined to mention Watership Down by Richard Adams which I'd read as a girl and found just as good as I remembered.  As far as non-fiction goes I'd recommend Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach which was a simply fascinating look at something I knew virtually nothing about.  My Dad suggest it to me, I think.

My least favorites were Cowboy Slang by Edgar R. Potter & Ron Scofield and  The Heritage of Lancaster County trilogy by Beverly Lewis which, though I usually enjoy the simple, somewhat predictable, happy-in-the-end Amish themed fiction, I found silly, dull, and quite unbelievable. 

 The totals are:
53 Adult Books  (22%)
127 YA/Children's Books (52.7%)
61 Audiobooks (25.3 %)
241 Total

Books Read in 2012 (Yes, I count children's books!) *indicates an audiobook

  • Confessions of an Economic Hitman (John Perkins)*
  • Son (Lowis Lowry)
  • Fever 1793 (Laurie Halse Anderson)*
  • The Friendly Beasts (Tomie dePaola)
  • The Boy Who Ran Away (Irene Elmer & Sally Mathews)
  • If Not For The Cat (Jack Prelutsky & Ted Rand)
  • Mary's Story (M.M. Brem & Sally Mathews)
  • Peace (Lois Kaufman & Barbara Paulding)
  • Frog Went A-Courtin' (John Langstaff & Feodor Rojankovsky)
  • You're Invited: A Phonics Practice Reader
  • The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein)
  • Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology (Eric Brende)
  • Crossed (Ally Condie)*
  • Creative Drawing: Point and Line (Ernst Rottger & Dieter Klante)
  • Being a Christian (John R. W. Stott)
  • Matched (Ally Condie)*
  • The Spirituality of Wine (Tom Harpur)
  • Love Thyself: The Message from Water III (Masaru Emoto)
  • Creating Moments of Joy: For the Person With Alzheimer's or Dementia (Jolene Brackey)
  • America Dances: Historical Photographs From the Library of Congress (Anjelina Keating)
  • The Call of the Wild (Jack London)*
  • Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough: A Guide to Nine Biblical Fasts (Elmore Towns)*
  • White Fang (Jack London)*
  • The Summer of the Monekeys (Wilson Rawls)
  • Round About: The Alice and Jerry Books (Mabel O'Donnell, Alice Carety, Florence Hoopes, & Margaret Hoopes)
  • Cancel My Subscription: The Worst of NPR (Moe Moskowitz & the Punsters)*
  • I Shall Not Be Moved (Maya Angelou)
  • Sarah (Orson Scott Card)*
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs)
  • Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions (Margaret Musgrove, Leo Dillon, & Diane Dillon)
  • The Twits (Roald Dahl & Quentin Blake)
  • Ann Frank Remembered: The Story of the Woman Who Helped Hide the Frank Family (Miep Gies & Alison Leslie Gold)*
  • The Body Beautiful: Common Sense Ideas on Health and Beauty Without Medicine (Nannette Magruder Pratt)*
  • Pics and Quotes of Yellowstone (Bill & Doris Whithorn)
  • Messages from Water: Volume 2 (Masaru Emoto)
  • Snowflake Bentley (Jacqueline Briggs Martin & Mary Azarian)
  • Always Room for One More (Sorche Nic Leodhas & Nonny Hogrogian)
  • Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave (Laban Carrick Hill & Bryan Collier)
  • Pancakes, Pancakes! (Eric Carle)
  • Mahjong All Day Long (Ginnie Lo & Beth Lo)
  • The Tiny Seed (Eric Carle)
  • More Than Anything Else (Marie Bradby & Chris K. Soentpiet)
  • Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak)
  • The Library Policeman: Three Past Midnight (Stephen King)*
  • Jeanette Rankin: Bright Star in the Big Sky (Mary Barmeyer O'Brien)
  • Aaron's Hair (Robert Munsch, Alan Daniel, and Lea Daniel)
  • The Hidden Messages in Water (Masaru Emoto)
  • The Witches (Roald Dahl)
  • All The World (Liz Garton Scanlon & Marla Frazee)
  • Battle Royale (Koushun Takami)
  • O Pioneers! (Willa Cather)*
  • Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed The World (Laurie Lawlor & Laura Bringessner)
  • Olivia (Ian Falconer)
  • My Creation Bible (Ken Ham & Jonathan Taylor)
  • The Story of Ruby Bridges (Robert Coles & George Ford)
  • Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women (Maya Angelou)
  • Girls to the Rescue: The Royal Joust (Bruce Lansky)
  • Fun Facts About Pets (Seymour Simon)
  • Farmer Duck (Martin Waddell & Helen Oxenbury)
  • Sunshine (Jan Ormerod)
  • Sheila Rae, The Brave (Kevin Henkes)
  • Don't Forget to Write (Martina Selway)
  • Free Fall (David Wiesner)
  • Books are for Eating (Sheey Walton & Nadine Bernard Westcott)
  • Lives of Musicians: Good Times, Bad Times (and What the Neighbors Thought) (Kathleen Krull)*
  • Atomic Postcards: Radioactive Messages from the Cold War (John O'Brian & Jeremy Borsos)
  • The Story of My Life (Helen Keller)*
  • Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection (A.J. Jacobs)
  • The Reason for the Pelican (John Ciardi & Madeleine Gekiere)
  • Salt Boy (Mary Perrine & Leonard Weisgard)
  • Aesop's Fables (Beverley Naidoo & Piet Grobler)
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Peatrix Potter)
  • The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses (Paul Goble)
  • Interrupting Chicken (David Ezra Stein)
  • The Three Little Aliens and the Big, Bad Robot (Margaret McNamara & Mark Fearing)
  • Fish for Supper (M.B. Goffstein)
  • At Night (Jonathan Bean)
  • Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (Mo Willems)
  • The House in the Night (Susan Marie Swanson & Beth Krommes)
  • The Amazing Bone (William Steig)
  • The Man (Jack Jasper & Rick Newby)
  • Animals Charles Darwin Saw: An Around-the-World Adventure (Sandra Markle & Zina Saunders)
  • Montana in Maps (Nicholas Helburn, M.J. Edie, & Gordon Lightfoot)
  • The Seed That Peacock Planted (Juliet Kepes)
  • I Know Here (Laurel Croza & Matt James)
  • Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale (Mo Willems)
  • I Like Me (Nancy Carlson)
  • Woody's 20 Grow Big Songs (Woodie Guthrie & Marjorie Mazia Guthrie)
  • Lon Po Po: A Red Riding Hood Story from China (Ed Young)
  • A Tree is Nice (Janice May Udry & Marc Simont)
  • Germs! An Epic Tale on a Tiny Scale (Martin Howard & Colin Stimpson)
  • Raising with the Moon: The Complete Guide to Gardening and Living by the Signs of the Moon (Jack R. Pyle & Taylor Reese)
  • Messenger (Lois Lowry)*
  • Guardians of Being (Eckhart Tolle & Patrick McDonnell)
  • The Other Side of the World (Laura Bannon)
  • Angels in the Vineyards (Jessel Miller)
  • The Rooster Grows: A Book of American Rhymes and Jingles (Maud & Miska Petersham)
  • Gathering Blue (Lowis Lowry)*
  • The Tall Book of Mother Goose (Feodor Rojankovsky, ill.)
  • Whale Snow (Debby Dahl Edwardson & Annie Patterson)
  • The Funny Little Woman (Arlene Mosel & Blair Lent)
  • Little Bird (Germano Zullo & Albertine)
  • The Boy in the Suitcase (Lene Kaaberbol & Agnete Friis)*
  • Junichi: A Boy of Japan (G. Warren Schloat, Jr.)
  • We the People: September 11 (Mary Englar)
  • To Everything There is a Season (Jude Daly)
  • Father, We Thank Thee: Simple and Beautiful Prayers for Young Children (Arthur Wortman & Sue Tague)
  • Prayer for a Child (Rachel Field & Elizabeth Orton Jonse)
  • The Far Side Observer (Gary Larson)
  • Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom (Carole Boston Weatherford & Kadir Nelson)
  • The Range Eternal (Louise Erdrich, Steve Johnson, & Lou Fancher)
  • Press Here (Herve Tullet)
  • The Clear Light of Day: A Novel (Penelope Wilcock)
  • The Story of Beautiful Girl (Rachel Simon)*
  • The Dust Bowl Through the Lens: How Photography Revealed and Helped Remedy a National Disaster (Martin W. Sandler)
  • Wife No. 19, or The Story of A Life in Bondage, Being a Complete Expose' of Mormonism and Revealing the Sorrows, Sacrifices and Sufferings of Women in Polygamy (Ann Eliza Young)
  • Goonight Moon (Margaret Wise Brown & Clement Hurd)
  • The Langoliers: One Past Midnight (Stephen King)*
  • Goodnight Bush: A Parody (Erich Origen & Gan Golan)
  • Listen to the Wind: The Story of Dr. Greg and the Three Cups of Tea (Greg Mortenson & Susan L. Roth)
  • Nasreen's Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan (Jeanette Winter)
  • Going Along the Emigrant Trails (Barbara Fifer)
  • Loons: Diving Birds of the North (Donna Love & Joyce Mihran Turley)
  • Are You There God? Its Me, Margaret. (Judy Blume)*
  • The Cookie Thief: A Semi Sweet Taile About a Crime We Too Often Commit (Kirk Weisler)
  • The Worst Hard Time : The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl (Timothy Egan)*
  • Early Medical Photography in America: 1839-1883 (Stanley B. Burns, MD)
  • Sleeping Beauty II: Grief, Bereavement and the Family in Memorial Photograophy - American and European Traditions (Stanley B. Burns, MD, & Elizabeth Burns)
  • Can We Save the Tiger? (Martin Jenkins & Vicky White)
  • Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (Mary Roach)*
  • Edward Weston's Book of Nudes (Brett Abbott, ed.)
  • The Giver (Lois Lowry)
  • Secrets of the Garden: Food Chains and the Food Web in Our Backyard (Kathleen Weidner Zoehfel & Priscilla Lamon)
  • Think No Evil: Inside the Story of the Amish Schoolhouse Shooting...and Beyond (Jonas Beiler & Shawn Smucker)*
  • When She Woke (Hillary Jordan)*
  • Six By Seuss: A Treasury of Dr. Seuss Classics (Dr. Seuss)
  • Caleb's Story (Patricia MacLachlan)*
  • Masterpieces of Medical Photography: Selections from the Burns Archives (Joel-Peter Witkin, ed.)
  • Skylark (Patricia MacLachlan)*
  • 1984 (George Orwell)
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall (Patricia MacLachlan)
  • Sleeping Beauty III Memorial Photography: The Children (Stanley B, Burns, MD)
  • The 19th Wife (David Ebershoff)*
  • Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl (Anne Frank)
  • Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back (Todd Burpo & Lynn Vincent)
  • The Family of Man (Edward Steichen)
  • Sleeping Beauty: Memorial Photography in Amerca (Stanley B Burns, MD)
  • Lily's Wedding Quilt (Kelly Long)*
  • Thidwick The Big Hearted Moose (Dr. Seuss)
  • A Little Bitty Man and Other Poems for the Very Young (Halfdan Rasmussen & Kevin Hawkes)
  • Six Crows (Leo Lionni)
  • An Extraordinary Egg (Leo Lionni)
  • A Busy Year (Leo Lionni)
  • Song of the Wild Violets (Peggy Thompson)
  • The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (Sam McBratney & Ivan Bates)
  • Bless This Mouse (Lois Lowry)*
  • Under the Banner of Heaven (Jon Krakauer)*
  • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (Dr. Seuss)
  • Sarah's Garden (Kelly Long)*
  • Anne Frank Beyond the Diary: A Photographic Remembrance (Ruud van der Rol & Rian Verhoeven)
  • Food Rules: An Eater's Manual (Michael Pollan)
  • Night: A New Translation by Marion Wiesel (Elie Wiesel)
  • Living Well With Autoimmune Disease: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You...That You Need to Know (Mary J. Shomon)
  • Anne Frank: The Authorized Graphic Biography (Sid Jacobson & Ernie Colon)
  • Oh, The Places You'll Go! (Dr. Seuss)
  • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (John Boyne)
  • Annexed (Sharon Dogar)*
  • Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story (Ken Mochizuki & Dom Lee)
  • Cowboy Slang (Edgar R. Potter & Ron Scofield)
  • Sermon on the Mount: Methodist Centennial Revised Standard Version
  • The War of the Worlds (H.G. Wells)*
  • After (Amy Efaw)*
  • The Reckoning (Beverly Lewis)*
  • The Confesssion (Beverly Lewis)*
  • The Shunning (Beverly Lewis)*
  • M is for Montana (Gayle Corbett Shirley & Constance Rummel Bergum)
  • Hot Water and Healthy Living: The Science of Hot Water Immersion: How It Promotes Healthy Bodies, Hearts, Minds, and Lifestyles (Jonathan B. Smith)
  • Song of the Swallows (Leo Politi)
  • Lost in My Own Backyard: A Walk in Yellowstone National Park (Tim Cahill)*
  • The Lakota Way: Native American Wisdom on Ethics and Character (Joseph M. Marshall, III)*
  • Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)*
  • Extras (Scott Westerfeld)
  • Garden of the Spirit Bear: Life in the Great Northern Rainforest (Dorothy Hinshaw Patent & Deborah Milton)
  • Law Enforcement Dogs (Phyllis Raybin Emert)
  • The Running Man (Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman)*
  • SkippyJon Jones (Judy Schachner)
  • Somebunny's Garden (Kathy Rusynyk)
  • Cheer Bear: Three Cheers for You
  • Watership Down (Richard Adams)*
  • What's Inside? My Body (Angela Royston)
  • A Day in the Life of the Amish (ed. Bob Ottum)
  • Specials (Scott Westerfeld)
  • Bartholomew and the Oobleck (Dr. Seuss)
  • Summer World (Bernd Heinrich)*
  • Understand and Care (Cheri Meiners)
  • Share and Take Turns (Cheri Meiners)
  • Pretties (Scott Westerfeld)
  • Uglies (Scott Westerfeld)
  • An Exceptional View of Life (Written and Illustrated by Children with Disabilities)
  • I Am In Here: The Journey of a Child With Autism who Cannot Speak But Finds Her Voice (Elizabeth Bonker & Virginia Breen)*
  • The American Frugal Housewife (Lydia Maria Child)
  • Mockingjay (Suzanne Collins)*
  • The Search (Suzanne Woods Fisher)*
  • Catching Fire (Suzanne Collins)
  • Every Thing On It (Shel Silverstein)
  • The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)*
  • The Waiting (Suzanne Woods Fisher)*
  • Don't Sweat The Small Stuff...and Its All Small Stuff (Richard Carlson)
  • Living Dead Girl (Elizabeth Scott)*
  • The Island of the Blue Dolphins (Scott O'Dell)*
  • The Black Book of Colors (Menena Cottin & Rosana Faria)
  • The Story of Little Black Sambo (Helen Bannerman)
  • Feed (M.T. Anderson)*
  • Black Mambas (Van Wallach)
  • Epileptic (David B.)
  • Shawshank Redemption (Stephen King)*
  • Goodnight iPad: a Parody for the Next Generation (Ann Droyd)
  • Room: A Novel (Emma Donoghue)*
  • Amish People: Plain Living in a Complex World (Carolyn Meyer)
  • Bridge to Terabithia (Katherine Paterson)*
  • You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto (Jaron Lanier)*
  • Under The Moon (Dyan Sheldon & Gary Blythe)
  • Meet the Amish (Fred Israel)
  • The Choice (Suzanne Woods Fisher)*
  • Hocus Pocus (Kurt Vonnegut)
  • Listen Quick (Dick Bahnson)
  • Killed: Rejected Images of the Farm Security Administration (William E. Jones)
  • It Chooses You (Miranda July & Brigitte Sire)
  • What Makes Me Amish? (Charles George)
  • The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein)
  • An Amish Christmas: A Novel (Cynthia Keller)*
  • Hutterites of Montana (Laura Wilson)
  • Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation (Tim Hamilton & Ray Bradbury)
  • George's Marvelous Medicine (Roald Dahl)
  • An Amish Gathering (Beth Wiseman)*
  • Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury)*
  • The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)*
  • Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think (Brian Wansink)*
  • Thanksgiving: The True Story (Penny Colman)
  • The Butter Battle Book (Dr. Seuss)
  • It's A Little Book (Lane Smith)
  • While Mortals Sleep: Unplublished Short Fiction (Kurt Vonnegut)
  • Mariana and the Merchild: A Folk Tale From Chile (Caroline Pitcher & Jackie Morris)


  1. Holy cow!! That's quite the list!

    1. There are just TOO many great books out there....I can't help myself!

  2. I am baffled as to why people call listening to books "reading." I am not against books on tape. Actually reading is active, whereas, listening is passive.

    Reading is private and personal, requiring all one's consciousness. Listening can be done while doing other activities and interacting with another person, an animal, or the dishes. My friend and I have this discussion all the time. She listens to books, never reads one. Yet, she insists it is exactly the same thing.

    Oh well.

    1. I am sure you know, because you've been reading here for a while, I do not think that reading a print book and listening to an audiobook are "exactly the same thing." I've written about them in the past, notably when I was not sure I was "sold" on the idea of audiobooks. They are certainly different. But I still think that reading is a fine term to use for audiobooks and is easier to articulate to others.

      I think that listening--really listening-- is an undervalued skill. It can be passive, but it can also be active. Really good, active listeners make better friends and learn an awful lot from their listening. I love the stories I've listened to. They are in my mind just as much as the ones I read myself. I've read print books and then the same book in audiobook format and never thought one was great and the other inferior.

      That said, I think of audiobooks as a play in my head because the narrator frequently does voices and there is also occasionally music that corresponds. It does mean you are allowing another person to help decide "How does Anne's voice sound?" "What accent does the villager have?" I can see what you are saying about it being less personal in that respect. But, the story remains.

      They are different but both good and valuable and since they both put books into my head I shall call it all reading.

      I'm so glad there are so many book to read and audiobooks allow me to read even more of them than otherwise would be possible which I greatly appreciate.

  3. I read Snowflake Bentley and Rachel Carson and her Book that Changed the World to my kids this year for the first time.

    Thanks for the list. I have requested several from my library now.

    I am never able to keep my list for the entire year, though for 2 years now I have kept a list of most of the gardening books I have read. (Amazing how vast and widely arrayed even that one subject is.)

    1. Ooooh, I'd like to see your gardening book list. There are so many ways to garden that I think having a well-rounded view of how others do it is very, very helpful.

      I hope you and your kids enjoy the books you get from the library!

    2. I'll try to do a post about it when I get a moment. It was really interesting to read lots of gardening books.

      I am reading a book right now that I probably picked up because of reading your list. It's called "I am Hutterite". by Mary Ann Kirkby. The Hutterites aren't quite the same as Amish, but they have a strong community life, too. It's actually pretty good.

      We always enjoy the books we get from the library. The kids look forward to going to the library as much as I do. The library is the only way we can afford our reading addiction. :)

    3. Totally! I could never afford all the books I read if I actually bought them! Libraries rock.

      I've read the book you mention. It was very good, I thought. I have quite a great interest in all sorts of plain people. We've got quite a lot of Hutterites in Montana. Not nearly so many Amish, but a few. I enjoy learning about all sorts of cultures and these are totally foreign cultures nestled right here in my backyard, so to speak, which I think is a great opportunity. I also really admire agrarian, spiritual living so naturally the plain folks like these appeal to me.

    4. I liked the book too. We don't have any Amish near us, but my parents used to live close to a big Amish community in Pa. years ago.

      I finally got around to writing the post about the garden books I read in 2012. Here's the link if you are interested in reading it.

  4. I like Willa Cather too. Her prose has a cadence that just makes me relax and enjoy every word and every image.

    That's a lot of books!

    1. Its so lyrical that is is just fabulous. And I so adore pioneer/homesteading type stories. Right up my alley, for sure! Do you have a favorite to recommend? I have My Antonia right now.


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