• Books for 2012

    December 22, 2011

    You suggested them. I have picked them. Here are the books I hope to read in 2012. Actually, I hope to read many more than these, but here are the ones at the top of the list. My goal is to read broadly, to move beyond my typically narrow range of subjects. Thank you for all the wonderful recommendations you made.

    Sabriel, Garth Nix

    I love fantasy films (some of them, anyway), but I’ve never read much fantasy. I chose Sabriel because, though it is part of a series, the story of book one stands on its own. No cliffhanger demanding I read more if I choose not to. Publishers Weekly says, “Rich, complex, involving, hard to put down, this first novel, an Australian import, is excellent high fantasy. The suitably climactic ending leaves no loose ends, but readers will hope for a sequel.” Amazon.com’s reviewer says, “Just try to put this book down.”

    Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott

    From Amazon: “Think you’ve got a book inside of you? Anne Lamott isn’t afraid to help you let it out. She’ll help you find your passion and your voice, beginning from the first really crummy draft to the peculiar letdown of publication. Readers will be reminded of the energizing books of writer Natalie Goldberg and will be seduced by Lamott’s witty take on the reality of a writer’s life, which has little to do with literary parties and a lot to do with jealousy, writer’s block and going for broke with each paragraph. Marvelously wise and best of all, great reading.”

    Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt

    Seems an obvious pick for March, what with St. Patrick’s Day and all. A Pulitzer-prize winning memoir from a first time Irish author. Four and a half stars with nearly 2,000 reviews on Amazon. From the publisher: “Frank endures poverty, near-starvation and the casual cruelty of relatives and neighbors—yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance, and remarkable forgiveness.” School Library Journal says, “Readers will enjoy the humor and the music in the language. A vivid, wonderfully readable memoir.”

    Why We Love, Helen Fisher

    This Valentine’s Day, tell that special someone, “I neurotransmit you.” I don’t think neurotransmit is a word, but neurotransmitter is, and I bet this book uses that word a lot. Having studied (amateurishly) the goings-on of the brain suffering a mood disorder, I’m curious to know just what is happening “up there” that we call falling in love. Publishers Weekly says, “Fisher also reports on the behaviors that lead to successful lifelong partnerships and offers, based on what she’s observed, numerous tips on staying in love.”

    The Holy Bible with the Apocrypha (NRSV)

    In college, my friends and I made up nicknames for all the many versions of the Bible. The NIV was the Non-Inspired Version. The NASB was the Non-Authoritative Scripture Bible. The NKJV, the Never Knew Jesus Version. CEV, Completely Erroneous Version. My favorite was the KJV: The Killer Jargon Version. The list went on and on. Well, the past couple years I’ve read the Bible through in various versions. This year, I want to take my next 365-day jaunt through Holy Scripture by reading the NRSV, the Not Really Scripture Version. (Weren’t we clever?)

    How to Cook Everything, Mark Bittman

    Okay, so probably I’m not reading this one cover to cover, but I do want to cook better in 2012, so I’m picking up a copy of this. Some of you suggested the vegetarian version, but the original contains vegetarian recipes, and really I want to know how to cook everything better. Chef Bobby Flay says, “Mark Bittman has done the impossible, improving upon his now-classic How to Cook Everything. If you need know-how, here’s where to find it.” Good enough for Bobby Flay, good enough for me!

    Thanks again for all the great book recommendations. If your book didn’t make the cut, don’t despair. A year is a long time for someone who enjoys reading as much as I do. I may yet read your favorite.

    Happy reading in 2012!

    Posted in: Book Reviews, General

Recent Comments

  • Jess said...


    NRSV is my jam! Check out the green letter, it is unsurprisingly my favorite. Awesome essays in the beginning speaking to our responsibility to the environment.

    01/2/12 9:21 PM | Comment Link

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