2012 in Books

     A new year has begun, which means a new year of reading.  As I did last year, I thought I'd share my past year's reading list.  This year, I decided not to remove the personal annotations that I made after reading.  They're only brief reactions, but perhaps some of you would be intrigued by my responses to the books, so I keep them here for your pleasure.  As a note of explanation, there is the date of book completion (in European DD/MM/YR fashion) followed by the title and author.  If there's nothing more, I read it in the "real" form (you know, paper and ink); if I read it on my Kindle, that's noted as well (it accounted for 37% of my books this year).  There's no note of when I started the book.  Sometimes I'm a read-one-at-a-time kind of girl, and at other times I've got one book for every time and function in a day.  So, enjoy the list, and feel free to leave a comment with what I ought to read this year, for I've had trouble getting into books lately.

1.      10/1/12 Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

a.     Really interesting character development.  I liked how she pulled all the details together at the end.  Some disturbing content, but generally very interesting, some quotable parts and memorable scenes.
2.     19/1/12 Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke (kindle)
3.     9/2/12 Forgotten God by Francis Chan
a.     really challenging and I’m already planning on rereading it
4.     21/2/12 Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (kindle)
a.     Really amazing and moving, both for the slave narrative and for what it says about the Christian faith.
5.     29/2/12 Talk of the Town by Lisa Wingate (kindle)
a.     Typical very low quality Christian fiction, but I was entertained and it was a really nice relaxing frou frou read.
6.     8/3/12 Silence by Shusaku Endo
a.     A really powerful book about a time in Japanese history which I had never heard about—a time of a great Christian explosion followed by severe persecution.  This book centers on the faith  struggle of some Japanese priests as they see Japanese Christians lay down their lives for them (the priests).
7.     4/4/12 The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
a.     This was a fast read.  It’s appealing to a person sense of dreaming and ambition and spoke to why we don’t fulfill or run after goals, about how we get comfortable with where we are.  It was a bit of a “follow your heart/the universe is in us” kind of philosophy, but still worthwhile.
8.     24/4/12 The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning
a.     Judy Hougen and others had mentioned this author.  This spiritual read reminded me a lot of those things about Christianity we neglect—like how truly revolutionarily Christ lived and how different He is from our culture and what we call “Christian.”
9.     30/4/12 Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
a.     A frou frou read, and yet not.  It’s deeper than I expected, and it does talk a lot about her spiritual journey.  I hesitated to continue reading it when it went into all of her universalist, reincarnational, pantheistic beliefs, but I think there were still some things to challenge and encourage me.
10. April/May Made To Crave (kindle) by Lysa TerKeurst
a.     This book is written from a humorous and Christian perspective.  She  uses scripture to reinforce her teachings.  This book especially speaks to those dealing with overeating.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I did a second read—I’ve already read the shorter devotional many a time.
11. End of May/12 Life of the Beloved by Henri J.M. Nouwen
a.     A worthwhile read that didn’t match up with his original aim of writing –which both he and I noticed.  Still, it has some good reminders.
12. 5/6/12 Inside Story of Mormonism by Einar Anderson
a.     a very useful read about the teachings of Mormonism and how they line up (or rather don't line up) with true Christianity.  I would love to study this book and keep it on my shelf.
13. 10/6/12 Revolution in World Missions by R.P. Yohannan
a.     This book definitely challenged my view of missions and makes me want to spend more money and energy in supporting local missionaries rather than thousands of dollars to send Americans.  It also challenges how I think of doing missions personally, and it makes me want to join with GFA in potentially supporting a missionary/missionaries and promoting their work.
14. 11/6/12 Experiencing God by Richard and Henry Blackaby
a.     This book was a read with my Bible study in Ostrava.  It was a read that really stripped away a lot of extra whatnot that we add in as the church, and it invites you to look at the work God is doing in your midst and to join in that work rather than getting caught up in your own program/plan.  Moreover, it rightfully places the emphasis on being in close relationship with God.
15. 19/6/12 Crazy Love by Francis Chan
a.     This was a NY Times Best Seller, which made me skeptical.  Now I see why it has that place.  It’s full of Chan trying to get us away from our cultural Christianity and back to the Christianity of the Bible, living radically in accordance with Jesus’ teachings.  This was a great read, especially in the context of other reading I’d been doing.  It gives the necessary reminder that following Christ requires that we throw aside everything or are willing and ready to give up everything for him.  Definitely would recommend.
16. 21/6/12 Love is the Measure: a Biography of Dorothy Day by Jim Forest
a.     This book was an excellent introduction to the life and work of Dorothy Day.  Often my favourite parts were those where she, herself, was quoted.  She was a journalist all her life so I’d love to read her The Long Loneliness (an autobiography).  Her example as a Christian committed to seeing and serving Jesus in the poor is inspiring and humbling.
17. 22/6/12 Teaching with Love and Logic by Jim Fay and David Funk
a.     This is an excellent book about classroom management.  It’s philosophy and strategies are ones that I support 100% and would like to implement in my classroom.  I hope to keep this book at my side constantly and to slowly but surely integrate its principles into my teaching.
18. 30/6/12 Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot
a.     This is a book compiled of letters written by Elliot for her daughter before her marriage.  It’s full of wonderful, Biblical perspective on marriage and what it means to be a woman.  I took down many a quote.
19. 9/7/12 Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God by David McCasland
a.     An encouraging read about a godly man who continuously sought out God’s will in ready obedience.  Very encouraging, definitely would recommend.
20. 10/7/12 The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride
a.     An interesting and well-written biography/memoir, made so by the interesting characters and circumstances involved.
21. 22/7/12 Why We Get Fat By Gary Taubes
a.     This book was fascinating and revolutionary in how I view food.  I’d already been eating pretty raw/fresh before reading this, but after reading it, I really feel part of me revolt at the sight of cake, bread, sugary drinks, and so on.  I want to get this in my collection.
22. 22/7/12 Through Gates of Splendor by Elizabeth Elliot
a.     This was the story of what happened to her husband and the other missionaries down in Ecuador.  (Think of the film End of the Spear).  It was told primarily through the journals, letters, and such of the missionaries and their families.  It read more historically than spiritually and definitely holds attention.
23. 8/8/12 Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (kindle)
a.     I knew it was a classic, but now I know why. This was a beautiful book with endearing characters and such good pictures of grace, redemption, and sacrifice.  I absolutely loved it, and the history was worth wrestling through (though I concede that I don’t fault anyone who decides to skip over the history).
24. 9/8/12 Talks with T.G. Masaryk by Karel Capek (kindle)
a.     Masaryk was definitely a man before his time and this (auto)biography (written by Capek from notes and then edited by Masaryk) shows his insights and life in every area from politics to health to education.
25. 25/8/12 The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis
a.     This devotional read from the 15th century is so edifying.  I had it recommended through reading I’d previously done and I was not disappointed by it.  It took me years to get through, which is understandable because there is so much to suck out of it.
26. 25/8/12 I Served the King of England by Bohumil Hrabal
a.     This Czech novel is written in great style with clear imagery and use of events to tell the story.  My only issue with it is the sexual content.  Here, Hrabal’s gift of imagery makes it too much.
27. 28/8/12 Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (kindle)
a.     I’d never read it before, and I appreciated the use of character relationships.  It wasn’t gilded at all, but it showed so many different obstacles in relationships, especially those rising from pride or stubbornness.  And, a surprisingly easier read than I expected.
28. 2/9/12 The Shack by William Paul Young
a.     After having heard so many strong opinions about this book, it was good to read it for myself.  Overall, my reaction to this book is quite positive.  It shows characteristics of God that our independent, enlightened selves tend to avoid.  No, it’s not the Bible, but it’s not supposed to be.  It’s putting things in human terms to help us understand better.  That’s worthwhile, I think.
29. 19/9/12 Heaven’s to Betsy by Maud Hart Lovelace (kindle)
a.     I began rereading this I the car to Heather (sister) on a road trip.  I continued reading it here, and it provided such a lovely way to escape in the evenings after a full day of teaching.
30. 21/9/12 The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More by Roald Dahl
a.     This collection of short stories has the particular fantastic nature of all Dahl’s work.  What was particularly interesting was his inclusion of a story of how he got his break as an author as well as his inclusion of his first “story”—a non-fiction description of his experience being shot down during the Second World War.
31. 22/9/12 Betsy in Spite of Herself by Maud Hart Lovelace (Kindle)
a.     It’s not my favourite of all the Betsy-Tacy books, but it does have the lovely Christmas in Milwaukee section as well as a good reminder about not trying to put on airs and be someone who you’re not.  At one point one of Betsy’s friends says something to the extent of, “Have you ever noticed that people like you more the more they get to know you?” after Betsy and Phil have broken it off.
32. 29/9/12 Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
a.     I never read this growing up, but I was charmed by a film version.  The book seemed so short (It is a young adult book), but definitely still an interesting read based on a gripping concept/question—is immortal life on this earth any good?
33. 10/10/12 Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott (kindle)
a.     Thankful to finally read this book by a beloved author.  It was charming to hear her wisdom about the goings on in the relationships between males and females and their interactions. 
34. 10/14/12 Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott (kindle)
a.     So, not as cherished as Eight Cousins, but charming and a light-hearted read with some effort at teaching real life lessons.
35. 22/10/12 Stories from Hans Anderson by Hans Christian Anderson (kindle)
a.     It was good to finally read them for myself.  His original stories/endings have fuller meaning and more charm than the Disney-fied versions.
36. 25/10/12 Pollyanna by Eleanor Hodgman Porter (kindle)
a.     My prima class is doing an abridged version of the book so I read the full version.  Very sweet and very encouraging with its simple wisdom about the power of thankfulness and being glad.
37. 28/10/12 Pollyanna Grows Up by Eleanor Hodgman Porter (kindle)
a.     An ever-so-sweet continuation of the story with a little bit of a love story thrown in.
38. 7/11/12 The Sport of the Gods by Paul Lawrence Dunbar (kindle)
a.     A book about how one injustice done to a black man ruins his whole family. 
39. 11/12/12 Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
a.     As a teacher and an aunt, this story set at an unconventional school for boys gave some very real reminders of how youth need to  approached with a holistic view of them; it also showed how so much real teaching happens outside of the classroom and in unexpected ways.
40. 26/11/12 Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc: The Complete Version by Mark Twain (kindle)
a.     I was surprised to discover this book, and I found myself greatly edified and encouraged by its content.  It made me a greater admirer of Joan of Arc.
41. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
a.     Gripping and addictive; I’ve been itching to get my hands on the other two books.
42. 21/12/12 Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
a.     Another gripping book in the series.
43. 21/12/12 Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
a.     Wasn’t my favourite of the series, perhaps due to how tired I was while reading it (it was my airport/flight book—as was Catching Fire).


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