Who says what?

Novelist, mother, minister, and yoga teacher muses on books, babies, motherhood, and what matters with reverent humor.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Best Reads of 2012

Hello dear readers! Can I tell you how it fills my heart with joy to know that I have an above average number of blog readers? According to my stepfather who read it somewhere reliable (he doesn't read anything that isn't reliable), the average blog has fewer than ten readers. That was some of the best news I've heard in all of December. I feel so totally POPULAR now!

It's almost like spending lots of time with small children and thinking, "hey, I'm the smartest one here!"

At any rate, in my continual effort to give back to the teeming masses of my fans, I want to share with you my absolute favorite reads from 2012. This year has been a good reading year for me. I've loved nearly everything I've read. (I probably average a book a week so that might actually be saying something.) Without any further literary foreplay, here's my list.

BEST PARENTING BOOK: John Gray, Children Are From Heaven
One of the all around best books on parenting I've read in nearly seven years of obsessively reading everything. I wish I'd read this one first. Compassionate, original, loving.

BEST CAN'T PUT DOWN READ ALL NIGHT NOVEL: Kamala Nair, The Girl in the Garden
I actually could not put this book down. I read it on the toilet and while brushing my teeth and while driving...

BEST FUNNY BOOK: Valerie Frankel, It's Hard Not to Hate You
This book is so good and so funny, everyone I know should read it. It's a searingly honest self-exploration of the author's hater-side. Brilliant about envy for other writers. I can't think of a person who wouldn't identify or laugh through most of it--if they're honest with themselves!

BEST SPIRITUAL MEMOIR: Joanna Brooks, Book of Mormon Girl
I read tons of spiritual memoirs. This may be one area where I actually know what I'm talking about (though maybe not, it's been awhile since I had a full night's sleep), and I raced through this book. It's compelling and fascinating and amazingly truthful. You do NOT need to be a Mormon to like this book. Anyone who grew up with a strong faith tradition will identify with her journey.

Every Christian should read this book. And all the ex-Christians who can't stand what modern Christians say, do and think. It's an enlightened, progressive, stimulating look at some of the deepest held and most toxic beliefs and most amazingly of all, it's written by an evangelical minister (which gives me such hope for the future).

BEST FUNNY NOVEL: Maria Semple, Where'd You Go Bernadette
A clever, inventive, original, witty, hilarious novel. This is the kind of book you sneak off and read and when people ask what you've been doing, you say, "I've been having fun!"

BEST BOOK BEYOND CATEGORY:  Christian McEwan, World Enough & Time
Lush, lovely, inspiring, moving, important. A look at our cultural "hurry sickness" with poetic, creative, literary and though-provoking ruminations on "the cure." Each page, each chapter like a chocolate. I read it slowly and it has helped me.

BEST DRAMATIC NOVEL: Emily Giffin, The Heart of the Matter
The book's take on infidelity I found fresh, poignant, satisfying and real.
Not that Emily Giffin needs me to sell her books. Compared to her, I'm a total LOSER, super unpopular, basically read by NO ONE. But I did love the book.

So stop reading this stuff and go enjoy a good book!

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