Book Lists Book Reviews

My Favorite Books of 2012

Picking out my favorite books of the year is one of the things I like best.

Also, looking back over the books I read makes for a fun time seeing different trends in my year. This year? The year of non-fiction, for sure. 

But I’m also happy to see some historical fiction, a couple of realistic fiction titles, some YA and middle grade books, and some delightful fluff.

2012 was a good year.

The Happiness Project – I just reread this book in the days after Ani was born and I loved it just as much the second time around. So inspiring and interesting. (Full review here)

Bringing Up Bebe – It’s been almost a year since I read this, and I still think about it almost daily. And because it’s so popular, I always can find someone to talk to about it. I don’t think it’s the end-all parenting manual, by any means, but it is certainly FASCINATING. (Full review here)

I’ve Got Your Number – No one else does chick-lit like Sophie Kinsella. This was possibly my favorite of her books and I’m dying to check it out from the library and read it again. (Full review here)

Jefferson’s Sons – This is such powerful historical fiction; it really changed my views of Thomas Jefferson. (Full review here)

Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think – Of course there is a food book on this list. I read this while Bart was out of town and I read him probably a quarter of the book over the phone because I COULD NOT STOP TALKING ABOUT IT. Reminded me a bit of Malcolm Gladwell, except all about food.

Still Alice – Oh, this book broke my heart. I feel like I understand Alzheimers in a whole new way after reading this. (Full review here)

Code Name Verity – I have been meaning to write about this book for weeks, and I’m still planning to. In the meantime, know that this YA historical fiction book set in WWII with two girls working with the British Royal Air Force (one as a spy, and one as a pilot) is one of the best books I’ve read in ages and was pretty much responsible for pulling me out of my Fall reading slump. (Full review here)
French Kids Eat Everything – I loved this book and though it was in a similar vein to “Bringing Up Bebe,” I thought this was much more useful and applicable for people living in the US. (Full review here).

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – This is my bookclub pick for 2013 and I cannot wait for the discussion. Or to read it again, frankly. (Full review here)

The Running Dream – This was one of the very first books I read this year and still one of my favorites. I’m so grateful for two legs. (Full review here)

What were your favorite 2012 reads? I’d love more suggestions for things to read in 2013!

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  • Reply RA December 31, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    My book post is coming up soon! Still have to figure out the finalists. The books are brimming with anticipation, as you can imagine. 🙂

    But! This year, I really liked Quiet and Code Name Verity, too, and Still Alice when I read it earlier. I'm putting Mindless Eating on my to-read list RIGHT NOW.

  • Reply Erica December 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    I thought Bringing up Bebe was interesting, but I got bored of it pretty quickly. It felt very repetitive to me.

    I just re-read I've Got Your Number, and it's just as good the 2nd time around. LOVE IT! And Jefferson's Sons! Incredible!

    I now putting Code Name Verity and The Running Dream on my library list.

  • Reply Amanda December 31, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    We have two books in common! I just posted it here.

    I'm definitely adding Mindless Eating and Code Name Verity to my 2013 list – thanks for the suggestions!

  • Reply Lisa December 31, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    I feel so proud for recommending one of those to you! Meanwhile, I never finished your list from last year, boo. Guess I'll just add these to the end, none of them scare me like Room.

  • Reply lifeofadoctorswife December 31, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    I wish I could recommend something to you but man… I just looked over the books I read this year (a dismal 22) and they are nearly 100% dark and horrifying. The Marriage Plot, Bringing Up Bebe, and Stories I Only Tell My Friends were the three exceptions. Sigh. Why do I insist on reading such dark horrible stuff?

  • Reply Creole Wisdom December 31, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Have you read "Left Neglected" also by Lisa Genova? I bet you would love it. I couldn't get into "Still Alice."

  • Reply NGS December 31, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    The Running Dream is beautiful, just beautiful!

  • Reply Shelly December 31, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    I read half of the books on this list this year based on reading your reviews. I love the recommendations, keep them coming in 2013!

  • Reply Kayris December 31, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    My list goes up tomorrow. But I really loved Unsaid by Neil Abramson, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. And I discovered a few fun series that I like too.

  • Reply Amanda Cobb December 31, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    I'm glad to hear good things about Code Name Verity! I have it from the library right now, but haven't actually cracked it open yet. 🙂

  • Reply Lindsay January 1, 2013 at 12:34 am

    These all sound great! Thanks for the recommendations. 🙂

  • Reply Angiegirl January 1, 2013 at 2:58 am

    I am just really looking forward to re-reading I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER. So. Much. Fun.

  • Reply Kim January 1, 2013 at 5:20 am

    Thanks for this–your favorite books of 2012 might just be my favorites of 2013!

  • Reply Unknown January 1, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Thank you for your list. I am adding several to my list to read in 2013. I really enjoyed "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" & " Gone Girl" in 2012

  • Reply Mandy January 1, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    thanks for sharing…i always love good book suggestions. i always have high hopes for the new year and start a reading list but usually don't get very far. i just don't make the time to read and i really love it. i do love sophie kinsella so that book might just help kick start me! the happiness project has always sounded interested too so maybe i'll finally jump on that bandwagon this year! 😉

  • Reply Sammy January 1, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    I look forward to your reading wrap up every year. Makes my to-read list so much easier. Thank you!! Have you read Susan Boynton with Ella yet? My kiddos love Moo, Baa, Lala and Red Hat Green Hat. She'll memorize them in just a minute or two!

  • Reply Abby January 3, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I always enjoy your book suggestions. In fact, I have Quiet and The Happiness Project on request at my library right now. And I LOVED Code Name Verity. I couldn't put it down.

  • Reply Terri B. January 7, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    You've got two books on this list that I plan to read this year. I am REALLY looking forward to Quiet (yes, I am an introvert) and Code Name Verity. So excited to read a YA novel that ISN'T a paranormal romance! BTW, I don't comment a lot here but wanted to say congratulations to you and Bart and Ella on the birth of Ani. You have a lovely family Janssen 🙂

  • Reply Michelle January 18, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Thanks for this! I just started The Happiness Project last night and am enjoying it quite well. I clicked over to your Goodreads profile and compared books and think your taste might generally run the way mine does — if so and if you've not tried them, I loved the following and think you might as well: Frederica by Georgette Heyer, The Winds of War by Herman Wouk, and Housewrights by Art Corriveau. I've just started following your reviews over there as well. Congrats on your new baby — having 2 is wonderful fun!

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