Yes, I know. It’s actually 2013 now. But I wanted to wait till I was sure I’d read all the books I was going to read in 2012 before I wrote this post. And now I have, since the year is officially over. (Happy New Year, by the way.)
Here, in no particular order are the books I starred in my book journal. (This list does not include the 27 chapter books I read aloud to Jack and Jane this year. For those, you’ll need to check out the library page.)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
This is the second book on my list for 2012, and I don’t even remember reading it this year. But I must have, because there it is with a big ole star next to it. Of course. Because it’s one of my favorite books ever. Long live Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy!
Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity and Writing by L.L. Barkat
I loved this book so much I read it twice straight through. I’ve since read chapters here and there. I even wrote a poem based on one of the chapters, which I hereby share with you in an act of new-year self-indulgence:
Cobalt, crimson, copper
kettles hang from a teapot
tree that shelters a greyed
table offering mint and lemon
ice water, stirred with a
Beyond, inside, duck eggs nest
in a cooler that rests on worn wooden
planks. Baskets bear porcelain and
kale and greens with pink
rose petals, purple
clover and marigolds, sugar
snap peas. Creamy lavender
soaps, handmade, sit atop
a tiny counter piled with speckled notebooks.
Outside is a black steed fit for a knight.
Might he ride through the fields of parsley,
sage, rosemary, and the red-hot
chili peppers that grow amid the
aubergines and garden air?
The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald
Perhaps my favorite fairy tale, this story of a trusting little princess, a miner-boy, and an enchanted and enchanting great-grandmother just makes me happy.
The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
We had a rollicking book club discussion that made me love this book, which I’d already loved, even more. So much good stuff in here.
A Thousand Vessels by Tania Runyan
The only book of poetry that made my list, Tania’s is a beauty. I return to several of my favorites in this book again and again. It’s one of the wonderful things about poetry, especially short lyric poems like these: you can just read one or two and you feel you’ve had a satisfying meal.
Parents and Children and School Education by Charlotte Mason
Charlotte Mason puts the Mason in Mason Lewis Press, the small press I’m starting in 2013. Her close and careful observation of children gave her insight into the ways their brains work that neuroscience is even now bearing out. The woman was a genius, and one of my heroes.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
This book helped me understand myself in new ways—and also appreciate things about myself that I’d always thought were weird or not okay. I’m not a chameleon; I’m a high self-monitor! That insight alone was worth reading the whole book, but there were plenty more where that came from. Highly recommended, whether you are an introvert or just know one.
In a cynical age like ours, when we’re always looking through narrowed eyes at so-called heroes, waiting to pounce on their faults or flaws or failings, this book is a must-read. While Wilberforce wasn’t perfect, he was more than merely admirable. He was, truly, a hero. His sheer tenacity in fighting year after crushing year for an end to the slave trade is the stuff I want to be made of. I can’t say enough good things about this book or the man who stars in it.
Brain Rules for Baby by John Medina
I had the privilege of spending two hours in a car with John Medina and one other person as we drove from San Antonio to Laity Lodge. I’d already finished John’s book here, and it was a kick to get to hear from the man himself. For those who are expecting or who have kiddos under the age of five, I highly recommend this book.
I Told My Soul to Sing: Finding God with Emily Dickinson by Kristin LeMay
This is a beautiful book. Part literary criticism, part biography, part memoir, it rather defies genre categorization. I’m currently at work on a review of it for Books&Culture.com (which I’ll link to, just as soon as it’s published. Squee!). For now, you can read a post, and a poem, I wrote based on the book.
The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic by Jennifer Trafton
The only middle-grade novel on this list is here because I could not wait to read it out loud to my kids. We’re still reading Christmas books by day and finishing The Return of the King by night. So, I read Mount Majestic on my own. This is such a well-written book. There is such joy here, and wonder, and delight. The moment I finished it, I handed it to Jack and said, “Once you’re done with Hugo Cabret, you need to read this.” And he is.