Books Read in 2012

Since 2003, I’ve posted a list of all the books I read that year. Previous lists can be found at the following links; the number in parentheses is the total number of books read: 2011 (27), 2010 (47), 2009 (25), 2008 (34), 2007 (31), 2006 (110!), 2005 (45), 2004 (42), 2003 (41).

Total for 2012: 66

I read more this year than all previous years (except for 2006 when I had a 1.5 hour one-way commute when I worked in southern California for six months). A majority of the books I read in 2012 were on the Kindle and Overdrive apps on my smartphone — I borrow all of my e-books from the library, so they’re delivered wirelessly (and free!) to my phone.

Paul thinks I should read my e-books on a larger device, but I know I read more books on my phone than I would on an e-reader. My phone is small and easily transportable, so I pull it out in multiple situations where I wouldn’t otherwise be reading: standing in line at the grocery store, as a passenger in a car, or even waiting for the elevator in my building (in addition to normal reading situations like commuting to work on the Metro and lying on the sofa at home).

This year, I divided the books into four categories: Highly Recommended (my favorites); Recommended (good but not must-reads); Okay (read only if interested in the subject matter); and Not Recommended (those I finished either because they were quick reads and/or I didn’t have anything better available at the time).

You may notice that — except for #43 — all the books in this list are nonfiction.

(Note: I also update my Goodreads account with each book and their rating as I finish them.)

Highly Recommended – My Favorites

1. Born Round: A Story of Family, Food and a Ferocious Appetite, Frank Bruni

2. Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America and Found Unexpected Peace, William Lobdell

3. Open: An Autobiography, Andre Agassi

4. Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, Joshua Foer

5. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, Laura Hillenbrand

6. The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table, Tracie McMillan

7. Learning to Bow: Inside the Heart of Japan, Bruce Feiler

8. Beaten, Seared, and Sauced: On Becoming a Chef at the Culinary Institute of America, Jonathan Dixon

9. Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History, Ben Mezrich

10. Life, on the Line: A Chef’s Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat, Grant Achatz


11. Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife, Eben Alexander III, MD

12. Lucky Girl, Mei-Ling Hopgood

13. Bonobo Handshake: A Memoir of Love and Adventure in the Congo, Vanessa Woods

14. Fairy Tale Interrupted: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Loss, RoseMarie Terenzio

15. The Foremost Good Fortune, Susan Conley

16. The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My Soul, Dave Bruno

17. Alek: My Life from Sudanese Refugee to International Supermodel, Alek Wek

18. Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It, Gary Taubes

19. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, Barbara Kingsolver

20. Big in China: My Unlikely Adventure Raising a Family, Playing the Blues, and Reinventing Myself in Beijing, Alan Paul

21. Burmese Lessons: A Love Story, Karen Connelly

22. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Cheryl Strayed

23. Silver Like Dust: One Family’s Story of America’s Japanese Internment, Kimi Cunningham Grant

24. The Paleo Answer, Loren Cordain

25. Don’t Play in the Sun: One Woman’s Journey Through the Color Complex, Marita Golden

26. The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers, Josh Kilmer-Purcell

27. The Company We Keep: A Husband-and-Wife True-Life Spy Story, Robert and Dayna Baer

28. Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith, Barbara Brown Taylor

29. The Blueberry Years: A Memoir of Farm and Family, Jim Minick

30. Punching In: One Man’s Undercover Adventures on the Front Lines of America’s Best-Known Companies, Alex Frankel

31. A Journey North: One Woman’s Story of Hiking the Appalachian Trail, Adrienne Hall

32. Paris in Love: A Memoir, Eloisa James

33. Spiced: A Pastry Chef’s True Stories of Trails by Fire, After-Hours Exploits, and What Really Goes on in the Kitchen, Dalia Jurgensen

34. Shucked: Life on a New England Oyster Farm, Erin Byers Murray

35. Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell

36. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain

37. Breaking Up with God: A Love Story, Sarah Sentilles

38. All the Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending, Laura Vanderkam

39. Tout Sweet: Hanging Up My High Heels for a New Life in France, Karen Wheeler

40. Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life, Kim Severson

41. Talking with My Mouth Full: My Life as a Professional Eater, Gail Simmons

42. A Life Without Limits: A World Champion’s Journey, Chrissie Wellington

43. Volumes 1-7 of the Walking Dead graphic novels (a gift from Paul from Christmas 2011), which I’m counting as one book since they’re quicker to read.

Okay – Read if Interested in the Subject Matter

44. The House at Royal Oak: Starting Over and Rebuilding a Life One Room at a Time, Carol Eron Rizzoli

45. Living Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Walk the Walk of the Queen of Talk, Robyn Okrant

46. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, Steven Pressfield

47. Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life That Is Outwardly Simple and Inwardly Rich, Duane Elgin

48. Living Well with Hypothyroidism: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Tell You, Mary J. Shomon

49. The Feast Nearby, Robin Mather

50. Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy, Martin Lindstrom

51. The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide, Elisabeth Hasselbeck

52. The Cowboy Way: Seasons of a Montana Ranch, David McCumber

53. I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts On Being a Woman, Nora Ephron

54. The Escape Artists: True Stories of People Who Turned Their Obsessions Into Professions, Joshua Piven

55. A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family, Cheryl Tan

56. I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections, Nora Ephron

57. Kicking Up Dirt: A True Story of Determination, Deafness, and Daring, Ashley Fiolek

58. Buffalo Gal, Laura Pedersen

59. Ali in Wonderland: And Other Tall Tales, Ali Wentworth

60. How to Be a Woman, Caitlin Moran

61. Practically Perfect in Every Way: My Misadventures Through the World of Self-Help and Back, Jennifer Niesslein

Not Recommended

62. White Jacket Required: A Culinary Coming-of-Age Story, Jenna Weber

63. Happier at Home, Gretchen Rubin

64. Cuba Diaries: An American Housewife in Havana, Isadora Tattlin

65. This Is Not the Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness, Laura Munson

66. If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name: News from Small-Town Alaska, Heather Lende

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