What I Read in 2012


Way back when I wasn’t making New Year’s resolutions, I made a list of what I wanted to read in 2012. I set a Goodreads goal to read 25 books in 2012. That’s a pretty good goal for me. When, on December 31, I make it through another reading of The Bible (this year the Good News Bible), I will have successfully completed the task.

That’s a pretty major accomplishment considering that I spent a good amount of time working on the election. The results weren’t what we wanted, but we waged a good fight. Plus, I was in three shows this year. All of that while trying to seriously concentrate on the writing goals makes me feel pretty good about what I read.

Here’s the list. And no, I have no idea the order in which I read them.

The Hobbit or There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien
The plan was to read the book again prior to the release of The Hobbit on December 14. Thanks to a gift from a friend, I was able to listen to the book twice on CD.

Dislocated by Max Andrew Dubinsky
I received a digital copy of this via Story Cartel. I was pleasantly surprised with this book. As I noted in my post, I’ve not really been into graphic novels. Reading Dislocated may change that.

Playing for Pizza: A Novel by John Grisham
Another audiobook experience on a drive to Kentucky. Not Grisham’s standard fare. Grisham does a great job of writing about Italy and the football experience. But I wouldn’t say the story is the gripping kind you can’t put down, unless you have another 150 miles to drive.

Cash Flow Now: How To Create Multiple Streams of Real Estate Income by Jim Ingersoll
A book by my friend Jim Ingersoll about creating multiple streams of real estate income. I initially downloaded the free copy to help Jim out. But I read it, and think we need to do lunch.

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Read because, well, everyone was reading them, in particular the 12-year-old. The books are well written and intriguing. It helped also to see the first movie. Although I will admit that the end of Mocking Jay sort of fell flat for me.

The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise?
by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith
Another book I had the opportunity to review in advance. My comment at the time was that I wish I had this book when the Internet was young. My comment now is that I loaned it out and need to get another copy.

The Tehran Initiative by Joel C. Rosenburg
I listened to the first in this series, The Twelfth Imam, by Rosenburg on yet another drive to Kentucky. Rosenburg, a communications strategist turned novelist writes a gripping story. It’s the kind that makes you hope that people like David Shirazi really exist.

Bag of Bones by Stephen King
I have to admit this is the first Stephen King book that I’ve read. I was skeptical, but I got it this movie tie-in version as a free perk from Klout, so I gave it a try. I will admit loving it. I’ve not seen the movie. I’m not sure I want to. But reading this helped me understand King’s success as an author. So much so that I’ve put his On Writing
on my wish list. (hint, hint).

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
Yet another book I picked up because of my son’s recommendation. Again, not my standard choice. It started out well enough, but I thought it got bogged down at the end. As I wrote at the time, Grahame-Smith took a fascinating premise for a book, and a book that started out quite well, and ruined it with a lazy man’s approach to Civil War history.

Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
I read this for a class. But Thomas gives good and practical advice for believers who are married as well as those who would counsel them. In part, this book helped me realize I’m not called to be a counselor. I thought I had reviewed the book for Richmond Bible Examiner, but apparently not.

You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins
Yet another book I was able to download for free. And another of which I need to purchase a hard copy. I wrote at the time that This book may have just rocked my writing world. Re-reading that post is another good kick in the pants about the writing I should be doing.

Bystander by James Preller
I read this one as part of the father-son book club at my son’s school. Not a bad book, but a typical “let’s teach middle school kids about being alone and being bullies.” The experience of the father-son book club was better than the book.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Okay, I didn’t listen to everything on audio book, but this was another Kentucky trip. This book is written from the perspective of a child who lost his father in the World Trade Center attack on 9/11. It was later made into a movie with Tom Hanks. I’ve not seen the movie. It was an interesting read/listen, if at times hard to follow because of the stream of consciousness writing. As a parent, I spent too much time worrying about the fact that 9-year-old Oskar is running all over New York City by himself.

The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places by Ken Barnes
I reviewed this at the request of the author. Barnes takes a look at what it really means to be in Christian service. It’s thought provoking and at times convicting. It’s a good reminder that serving God isn’t supposed to be glamorous.

Against All Things Ending: The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen Donaldson
I thought this was the last of The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant and was sadly mistaken to find out there’s another volume supposedly coming. I read the initial works in this series some 20-30 years ago and love them. I have not disliked this new series until this book. Finishing was a chore. For a while I found myself wondering how he would wrap up all the story lines with the remaining pages, then I was disappointed to find out he didn’t. I’ll read the forth book. But at this point that’s for a sense of accomplishment rather than a desire to see what Donaldson does for the story.

Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington
Read this on the Kindle. Something every student of history needs to read.

Football Genius by Tim Green
Another book read for the father-son book club. I’m not sure why every book for the father-son book club seems to be about a child from a broken home who either gets in trouble or excels in another area. Maybe it’s a sign of the times. But it was an enjoyable read written by former Atlanta Falcon, Tim Green.

The Flinch by Julien Smith
Free for download on Amazon, Julien Smith talks about the flinch mechanism that calls us back from danger. But what if danger is what we really need? Read it. It will challenge you.

Out of Oz: The Final Volume in the Wicked Years by Gregory Maguire
I’m an admitted Oz geek since grade school. This was the last in Maguire’s Wicked series and did not disappoint.

Every Body Matters: Strengthening Your Body to Strengthen Your Soul by Gary Thomas
I received a copy of this from Zondervan in exchange for my review, which is posted here.

How to Be Remarkable by Colin Wright
I apparently took advantage of a lot of free books for the Kindle in the past year. Unfortunately, I’ve not employed all of Wright’s tips to get more out of life, personally and professionally. I should read it again.

Show Off Anthology by Joe Bunting
Like Dislocated above, this was an advance copy via Story Cartel. I read it, and wrote Show Off Anthology is a great collection of 10 compelling short stories. The stories are gripping and realistic. But they’re not all a happy read. They play on your emotions and tell stories of love and betrayal, of life and death.

Good News Bible
For several years I’ve set a goal to read through the Scriptures in a year. I’ll be finishing up again on December 31. This year, at the recommendation of a friend who is a Bible scholar/translator, I went with the Good News Bible. I’ve enjoyed the read. I will admit that I took the easy route and read it online via Bible Gateway. That’s a great resource, but I fear that on some days my reading was a bit too casual. It’s easy to skim a page as you scroll down. But I read it. I’m taking a different approach to Bible study this year. More on that in a future post.

I’m still reading Master Of The Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, by Robert Caro. That will be the first book I finish in 2013.

And start thinking, because next week I’ll be asking you what I should read in 2013.

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