Top 5 Books I Read in 2012

I read 19 books in 2012. That sounds like a lot, but a few of these were short (less than 100 pages). And I can't touch Jeff Ryan's accomplishment of reading 366 books in 2012. Still, I never would have guessed that I would have completed this many books in a year.

Also surprising (to me) was the number of fiction books. I read 3 fiction books this year (and one of them I read twice; you'll see why below), whereas I usually read 0 or 1 per year.

I read several devotional books, including My Utmost for His Highest, The Purpose Driven Life, and A Gospel Primer for Christians. I began Jesus Calling, but quickly felt uncomfortable with it, and stopped after a couple of days (so I didn't include this book in my total). And to round out my theology books, I read two by Francis Chan -- Forgotten God and Crazy Love.

I read some great books, some good books, and some books that made me say, "Meh." But here are five books that I found most illuminating, helpful, and challenging. (If you buy any of the books, you can use the link in the description.)
  1. Fatherless Generation.  More than any other book, this book inspired and motivated me. I wrote about how fatherlessness can lead to Angry Boys and girls with Forgotten Fairy Tales, and helped me see the need for male mentors.
  2. A Framework for Understanding Poverty. The author's premises are not without controversy, and I do not agree with everything in this book. However, this book helps provide just what the title promises -- a framework for understanding poverty. It helped me understand, among other things, the need to help children strive for middle class.
  3. When Helping Hurts.  I gained a different perspective on what poverty is and what means we should use to "attack" it. For a parallel book that is easier to read and is less theologically-deep, check out Toxic Charity.
  4. The Water Is Wide.  My first Pat Conroy book, in which he chronicles his year of teaching on Daufuskie Island. I will have some excerpts from this book on my other blog, beginning with this post.
  5. The Hobbit.  I read The Hobbit twice in about 45 days, once by myself, and then to my kids. I read this book over a weekend when I was in high school, and I'm just as captivated by the story today. I also read The Fellowship of the Ring. That's as far as I got in high school before losing interest, but I hope to finish the Lord of the Rings trilogy this year.
As you can see, the topic of poverty was especially on my mind. Reading six books on the nature and consequences of poverty has helped me to understand our experiences in Allendale, SC.

Noticeably absent from my list of 19 books were any books specifically on parenting (the closest one to this category is The Read Aloud Handbook). I definitely need to read something in this category this year!

If you are looking for sites that give good book reviews, be sure to check out:

Happy reading in 2013. 

PS -- You can go the complete opposite route, like Josh King. He will not read any new books in 2013.

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  1. I'm on a quest to read every book I currently own (and haven't read yet) this year. So far so good. It feels nice finally reading some of the books that have been staring at me for years or decide I don't actually even like them and give them away. I am a huge fan of Francis Chan -- I just got his "Multiply" book, so I hope to read it soon! I will have to check out the Toxic Charity book... after I'm done with my others!!

    1. That's a great quest!

      You'll enjoy Toxic Charity, I think. It can help refine outreach ministries that we do as churches.