Thursday, December 27, 2012

Three Amazing Books I Read in 2012 Along with Lisa Bloom’s Favorites

Last year in my post Three Amazing Books I Read in 2011, I included this quote from Lisa Bloom's book Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World:
"If you can't name three amazing books you've read in the last year, you're not reading enough."
In looking back at the books I read in 2012, I did not have as easy a time choosing three amazing books as I did last year. Most of the books I read in 2012 were not that memorable, but here goes:

The book that was the most eye-opening:
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick.  I read this book shortly after Kim Jong-il's death.  It follows the lives of six North Korean defectors while giving us an insiders look into what life is really like in North Korea.  I referred to this book in my post Making a Big Mistake at Work

The book that touched me the most:
Special Exits by Joyce Farmer.  This is a graphic novel based on Farmer's experience taking care of her elderly father and stepmother.  This book stayed with me for weeks.

A good story:
Holes by Louis Sacher.  I don't read a lot of fiction, but every now and then I crave a really good story.  This book was perfect.

I found it interesting that two of my three amazing 2012 reads came from Lisa Bloom's book recommendations she listed in her book Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World. For fun I tweeted @LisaBloom asking what were her three amazing reads for 2012. To my surprise and delight she responded. 

Here are Lisa Bloom's 2012 favorite reads from her twitter feed @LisaBloom:

My favorite counter intuitive-but-geez-she's-so-right book I read in 2012: Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry) by Lenore Skenazy.

My favorite fiction of 2012: The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene. Everyone I've recommended this to has come to me with tears of gratitude.

My favorite international classic I read in 2012: Independent People by Halldor Laxness.* It is a must read if you visit Iceland. Which you should.

My favorite guilty pleasure page turner of 2012: Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn. It is worth losing sleep, missing appointments over. Which you will.

My favorite book title of 2012: I Suck at Girls, by Justin Halpern. The book itself is giggle inducing too.

My favorite vegan fiction of 2012 (let's make this a genre!): The Adventures of Vivian Sharpe, Vegan Superhero, by Marla Rose. Fun YA.

My favorite history book of 2012: The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, by Stephen Greenblatt. Sumptuous escape

My favorite parenting/ social commentary book of 2012: The Mama's Boy Myth: Why Keeping Our Sons Close Makes Them Stronger by Kate Lombardi

My favorite autobiography I read in 2012: Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela . A must read for all world citizens.

Most surprisingly useful book I read in 2012: Mama Gena's Owner's and Operator's Guide to Men. She's got them figured out. Thx @MamaGena

My favorite cookbook of 2012 (by a mile): Chloe's Kitchen: 125 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Making the Food You Love the Vegan Way, by @ChloeCoscarelli Every recipe ridiculously easy and delicious.

My favorite health book of 2012 (by a mile): The Complete Idiot's Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition by Julieanna Hever.

My favorite re-read of 2012: Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. Even better the second time and I rarely re-read.

My favorite should-be-a-classic I read in 2012: Walls and Bars: Prisons and Prison Life In The "Land Of The Free". Searing prison manifesto of Eugene Debs, imprisoned for opposing WW1.

Best writing book I read in 2012: Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by, Anne Lamott. If you have a book in you, grab this now. Bonus points for being hilarious.

In case you are curious Lisa also tweeted her three favorite 2012 movies: The Sessions, Argo, and Silver Linings Playbook.

A huge thank you to Lisa Bloom.  I can now look forward to reading several amazing books in 2013. In addition to Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, Lisa Bloom is the author of Swagger: 10 Urgent Rules for Raising Boys in an Era of Failing Schools, Mass Joblessness, and Thug Culture.

*For those of you participating in the Around the World in 80 Books Challenge you may want to pencil this one in for Iceland.

If you liked this post you may also like:
"Light Reading"
Making Women Count - Ending the Year on a Low Note
Anne Lamott's "Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life" and Jealousy
Special Exits - A must read for those caring for aging loved ones


  1. New follower from the blog hop! Love your blog & can't wait to get to know you more :) Have a great day!

  2. Hiya! I'm popping over from the Aloha Friday bloghop. Thanks for some awesome book picks. I'm the author of Cocktails at Naptime so join me for a cocktail any time!

  3. Wish i were as well read as you and Lisa, but i read a ton of fiction ... only. Nothing designed to improve anyone, least of all me! Agree with Lisa on Gone Girl, and all three movies.

    A very Happy and productive New Year, Savvy!

  4. Returning a visit you made to my blog. I hope you join the around the world reading challenge. Thanks for suggesting Nelson Mandelas autobiography, that gives me a South Africa read!

  5. Happy New Year. I found you through Aloha Blog Hop. Stop by and say hi when you get a minute. :)

  6. Rachel,
    Thanks for the kind words and for stopping in.

  7. EmmaK,
    Thanks for stopping in. Looking forward to a cocktail.

  8. Webb,
    Nothing wrong with fiction. Many people think you learn more from fiction than nonfiction. When I was a teenager I decided I was going to "get out" by studying as hard as I could. I don't think I've ever been able to shut that feeling off - I still like to read and take notes.

    I have Gone Girl on hold at my library - I think I am now at around 56. Can't wait to read it.

    We don't see many movies in the theatre, but plan on seeing all 3 of Lisa's recs. We did go see Lincoln yesterday. It is my favorite of the year.

    Have a happy New Year. Thanks again for all the support and encouragement you have given me throughout the year.

  9. Tanya,
    Joining the challenge is really tempting. I have another reading challenge I've created for myself for 2013. A couple of the books could overlap - maybe I will just do it...

    I read Nelson Mandela's autobiography a few years ago. It is very good. I believe Lisa visited South Africa this year and read it while there.

  10. Newest follower here! I found you through the blog hop. Cute blog, I can't wait to read more!

  11. I am thinking about joining this challenge with you. I'm getting back on track with diet and exercise and I want to check out many of the books you mentioned!!

    I hope you're having a great week and a Happy New Year!

    Thank you so much for linking up to last week's Aloha Friday Blog Hop!! I'm following you.

    If you have time, we'd love to have you come and link up to the Aloha Friday Blog Hop if you haven't already! (Thank you so very much if you've already linked up, I truly appreciate it!!)

    Come and link up, enter the giveaway (if you haven't yet) and celebrate the coming weekend with us!


    Jean {What Jean Likes}

    Thanks for stopping in and the kind words.

  13. Jean,
    Would love to have you join the challenge with me.

    Happy New Year to you too.