I am horrible at choosing favorites of anything, so please don’t consider this an ultimate “best of” list, but these are a few of my favorite books that were published in 2012.
Best Conversation Starter: Susan Cain’s Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking has gotten everyone talking about personality types. It’s also been tremendously affirming to introverts living in our extroverted culture, and enlightening to the extroverts who love them. I named Quiet a book that makes me feel like I’m not crazy. (I had a hard time picking this one up because I feared it would be boring. Have no fear: this is a page-turner.)
Best Memoir to Make You Laugh and Cry on the Same Page: Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected, Kelle Hampton. Life changed in an instant for Kelle Hampton when her second child was unexpectedly born with Down Syndrome. In Bloom, she relates the grief–and the joy–that little Nella brought her.
Best Christian Book to Make You Really Uncomfortable (in a Good Way): 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, Jen Hatmaker. When Hatmaker noticed 7 areas of blatant excess–food, clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending,and stress–in her middle-class life, she resolved to spend 7 months fasting from them, one item per month. 7 is the result. Hatmaker’s a friendly and funny narrator: she manages to make you like her and make you squirm at the same time.
Best Young Adult: The Fault in Our Stars, John Green. Quirky, charming, heartbreaking. The title riffs Shakespeare–appropriate for this story of teenage star-crossed lovers (and cancer patients). 16-year-old narrator Hazel is smart, funny, and sincere, and she tells a great story.
Best Inspiration for New Year’s Resolutions: Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life, Gretchen Rubin. In this follow-up to The Happiness Project, Rubin spends 9 months (beginning in September, the “new January,”) deliberately fostering a warmer, happier home life. (I borrowed my New Year’s goal to celebrate special breakfasts from this book.)
Best Paradigm Changer: All the Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending by Laura Vanderkam. Surprisingly, people are shockingly bad at predicting what will make them happy, and the way they spend their money is no exception. It turns out, money can buy a little bit of happiness, if spent wisely. Vanderkam explores how happy people strategically spend (and give) to build the kind of life they want–for themselves, and for others.
What were your favorite new books in 2012?
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