2012 Reading Guide
The Perfect Storm

The Perfect Storm

$10.99$1.99Audiobook: 1.99 (Whispersync)
Author:
Series: Adventure, Book 3
Genre: Nonfiction
Tag: 2012 Reading Guide

This true story of the storm of the century, which took place off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1991, weaves in the tales of the fishing crew aboard The Andrea Gail and the dramatic rescue of the three-person crew aboard the sailboat Satori in the Atlantic. A compelling and page-turning tale of man vs. nature. Add Audible narration for $3.99.

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Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West: Meriwether Lewis Thomas Jefferson and the Opening

Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West: Meriwether Lewis Thomas Jefferson and the Opening

$13.99$3.99
Author:
Series: Adventure, Book 4
Genre: Memoir
Tag: 2012 Reading Guide

This sweeping history of the Lewis and Clark expedition reads like an adventure story. Drawing from the journals of William Clark and Meriwether Lewis, Ambrose re-creates the history of the expedition itself, and he succeeds in bringing the characters to life. The book’s a little slow to warm up, but once the expedition begins it’s fascinating.

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Born to Run

Born to Run

Author:
Series: Adventure, Book 2
Genre: Nonfiction
Tag: 2012 Reading Guide

McDougall’s quest begins with a simple question: “Why does my foot hurt? In search of the answer, he delves into a world of ultramarathons, American expats and the Tarahumara Indians in the Copper Canyons of Mexico. Don’t be put off by the lengthy segue about Why Running Shoes Are Bad. This is a great book.

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Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster

Krakauer climbed Mt. Everest while on assignment for Outside Magazine in 1996, which would become the deadliest year in the history of the mountain. 8 people died on the mountain the day Krakauer himself summited; 15 died that season. Krakauer made it back down to tell the tale of what it was like on the mountain that May. A first-class adventure story.

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The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent A Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent A Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

$8.99$2.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Whispersync)

THP is great summer reading because while it’s not difficult, it’s thought-provoking and a lot of fun. It’s also perfect for summer because it’s very easy to read in short chunks (by the pool, on the deck, in the coffee shop). Read this now so you’ll be ready to read Rubin’s next installment Happier at Home, due out September 4.

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The Help

The Help

$11.99$1.99Audiobook: 9.99 (Whispersync)

Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan graduates from Old Miss in the 1960s and returns home to Jackson, looking for a topic to write about. She decides to tell the story of the Help. Skeeter was raised by a kindly black maid, as were many of her friends. Now they’re having babies and hiring black maids of their own. Skeeter interviews the maids of Jackson to find out what it’s really like to be a black woman who leaves her own babies at home so she can earn a living raising white women’s babies.

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Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

$16.99$1.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Whispersync)

This latest book from the authors of Made to Stick examines why change is sometimes hard--and what to do about it. This story-driven book is fascinating and dead-practical, focusing both on huge issues (cutting a hospital’s death rate) and small ones (getting employees to turn in expense reports on time. Switch provides lots to fascinate, and lots to apply to your personal life.

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Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

$11.99

Cain hooks you with a great story on page 1 and doesn’t let up till the elegant ending. By sharing personal stories and fascinating research, Cain showcases introverts’ unique strengths--and how those strengths are often squelched in a culture that’s embraced the Extrovert Ideal. Quiet is smart, eye-opening, and utterly enjoyable, for introverts and extroverts alike.

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Imagine: How Creativity Works

Imagine: How Creativity Works

Creativity isn’t something magical; it’s a skill--and it’s something you can have, too. Lehrer’s book is full of real-life examples of how individuals and corporations boosted their own productivity, and he shows you how you can do the same thing for yourself. (UPDATE: Lehrer's book was pulled from the shelves when it was discovered he fabricated quotes in Imagine.)

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Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job

Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job

Jon Acuff pioneered the successful website Stuff Christians Like while he was working IT at autotrader.com. He was tired of doing the “reverse Superman” every Monday morning--changing out of the clothes he’d worn to speak at conferences about Stuff Christians Like (his dream job) and into the khaki-and-polo corporate uniform of his day job. In Quitter, Acuff tells the story of how he left his day job for his dream job--and how you can do it, too.

(I attended the Quitter Conference last fall: head here to read my related posts about the future of the internet, relationships with "how" people and "wow" people, and balance as a game of twister.)

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Entreleadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom From the Trenches

Entreleadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom From the Trenches

Financial guru Dave Ramsey marries the concepts of entrepreneurism and leadership in this practical book of business advice. Ramsey reflects on 20 years in small business, exploring what leadership strategies have worked for his organization--and which ones have flopped, and why. You don’t have to be a business leader to benefit from this book.

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The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had

The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had

The book provides a roadmap aka The Mother of All Reading Lists for adults who long for the classical education they never had. Bauer provides numerous suggestions for reading across 5 genres—fiction, autobiography, history, drama, and poetry—as well as numerous hows and whys. This is the grown-ups’ counterpart to The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (one of the books I read over and over again).

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The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

Gottman is the famed researcher who’s able to predict with 91% accuracy if a couple will divorce after observing them for a mere 5 minutes. Gottman fleshes out what successful relationships have in common, and shows you how to view your own relationship through a marriage counselor’s eyes. Investing in your marriage is easier than you might think.

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Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice

Audiobook: 0.99 (Whispersync)

If you’ve never read a single Jane Austen book, summer is a good time to start. Jane Austen books are great for the pool or vacation, they’re easy to find in throwaway versions, free for kindle, and the topics are fresh and fun enough for the beach. Honest.

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The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible

$9.99$3.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Whispersync)

Southern Baptist Missionary Nathan Price heads off to the African Congo with his wife and 4 daughters in 1959, and nothing goes as planned. Though they bring with them everything they think they will need from their home in Bethlehem, Georgia--right down to the Betty Crocker cake mixes--the Prices are woefully unprepared for their new life among the Congolese, and they all pay the price.

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The Screwtape Letters

The Screwtape Letters

This short work of classic fiction contains only one character: the demon Screwtape, who is writing letters to his nephew Wormwood for the purpose of instructing him how to best tempt humans off their course (if they are bent on good) and into the service of the enemy (“Our Father Below”). This intriguing and unique book helps you come at the familiar concept of good vs. evil in an entirely fresh way.

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The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby

$9.99$1.99

Fitzgerald's classic was the topic of my first high school term paper—and despite that, I still love it. Fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby has built a mansion on Long Island Sound for the sole purpose of wooing and winning his lost love Daisy Buchanan, who married another man while Gatsby was serving overseas. This classic American novel captures the Jazz Age in all its decadence and excess, while weaving a wistful story of love and loss. Even if you've seen the movie (especially if you've seen the movie) you need to read the book.

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Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History

Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History

This is a real-life Ocean’s 11 tale of a 2003 robbery in Antwerp, Belgium, when thieves broke into a supposedly airtight vault and made off with 108 million dollars of loot. The crime was flawless, but the getaway was clumsy, and real-life diamond experts Campbell and Selby were called in to track down the thieves in a real-life worldwide goose chase.

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Ballad of the Whiskey Robber

Ballad of the Whiskey Robber

The Whiskey Robber is Attilla Ambrus, a gentleman thief who couldn’t quite make ends meet, so he turned to robbing banks to supplement his income in 1990s Hungary, all while playing for the biggest hockey team in Budapest. His brazen crime spree goes on for years, which would be unbelievable if he weren’t up against a police team that’s almost too incompetent to be true.

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Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures

Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures

$11.99$1.99

Wittman is a retired FBI agent and founder of its Art Crimes Team, and his day-in-the-life stories read like a spy thriller. His tale of going undercover to track down stolen masterpieces and bust art thieves depicts a seedy world that’s quite different from the polite cat-and-mouse games of The Thomas Crown Affair.

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What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

$2.99Audiobook: 2.19 (Whispersync)

Successful people purposefully use their mornings to focus on things that are important, but not urgent: things like nurturing your career, nurturing your relationships, and nurturing yourself. Read this guide, keep a time diary for a week as Laura suggests, and reap the benefits. (Read about my experience with making over my mornings here.) Add Audible narration for $2.49.

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Building a Life Out of Words

Building a Life Out of Words

Shawn tells the story of how he took a scary leap to transition to full-time writing after his business went bust. Practical tips from other accomplished writers on writing and the writing life are woven throughout, effectively breaking up the narrative and pacing the story. Shawn writes beautiful, reflective prose but somehow manages to avoid being heavy-handed with his words. This is no small feat. Beautiful story, beautifully written.

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The No Brainer Wardrobe

The No Brainer Wardrobe

Hayley walks you through the steps of creating a small wardrobe that works (a “capsule wardrobe”) and shares specific instructions for shopping thrift stores, value stores (like Old Navy), dressing while you’re pregnant, and transforming jeans and a t-shirt into a bona fide outfit. Read it on vacation so you can spend some time thinking it over without feeling like you need to immediately clean out your closet.

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Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

I’ll bet you weren’t assigned this breezy Cinderella-ish story set in 1930s Britain back in English class. When a placement agency sends unemployed Miss Pettigrew to the wrong address, she spends the day of her life with a glamorous nightclub singer, extricating her hour by hour from one scrape after another. Miss Pettigrew is light, charming and utterly delightful.

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Jayber Crow

Jayber Crow

$8.96$3.99

Jayber Crow returns to his native Port William, Kentucky after the 1937 flood to become the town’s barber. There he learns about the deep meaning of community, the discipline of place, and what it truly means to love. This is a gorgeous novel.

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Brideshead Revisited

Brideshead Revisited

$9.99$2.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Whispersync)

I came to this classic expecting a dry read, but was swept up in this epic coming-of-age story set in Britain between the world wars. I’ve read it ten times since then, entranced by the story of the Flyte family’s unraveling–along with the rest of Britain’s aristocracy–and by its themes of love, loss, and grace. Recommended reading for Downton Abbey fans.

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The Time Quintet

The Time Quintet

L’Engle begins her groundbreaking science fiction-fantasy series with the famous opening line “It was a dark and stormy night,” and plunges you headlong into the world of the Murry family, who must travel through time to save the universe. The novels are interwoven, but each stands on its own.

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Starbridge Series

Starbridge Series

8 great series for your summer reading list | Modern Mrs Darcy

Let me begin by saying some of you will hate this series. But some of you will love it, so: the first 3 books--beginning with Glittering Images--take place in the Church of England in the early 1930s. The latter 3 take place in the 1960s. Each book stands on its own, and each is narrated by a different character. While This is a gritty series--for Christian fiction, at least.

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Lord Peter Books

Lord Peter Books

Sayers is one of the greatest mystery writers of the 20th century, and many of her mysteries center around Lord Peter Wimsey--the aristocratic detective who loves expensive clothes, fine wine, and British wit. There are 11 novels featuring Lord Peter, and several short story collections, but they need not be read in order. The first is Whose Body? (published 1923), in which Lord Peter investigates a naked dead body found in the bath, wearing nothing but a pair of pince-nez.

My favorite is Gaudy Night (published 1935), a psychological thriller set at Oxford that features female protagonist Harriet Vane. Sayers is a mystery writer, but she approaches her topic delicately: though many of her novels feature murder plots, they’re not at all graphic.

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The Hunger Games Trilogy

The Hunger Games Trilogy

In the post-apocalyptic country of Panem, 12 poor districts are each forced to send two tributes to the oppressive Capitol’s annual Hunger Games: a gladitorial-style competition where the teens are forced to fight each other to the death while the district’s citizens have to watch. But rebellion is already brewing in the districts, and the Capitol gets more than it bargained for when Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her sister’s place as tribute.

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