What I read in 2012


Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods

Susan Campbell, Getting Real: 10 Truth Skills You Need to Live an Authentic Life

Joan Chittister, The Monastery of the Heart: An Invitation to a Meaningful Life

Everything about this book was beautiful and brilliant. Sister Joan Chittister is one of the women of faith I admire most. Her writing is an amazing balance of worthwhile and poetic. Reading this was a spiritual journey for me: I found myself writing every other line in my journal so I could keep it forever.

Pema Chodron, The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times

Amy Frykholm, See Me Naked: Stories of Exile in American Christianity

Bernd Heinrich, Summer World

Joanna Macy, Widening Circles

Henri Nouwen, Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith

All of Nouwen’s stuff will leave marks on the heart, but I really, deeply loved this book, compiled by his students. He offers helpful questions to guide spiritual growth as well as useable reflection practices. This isn’t just for spiritual directors or religious leader, it’s for anyone who is seeking to deepen their faith.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

Ronald Rolheiser, The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality

Amber C. Sumrall and Patricia Vecchione, eds. Storming Heaven’s Gate: An Anthology of Spiritual Writings by Women

This was a surprise find for me at the library. The writing in this anthology is heart-rending. Every piece made me want to be a better writer. Every piece made me celebrate being a woman of faith. This is a powerful collection of storytelling!

Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World

Starting SmallTeaching Tolerance Project, Starting Small: Teaching Tolerance in Preschool and the Early Grades

For anyone who runs children’s classrooms or programs, this book is an excellent resource. The case studies are engaging and interesting, but it was the research and practical suggestions that really sold me. This is a worthwhile read for educators.

Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., What Makes You So Strong? Sermons of Joy and Strength 


Bradley P. Beaulieu, The Winds of Khalakovo

Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad

Robin Hobb/Megan Lindholm, The Inheritance & Other Stories

I’m not much for short stories, but some of these just delighted me. I couldn’t do Robin Hobb’s longer fantasy stuff, but I thought her short stories here were inventive and interesting. I’m especially recommending “A Touch of Lavender” and “Silver Lady and the Fortyish Man.”

Ursula K. LeGuin, The Earth Sea Series (includes: A Wizard of Earthsea; The Tombs of Atuan; The Farthest Shore; Tehanu; Tales from Earth Sea; and The Other Wind)

Elizabeth Moon, Legacy of Gird

Elizabeth Moon, Oath of Fealty

Elizabeth Moon, The Deed of Paksennarion

It’s clearly no secret that I enjoyed Elizabeth Moon’s series on Paksenarrion. (I also read the prequel and sequels to Paksennarion year.) For anyone wanting to find a new fantasy series to love — complete with a strong-willed heroine — this is the ticket. I love Moon’s pace of storytelling, her fabulously imperfect characters, and her complex fantasy world.

Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles

Audrey Niffenegger, Her Fearful Symmetry

Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear

Hands down the best fiction I read all year. These books are full of fascinating characters, addicting storylines, and flawless writing. Do not read unless you are prepared to suffer the agony of waiting for the next one in the series to be released. Rothfuss will be a legacy for the rollicking ride that is this series.

J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey


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