Best Reads for 2012

One of my goals this year was to read more. I read 44+ books in 2011 (With the best 10 listed in THIS POST). Including the homeschooling books, cookbooks (yes, I read those cover to cover), and e-books, I at least doubled that number in 2012.

And I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you.

PLEASE NOTE: Most of these books have been published for years. I’m just that far behind in my reading. I’m hoping some of you have missed these along the way and I can enhance your library request list for 2013.
Also note: I am not an affiliate of Amazon. I just prefer visuals and they provide such an easy way of doing that. Feel free to click on these images to find out more about the book, but do not feel obligated to purchase from them, etc…

Favorite Memoir/Biography

It’s a toss up between these two:

Both are so different and yet completely relevant. Inspiring. Eye opening.
And this one I borrowed from my hubby’s bookshelf and oh my. It’s long, but worth it.

Favorite Novel

I’m not a huge novel reader, but I devoured this one in a weekend! So good.

Surprised Me The Most

I have to be honest. I didn’t expect 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker to hit me as hard as it did. You see, extravagant is not an adjective to describe me. It’s been a year since I’ve purchased any new clothing for myself. And I wouldn’t consider my home cluttered. Until I read this, looked inside myself and realized I have much to shed…

Was so Good I Had to Read it Twice

This book hit me so hard I had to read it twice. You might have noticed, I quote from it often. And to think, I discovered this on my own (well, my hubby’s) bookshelf!

Friends, it will make you look in the mirror and question your own spirituality. Even if you don’t agree with everything he says — you’ll see grace in a whole new way. And it’s a really quick read!

Need to Add to My Personal Library

I’m not sure why it took me so long to read these. They’ve been out awhile. But I’m so glad I fixed that this year. The Ragamuffin Gospel and A Circle of Quiet I had checked out from the library (more than once). The Pursuit of God I own on my kindle. Even still, I think I’ll be adding these to my own personal library this year so I can mark them all up!

Favorite Cookbook

I read this cookbook a couple years ago and have re-read it multiple times. I finally added it to my cookbook collection and enjoy referring to it while I’m trying to toss in extra veggies into my dishes.

A number of these muffins and cereal bars, I make a couple times a month. If you haven’t looked at this cookbook before, I do recommend doing so.

I was going to have an honorary mention category, but I couldn’t narrow it down…

Earlier this year, I started listing the books I was reading on my blog (not including the homeschool or cookbooks). It was buried in my Personal Bucket List and hard to find, however. Going forward, I plan on giving what I’m reading it’s own page, making it easy to locate. Please feel free to visit the page at any time (You may find it HERE). I would love if you would also whisper out suggestions of some to add throughout the year!

How about you, friend? What have you read recently that is still resonating with you? What book would you like to see me add to my list for 2013? I’d love to hear. 

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,


29 thoughts on “Best Reads for 2012

  1. Hi Nikki!
    I feel like I haven’t been here in awhile, but I do read your posts via my email inbox. 🙂 I popped over from the email because I LOVE books and reading. While reading this post, I also went to your 2011 bks and I’m not sure how many other links. I should’ve checked the time when I came over. lol I like that you’ve added your Library page. Hopefully, I’ll remember to comment there so we can trade book recomendations.

    You said you don’t read a lot of fiction, but I have to say fiction is one of the only ways I can truly relax and stop thinking about other things (things to do, things I want to write, work, etc.). My favs are Christian fiction and mystery/suspense. So, Christian suspense writers are favs of mine. (I highly recommend Terri Blackstock.) I love Christian non-fiction too and have stacks of books waiting to be read, both hard copies & on my Kindle. I just can’t get to them all quick enough. 😦

    Books I would recommend are Do You Know Who I Am? by Angela Thomas and The Shelter of God’s Promises by Sheila Walsh. Also, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst.

    I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and blessings on your new year. Can’t wait to see where God leads us in 2013!

    In Christ,

    • I’m so glad you stopped by, Laura! Thank you!
      And I should clarify–I do read fiction. Just not as much. I probably get a half dozen novels read in a year. I enjoy mystery/suspense, so I’ll be adding Terri Blackstock to my list in 2013–thank you! (yay, my library even has some!)

      You and Wendy @SavedSister both recommended Sheila Walsh’s book, so I’m going to start there. And I have read Lysa’s book–don’t know why it’s missing on my Library page…

      Looking forward to seeing God move through the both of us in 2013 as well, Laura. I treasure you and need to stop by your place more, too! (though I receive your posts in my email, too!)

      All for Him with hugs to you,

  2. Hi dear Nikki
    It seems we have quite the same favorite authors. I just love Brennan Manning, Mike Yaconelli and A.W. Tozer. The Pursuit if God is my all time favorite. Have you ever read Brother Lawrence’s “The Practise of the Presence of God”? That book changed my life!
    Much love

    • Hello Mia. Trust you had a joy/wonder-filled Christmas!

      I have not read anything by Brother Lawrence and am adding that to my 2013 list–thank you for the recommend!

      (no wonder we get along splendidly…)
      Hugs to you!

  3. Hey there Nikki!! I really enjoyed this post, as I work in a used paperback bookstore and am always interested in what people are reading and which books have had a big impact on their lives. And, yes, I’ve noted each time you’ve referred to some of these mentioned above. My own personal reading habits stink. I’m a fluff reader to specifically allow my brain to relax and calm down. I’ve never been really wise with choosing material to expand my thinking, however it’s now totally a recreational experience. I’ve been thinking it’s past time to reverse this trend and head into meatier material. Thanks for being a part in me choosing to do this…yes, I realize you didn’t know, but your choices had been already working within me prior to this post of yours. Not sure how successful I will be, as I truly am a fiction reader, but my goal is to knock off just one non-fiction and keep adding more as the year goes. We’ll see if I can make it through the one!! LOL

    • Why did I not know this, Donna–you work in a used paperback bookstore?!? Oh I am just inhaling that goodness…. ; ) how FUN!
      I get the “Fiction addiction” as my grandma used to call it. That’s all I used to read, too. And really, there’s not much wrong with that as long as you are soaking in knowledge from God’s Book regularly!

      If you do want to try a non-fiction book this year, I’d recommend starting with a memoir or biography of some sort as they’re a great transition. They still tell a story while challenging you to look at your own life. I prefer missionary biographies/memoirs for some reason and can give you a good list if you’d like!
      Otherwise, if you want to read a good challenging book that’s easy to read, let me know and I’ll send you a list of ones I’d look into!

      Enough about me–I want to know who your favorite fiction author is! I read a half dozen or so novels a year. Would love to read one of your favorites in 2013!

      • I don’t have one favorite. I like many, though I suppose to name a couple. I’ve been reading the Virgin River series by Robyn Carr and The Sweet Magnolia series by Sherryl Woods. Like I said earlier, I read fluff, so I don’t read anything that will make me cry or get me angry for the character’s sake. These authors have characters that care about each other and are family oriented. I’ve also read Francine Rivers and remember when she wrote this book. It was a big deal in the romance line at the time because of it’s theme. I think she did a super job, though it was an usual subject at the time. Now, to get away from my normal type of romance, I read a valentine present my daughter gave to me…it was The Last Valentine by James Pratt, which I thought was good.

  4. Hey Nikki girl! I love seeing what you read! Francine Rivers is a favorite of mine and I was just listening to an audio advent series by Bonhoeffer “God is in the manger”. I love reading especially this time of year. I hope your Christmas week has been memorable. ~ Blessings out, Amy

    • Amy! I’ve missed you, girl! I would have to say for fiction, Francine Rivers is a favorite of mine, too. And I’m going to do the Bonhoeffer advent series next year as a few people recommended that to me this year. Thank you! Love and hugs to you, friend. Can’t wait to see how God uses you in 2013!! ::HUGS:: ~ nikki

  5. At the beginning of the year I read Ann Voskamp’s book, “One Thousand Gifts”. Little did I know at that time that this deliberate practice of finding gratitude in the smallest of things would carry me through some very hard days. It was amazing to see God’s blessings on those dark days. I even can thank God for those days. I loved the book so much that I bought a stack this fall which have been passed to those that are going through their own hard days, as well as many for Christmas gifts. Have you read it?

    I’m headed over to Barnes and Noble right now to use my Christmas gift card on “Messy Spirituality”! Thank you for the suggestion. 🙂

  6. I just finished Bonhoeffer. I read his writings on the Psalms at the same time. I’m planning on spending this next year with him as my main mentor. Goes along with my one word “follow.” I don’t have a chance for fiction much, but Redeeming Love has been a favorite of mine for years. You should pick up The Mark of the Lion Trilogy next. It was amazing and surprising to have been so revitalizing to my faith at that time. Yep, 7 has been tossed around me for several months and I guess your’s is the final reminder to pick it up in 2013. Love Brennan Manning. Always have – he helps this being-reshaped perfectionist remember all is grace before the Lord.

    Such a lovely visit back on your space. I feel like I’ve just emerged from a long, long sleep. So good to be awake again and to see your smiling face. I love your Radiate button. It’s fitting.

    • Oh, I need to add Bonhoeffers writing on the Psalms to my list–thank you! And you are the third person to suggest the Mark of the Lion Trilogy to me–I must do that–thank you, Tobi!

      I’m so thrilled to see you here, friend. Hugs to you!

  7. I am bookmarking this post, as I am always looking for good books to read. Between my Kindle and the “real” books stacked on my nightstand, I have so many to finish myself. That is definitely a good “resolution” to add to my list! 🙂 Right now I am enjoying “The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective” and “Whispers from the Cross.” I also have read a few Christian fiction titles recently that were really enjoyable, too. I read “The Christmas Tree” with my kids and it was so enjoyable. It was the story of the Rockefeller Center tree and how an orphan who befriended the tree gave it up as an ultimate sign of love. Very touching story. I hope you had a beautiful Christmas, friend, and I wish you the happiest and most blessed of New years. 🙂

    • Thank you for sharing, Lisa! I haven’t read either of those books–I’m so glad you shared them with me! I did have a wonder-filled Christmas and trust you did as well. Thank you for your wishes and friendship. I’m so blessed by you!

    • Ha! I bet that becomes challenging, Rosann! I wonder what I’ll do…I made pumpkin muffins this morning and threw in some hidden goodies while my son was stirring the bowl. so far, so good! 🙂

  8. Hi Nikki, I loved reading your recommended list and several of them I have already read and enjoyed. I plan to add Messy Spirituality to my 2013 list. I also love to read devotional books and would highly recommend “I Lift Up My Soul” by Charles Stanley and “Jesus Calling.” by Sarah Young. Wishing you a wonderful and blessed new year!

    • No wonder we’re so kindred, Joy. I have read the Stanley devo you mentioned and “Jesus Calling” is now started, waiting for me on my nightstand! I’m enjoying it so far. Thank you!
      Looking forward to seeing what God has in store for you this year, friend. Love and hugs to you!

  9. Wow several of the books on your bookshelf in 2012 were on my bookshelf too.
    I too was surprised by how much I resonated with Jen Hatmaker’s 7. {Our lifestyle is not as extravagant as hers either}. I loved Deliciously Deceptive but after about six months my older girls figured it out and started throwing fits when the pink cookbook came out. I guess I need to be sneakier. I am putting “messy spirituality” on my to-read list on goodreads for sure. Speaking of goodreads {its a social networking website for book worms} I think you would really enjoy that place. I love it. It is such a good way to find new books and authors and is super easy to post reviews to your blog. You inspired me and I did “A year of books” post myself.
    Happy New Year and Cheers!

    • Thank you, Leah for stopping by and sharing! I need to check out goodreads–thank you!

      And I’m heading over to read your post. yay!
      If you do end up reading “Messy Spirituality”, please let me know what you think of it!
      Love and hugs to you!!

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