2012 Recap

Inspired by my friend Crystal, I’ve put my 2012 book list here, and my brief thoughts on them. As many of you know, I tend to (like my academic parents) fixate on a topic and read as much as I can on it. This year seems to reflect that more than others. We’ll see what my passion/s are for 2013. Note too that I have gotten into the ritual of reading and writing before bed, or sometimes over lunch break, to center myself. As I did as a kid, I gorge on books on vacations. And several of these were done as all-church studies, which may have changed the experience and my perception.

Spiritual Disciplines Handbook

Love it. One of my favorites and standards

Economy of Love

This one challenged me a lot, but in good ways. I think it would be better in a study than individually.

True Stories of Censorship Battles in America’s Libraries

Honestly, I had higher hopes for this. It left me more depressed than encouraged and empowered.

The Juvenalization of American Christianity

Again, one that challenged me, but that I would highly recommend. Good food for thought.

Soul Tending

Love. This is another one I think I’ll be returning to again and again.


Again, super love. Great resource for anyone who does faith formation with young people

Soul Searching

Beautiful writing, interesting points.

Souls in Transition

Much like the one above. If you only read one, I’d pick Soul Searching

Practicing Passion

This one really spoke to me and challenged me to rethink how I act.

Healing Trauma

I wasn’t thrilled with the writing, but the content was really good. Good reference on hand for those struggling.

Living Faith

I’ve liked other books by Jimmy Carter, but this one just didn’t do much for me. It seemed a little dry and scattered. And a repeat of his other books.

Mixed Blessings

Barbara Brown Taylor is one of those authors I like to read when snuggled up and want something encouraging. This one is a collection of her early sermons.

Doubting: Growing through the uncertainties of faith

I love the content, but the writing style is a challenge to get through. I wouldn’t choose this as my first go-to if someone asked for a book to get through a dark night of the soul experience

Small Wonder

Barbara Kingsolver is another favorite, and I especially like her essays. I like High Tide in Tuscan better, but this is a delicious and thought-provoking read too

A Year of Biblical Womanhood

Not going to lie, I was super skeptical of this one. I thought I would be arguing in my head with her the whole time. There were sections that got a little tedious, and sometimes she was just a bit melodramatic for me, and I got tired of hearing about her crying spells. That said, the exegetical analysis was beautiful and there were sections that really spoke to me. Being part of the blogging project on this was fun though and definitely enriched the experience for me.

God: A Biography

I couldn’t get through this one. It came highly recommended to me, but the writing and content was just a bit too dense

Turn Right at Machu Picchu

Love, love , love. Great story, fun writing, history that I didn’t know delivered in a way that didn’t make me think I was learning things

Daring Greatly

As I’ve mentioned before, Brene Brown is one of my heroes, and perhaps one of my best “discoveries” of 2012. This one leaned a little more towards those with children, so I’d recommend it more for that crowd.

Gifts of Imperfection

This book, no exaggerating, has changed my life. This is one I know I”ll be returning to again and again for inspiration

What the Heck am I going to do with my Life?
Like the one above, this is one of those books that very much spoke to me this year. I appreciated the journal exercises and that it wasn’t “preachy”

40 Days with Parker Palmer

Another one of my heroes! Love this guy. This book is more journaly with short prompts. Again, one I will return to. I got the Dietrich Bonhoeffer  version to work through this year, and am excited about this series.

Let Your Life Speak

Parker Palmer. Nuff said. Please read it. I loved The Courage to Teach, but I think this one is more universally applicable

Unbinding the Gospel

I’m mixed on it. I disagreed on some points, found the title misleading (not really much about gospel in it…) didn’t find the journaling exercises especially interesting, and thought most of the ideas were fairly obvious–or just not applicable to me right now.

All this said, I enjoyed meeting the people in my small group and loved the prayer partner exercise. From talking to others, it sounds like we benefited from gathering around a text as a group–even if the content wasn’t super awesome or life-changing for many of us. I look forward to working on a variation of this text with middle schoolers in the coming months.

Acedia and me

The writing wasn’t amazing, but the content was eye-opening and powerful, and at least to me, something I hadn’t heard much about

The Sacred Echo

I love Margaret Feinberg. This one has passages that give me goosebumps

Still: Notes on a Mid-Life Faith Crisis

Again, a favorite. Beautiful, powerful, vulnerable, honest, poetic.

Middle School Ministry: A comprehensive guide to working with early adolescents

Must-read for anyone that works with middle schoolers, whether in a church setting or not. Clarified a lot of things for me, and the author’s passion is contagious.

The Book of God: The Bible as a Novel

I was skeptical of this one too, but loved it. It again clarified things for me, made me think, and drew me in with the poetry of his writing style.

Shades of Grey (no, not 50 Shades of Grey)

Fun book on disutopia that reminded me a lot of 1984 without all the torture scenes.


Hilarious. The story of Jesus as told by his “childhood pal Biff” that explains some of the “what the heck did Jesus do between the ages of 12 and 30” issue. I look forward to reading more by this author in 2013. Being Christian not required to enjoy this one.

Hunger Games Trilogy

Super mixed on this one. An easy read, and the movie helped me do Bible study with my middle schoolers that went over really well. But still….ehhh

Living your Strengths

Not impressed. Dry and didn’t give me any new insights.

Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion against Low Expectations

This came highly recommended to me by a teenager, but I wasn’t thrilled with it. Again, nothing earth-shattering, and seemed to “bash” adults a little more than I was comfortable with.

God’s Voice Within: The Ignatian Way to Discover God’s Will

I love the Ignatian Examen practice and lectio divina, but I couldn’t finish this one. Dry, dense. Maybe I’ll try again in a year or two?

Why Christian?

I liked this a lot because it brought up questions that I’ve wrestled with and provided clear explanations that didn’t seem condescending and also left room for further exploration. My church used this for the Lenten series last year, which enriched the experience too.

Trusting God: A Girlfriends in God Faith Adventure

I couldn’t get through this one. I disagreed with a lot of the theology presented, didn’t follow their analogies, and found it oversimplified too much.

The Postmistress

Beautiful, couldn’t-put-it-down writing.


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