Favorite Books of 2012

'Books' photo (c) 2011, Moyan Brenn - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I am loving reading all the Best Book lists in the blogosphere and have already added several titles to my "To-Read" list on Goodreads. I did not make a list of books I read this past year, so I don't even remember some of them (sadly...this is what mommy brain has done to me). But here are a few standouts from 2012 for me. And note many of these were just new to me in 2012, but have been on the market for several years.

Best All Around - Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand. This is one of those books you read and think, "How can this be possible?" and you're talking about both the subject matter and the unbelievable writing. I finished this book in Panera with tears streaming down my face. If you haven't read it, I won't spoil it, but it should be on the top of your list for 2013. It's that good.

Fiction - The Book of the Dun Cow by Walt Wangerin. My dad gave us this book last Christmas and Erik and I both read it. It's one of those books you want to fit into a neat allegory, but it's not that easy and it's not meant to be. It's beautifully written and tells a powerful story.

Favorite Book I Read With My Kids - This is a two-way tie between The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Little Pilgrim's Progress: From John Bunyan's Classic by Helen Taylor. I have to admit I had never read all of any of the Narnia books, and this was the first of three we read this year. And I also have to admit we only made it a little over halfway through Little Pilgrim's Progress. Sophie was so excited when Christian made it to the Celestial City and she just didn't have the heart to go through the journey all over again with Christiana, and frankly neither did I.

Book Meant for Kids That I Keep Stealing - Thoughts to Make Your Heart Singby Sally Lloyd-Jones. So good. Just so good.

Favorite Outreach-Focused Book - Tie between One-to-One Bible Reading by David Helm, and The Art of Neighboring: Building Genuine Relationships Right Outside Your Door by Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon. These are very different books, but work together. I appreciated many things from The Art of Neighboring, although it had in my mind some flaws. However, the takeaway for me was the freedom to simply love my neighbors without ulterior motives of trying to sneak the gospel in whenever I can.

Book that Made Me Laugh the Most - A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband "Master" by Rachel Held Evans. Maybe it's because I know Rachel and her family, or maybe because it's just clever writing, but I was surprised at how much I laughed reading this. I'm hoping to review it in the coming weeks (very late to the party), and there is much I disagree with, but Rachel is in my mind a great writer who works hard at her craft and the book is not surprisingly a best-seller as a result.

Favorite Book on Writing - Wordsmithy: Hot Tips for the Writing Life by Douglas Wilson. Short, helpful and full of wit, this book made me want to be a better writer just by reading it. Hopefully it also made me a better writer.

Book I'll Read Again - The Organized Heart: A Woman's Guide to Conquering Chaos by Staci Eastin. I've already written about this, but it is just that good so it makes this list as well.

So what should make my list in 2013? What were your favorites from this past year?