I have a tradition of tracking the books I read. I also track the books I’m currently reading and books that I’ve discovered throughout the year that I’d like to read.
This year I read a lot of novels. I also experimented with graphic novels and manga. I found one graphic novel that I absolutely loved but wasn’t successful with manga. Maybe I need to keep looking?
Next year I plan on being more intentional by reading books that will increase my knowledge rather than just entertain me. There are many books on my “interesting” list that could keep me busy reading all 2013 long.
These are the books I finished reading in 2012:
33 I read The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly, having just read a couple of other Michael Connelly books. I think I have another author I like.
Finished December 17.
32 I read The Reversal by Michael Connelly, having just read The Lincoln Lawyer.
Finished December 12.
31 I had to read The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly after watching the movie version — it was that good. I was impressed how closely the movie followed the book, but the book was better (as usual). Now having watched the movie again, I know how much better the book is. Highly recommended.
Finished December 6.
30 I read The Rule of Nine by Steve Martini after checking it out of the local library. Nine is entertaining but formulaic and predictable. It also ends with a cliff-hanger, a big no-no for me. If you can’t make me want to read the next book in the series without leaving an unfinished plot element, it’s not worth my reading another book in the series.
Finished November 29.
29 I reread American Assassin by Vince Flynn. Through his books, Flynn advocates for a small, unaccountable cadre of killers who eliminate America’s foreign problems. When I first read one of Flynn’s books, I was amazed at their absence of regard for civilized behavior. Since then, we’ve learned that this disregard is not limited to mere authors of escapist, best-selling thrillers. I would suggest that Flynn’s limited cadre would be much preferred to what America now does openly.
Finished November 20.
28 I read King City TP by Brandon Graham. As Amazon’s book description says, “Joe is a catmaster, trained to use his cat as any tool or weapon. His best friend, Pete, falls in love with an alien he’s forced to sell into green slavery, while his ex, Anna, watches her Xombie War veteran boyfriend turn into the drug he’s addicted to. King City, an underbelly of a town run by spy gangs and dark dark magic with mystery down every alleyway.” Also, lots of silly puns, but I don’t think I was on enough drugs to fully enjoy this.
Finished November 19.
27 In my search for different types of books, I have been looking for manga worth reading. I found Gunslinger Girl Omnibus Collection 1 (Vols. 1-3) by Yu Aida at the local library and got a couple volumes. To read the reviews, Gunslinger Girl has some dark, deep psychological meaning. All I see is a book where young, injured girls are bought from their parents, given artificial bodies, pumped full of drugs that make them forget their former lives and let them think they love their handlers and then commanded to assassinate people. Twisted? Certainly, but where is any redeeming quality? I won’t be reading the next collection.
Certainly, there must be manga worth reading somewhere. Anyone have a recommendation?
Finished November 16.
26 Flying home from Sacramento, I picked up Zero Day by David Baldacci in the airport and finished it the next day. An enjoyable read, similar to a Lee Child book, but without such a quirky hero.
Finished November 9.
25 When I walked to the library, I also picked up Stitches: A Memoir by David Small. I finally found a graphic novel that I love! Although it is about 300 pages, it is a quick “read.”
Finished November 6.
24 In my continuing quest for a good graphic novel, I walked to the Hillsboro public library during lunch and checked out Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes: The Authorized Adaptation by Ray Bradbury (author) and Ron Wimberly (illustrator). It was a quick and confusing read. In a couple of critical areas of the plot (including the climax), I thought I might have skipped a page. I even went back and checked to make sure. Nope! A quick perusal of SparkNotes suggests there’s a lot more to the original. Maybe I should read it.
Finished November 6.
23 I have been looking for another graphic novel worth reading. Earlier in the week, I discovered the Y: The Last Man series by Brian K. Vaughan (Author), Pia Guerra (Illustrator), and Jose Marzan Jr. (Illustrator). Stephen King’s comment, “The best graphic novel I’ve ever read” on the cover caught my attention. Unfortunately, there are either a bunch of smaller books for maybe $15 each, or some bigger, hardcover books for $30 each. Sorry, but I’m not spending that kind of money. I decided to try the library. Having a chance to go to the library, I discovered the graphic novel section and Y: The Last Man, Book 3, Deluxe Edition. Yeah, book 3. Not book 1. Oh well. I checked it out and finished it (more than 300 pages) the same night. Guess I’m going to place a hold on books 1 and 2. And maybe try to figure out how the smaller books fit in with the series…
Finished October 30.
22 While still on a longish business trip, I read Micro by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston. It was interesting, but the main plot vehicle was so unbelievable that it felt like I was watching The Magic School Bus.
Finished October 20.
21 While on a business trip, I read V for Vendetta by Alan Moore (author) and David Lloyd (illustrator). It was okay (and makes me want to see how well the movie adaptation was), but wasn’t something I’d re-read. I’m still looking for a high-quality graphic novel. Do they exist?
Finished October 18.
20 I re-started and finally finished Rabbi Paul: An Intellectual Biography by Bruce Chilton. I will never read Acts and Paul’s writing the same way again.
Finished September 14.
19 I re-read Killing Floor by Lee Child. There are “guy novels,” that describe the inner workings of guns and their operations and “gal novels” focused more on the inner soul. This, like all Lee Child books, is more of the former.
Finished August 13.
18 Darkness, My Old Friend by Lisa Unger. There are “guy novels,” that describe the inner workings of guns and their operations and “gal novels” focused more on the inner soul. This, like all Lisa Unger books, is more of the latter.
Finished July 16.
17 I read Explosive Eighteen: A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich. Good, stupid fun. :-)
Finished July 11 (sometime between 9:15 AM and 8:45 AM).
16 I purchased a few paperbacks for a trip to Taiwan. First I read Turning Angel: A Novel by Greg Iles.
Read July 5-6 (across the International Date line).
15 I’m not sure the Obamacare opinion qualifies as a book, but it’s longer than many I’ve read.
Finished July 3.
14 I took a class on continuous integration on April 3. The instructors recommended Continuous Integration: Improving Software Quality and Reducing Risk by Paul M. Duvall, Steve Matyas, and Andrew Glover. Turns out, one of my co-workers won a copy in a random drawing at the end of the class. He lent it to me to read. Woot!
This turned out to be a nice introduction to continuous integration, discussing the various aspects of continuous build, test, notifications, etc. We’re already starting to implement some of the practices described in this book.
Read April 16 through May 10.
13 I starting reading Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins immediately after finishing Catching Fire.
Read March 27-29.
12 I read Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins immediately after finishing The Hunger Games.
Read March 25-27.
11 I bought The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins on opening day for the movie and finished it the next day. It’s good enough that I immediately bought the next book in the trilogy.
Read March 23-24.
10 Reading Jesus: A Writer’s Encounter with the Gospels by Mary Gordon is another of the used books I bought on a shopping spree at Powell’s Books.
Read March 11-18.
9 I bought Jesus for the Non-Religious by John Shelby Spong on a used-book shopping spree at Powell’s Books.
Summary: Take Jesus, subtract all the miracles and a theistic God. According to Spong, you’re still left with a loving, inclusive God fully realized in the complete humanity of Jesus.
Read March 5-11.
8 I started re-reading Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived by Rob Bell on December 17. My brother’s mens group was discussing it. I got about half way through and got enamored with reading books on my Nook. March 4, I decided it was time to finish the book. I restarted at page one and read it straight through before getting out of bed.
I like it. (Yeah, not much of a review…)
7 Brother Bob lent me Forged: Writing in the Name of God–Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are by Bart D. Ehrman. I’ve read a few of Ehrman’s books. I thought Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why was good and really enjoyed The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. I didn’t enjoy this book as much. Ehrman is candid in saying this is his more “accessible” exposition on this topic. In my college courses, we joked about teachers who “waved their hands too much” instead of teaching the material. That’s what Ehrman did here: too much hand waving. I’m sure he has the material to back up his claims. I just wanted to see it.
Started late December 2011 and finished February 29.
6 Every year, Intel’s Sales and Marketing Conference invites a leadership consultant to inspire Intel’s SMG managers. This year was no exception — Steve Farber spoke. Incredible! Later that same day, I had a sample of his book The Radical Leap Re-Energized: Doing What You Love in the Service of People Who Love What You Do on my ereader and blew through it. I followed up with a purchase the next day.
I really enjoyed this book. It speaks to me about management/leadership in a style that resonates with me. Love, Energy, Audacity, and Proof, or summarized, “Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do.”
Read February 8-13.
5 Gary Walter mentioned A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I Am a Missional, Evangelical, Post/Protestant, Liberal/Conservative, Mystical/Poetic, Biblical, Charismatic/Contemplative, Fundamentalist/Calvinist, Anabaptist/Anglican, Methodist, Catholic, Green, Incarnational, Depressed-yet-Hopeful, Emergent, Unfinished CHRISTIAN by Brian D. McLaren. It’s a long title and one that McLaren says he wouldn’t use now. He prefers something like, Stumbling Toward a Generous Orthodoxy.
In Generous Orthodoxy, McLaren surveys different groups within Christianity, looking for and claiming the good in each. Each chapter closes with discussion questions worthy of answering.
Read January 26 through February 4.
4 I sampled and then read The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design by Leonard Susskind after finishing another book by the same author. I’m finally starting to understand some of this stuff, but much of it still goes over my P-brane. Maybe I should watch Nova’s The Elegant Universe.
Read January 12 through 26.
3 The Time Machine by H. G. Wells was a free book I downloaded onto my Nook. I ran out of books to read so I read it. It was okay, but I think Felix J. Palma’s note is spot on:
“I read this wonderful novel when I was a boy and it immediately became one of my favorite books. Yet when I revisited it as an adult, I was surprised to find I didn’t feel that same rush of emotion.
“I realized that part of the reason I was so taken with the book as a boy is that I actually believed a time machine could exist and that one day perhaps I could also travel into the future.”
Finished January 16.
2 Brother Bob recommended The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics by Leonard Susskind late last year. This was one of the first few books on my new Nook. I might have read it quickly, but it is not an easy read. I suspect I would benefit from reading it again to really grasp the concepts it teaches.
Instead, I got a sample of another of Leonard Susskind’s books that I hope to read in short order.
Started January 6, finished January 15.
1 I downloaded The Evolution of Faith: How God Is Creating a Better Christianity by Philip Gulley after I got a Nook for Christmas. I was interested in reading this because I’ve read three other books by Gulley and James Mulholland over the past couple of years on the topic of Universalism. In Evolution of Faith, Gulley describes a “non-traditional” form of Christianity (would he call it that?) he believes enables religion to remain relevant and viable in the 21st century.
Finished January 6.
Here are the books I’m reading now.
I discovered The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks at the local public library. This is a book that I will find and buy.
Dave Sharrock tweeted a link to Mark Miller’s blog post Understanding the Next Generation,” which mentioned You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church…and Rethinking Faith by David Kinnaman.
I’m reading Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry, Jean Greaves, and Patrick M. Lencioni. Let’s see what I can do for me EQ.
Started October 21.
These are books I’ve read about, that I’ve been told about, or that I’ve run across in the bookstore during 2012 and don’t want to forget about. I use this list when perusing book stores and the local public library.
Art King recommends a couple of books in the comments below: Why the West Rules–for Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future by Ian Morris, and The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker.
Gary Walter recommends Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.
Bill Ferriter recommends a few professional reads for educational leaders. Of these, Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman and Why School?: How Education Must Change When Learning and Information Are Everywhere by Will Richardson looked the most interesting.
Anna Powell-Smith recommends Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty by David Kadavy.
@sherileec mentions Management 3.0: Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders by Jurgen Appelo. Because my team is making the transition to Agile development processes, this looks interesting.
Brain Pickings recommends Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story by Jim Holt.
@jojohnson recommends Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism by Alvin Plantinga.
Bob Sutton recommends a bunch of books that every leader should read. These are the ones that I haven’t read and interest me.
Seth Godin recommends The Commitment Engine: Making Work Worth It by John Jantsch, plus a bunch of other books.
Lawrence Lessig recommends It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism by Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein.
Eric Barker recommends Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries by Peter Sims (and a bunch of other books in the same post). Looks good.
Gary Walter recommends Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz. Being Wrong has it’s on website.
Cousin Sherilee recommends The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) by Don Miguel Ruiz.
Mike Johnston of The Online Photographer recommends Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly About Security in an Uncertain World by Bruce Schneier.
Mike Johnston of The Online Photographer recommends God’s Mechanics: How Scientists and Engineers Make Sense of Religion by Guy Consolmagno.
Hugh Hewitt interviewed Clayton M. Christensen about his book How Will You Measure Your Life?
Donald Miller recommended Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by Bob Goff.
Seth Godin recommends The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business by Clayton M. Christensen.
Lawrence Lessig tweeted The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations by Ori Brafman.
Michael Tardiff of SolutionsIQ gave me his business card with Pair Programming Illuminated by Laurie Williams and Robert Kessler written on the back. Oh, and a comment like, “Very illuminating.” One more book for my to-read list.
Alex Sloley tweeted Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility by James P. Carse.
Dr. Ahmed Sidky recommended The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management: Reinventing the Workplace for the 21st Century by Stephen Denning at AgilePalooza.
I learned about The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries at Intel’s 2012 Agile Conference. It was recommended again in an open space session at AgilePalooza.
Roy recommended Science For The Airline Passenger by Elizabeth A. Wood, on January 16. Looks like this is a used-only proposition.
Daniel H. Pink recommends The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., on January 2.
Do you have any books you’d like to suggest I read?
4 responses to “The Books I Read in 2012”
I have two book recommendations in line with your New Year’s resolutions:
Both books paint on a broad sweep of human history, both with surprising and interesting propositions, and both very well written and entertaining.
Art, thanks for the book recommendations. I just checked — I’ll be able to get both books from our local public library. I edited my interesting books list to include your recommendations. :-)
I do like to read your list of books and will jot a few down for my list for 2013. So glad you read The Hunger Games Trilogy. Once I got started I could not stop so had to read 1-2-3 just like that!! Very absorbing and gripping.
I recommend heartily all of the non-fiction books I read in 2012. The fiction books were largely time wasters. :-(
Stitches is great! It’s a fast read and very well done.
The non-fiction books are largely (exclusively?) non-orthodox. I seem to prefer books like that.
Hunger Games was very entertaining, though I was surprised how cynical Suzanne Collins is by the third book. I watched the movie based on the first book and was impressed with the adaptation. I suspect by the time it gets to the third and fourth movies, I won’t be as impressed.
Did you have a favorite book of 2012?