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2012 Books

2013 January 8
by Julie Clawson

Usually at the end of the year I post a list of the books I read that year. I’m a tad late this year, but this is mostly for my own benefit anyway. But it’s always fun to post the list and see if others have read the same books or have suggestions that this list might spark.

As for favorites, I very much enjoyed diving into books on Theopoetics and Social Trinitarianism. Both were topics I needed to research for writing projects and the ideas have captured my imagination. Those approaches to theology (which overlap quite a bit) make sense to me and will be frameworks I will be returning to. As for the fiction I read my favorite this year was Deborah Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches. It is one of those books that so thoroughly draws you into its narrative that it takes a moment to reorient yourself to reality once you look up from its pages. Maybe it’s because her career started as an academic or because it is her first novel (and firsts are always the most well written, but obvious reasons), but it was one of the most well-written works of popular fiction I have read in a long time. I am currently devouring its sequel and eagerly await the announcement of the third book’s publication date. For similar (but opposite) reasons, I wouldn’t recommend the Hendees’ Noble Dead series. The first two books were okay for that genre (fantasy/vampire hunter), but obviously once they got the contract for the multiple book series the writing quality plummeted. I know that writers once they are expected to pump out that book a year don’t have the time to construct as engaging of a novel as they did to first catch an agents’s/publisher’s eye, but sometimes it is just far too obviously bad.

But enough complaining, here’s the list. I would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations!




7 Responses leave one →
  1. kelliewilder permalink
    January 9, 2013

    Curious to know why you included 50 SHADES?

    • January 9, 2013

      Why I read them or why I admitted to it? :)
      I was curious about the popularity, I enjoyed the books, and I am fascinated about why they so quickly became the highest selling books ever. What is lacking in our culture that they speak to? People are either mocking them or condemning them, few are looking into how they are offering an option of embodiment into a culture that has preached dualistic approaches to the body for centuries. Yes, the books have their issues, but they are a manifestation of a longing for a way being a holistic self that women especially have been denied. And that is something I think is more important than most people are realizing.

      • kelliewilder permalink
        January 11, 2013

        Thank you for your reply. When I say I am curious I really am interested in the message that the books spoke to you. I think you are trying to say something but I am not sure what it is…I understand the dualistic approach that we as Christians have been taught. I’m with Rohr when he says, “Our Western minds do not process paradoxes very well…we are better at rushing to judgment and demanding a complete resolution to things before we have learned what they have to teach us.”
        I would agree also that women have been denied a holistic self, in many places still today we are denied even a “self.” So I guess without reading the books for myself, if I can ask, could you give me the message that you took away from the books and why specifically you would want women to read them?

  2. January 10, 2013

    Thank you for this blog. It has a lot of great information and some great contributors. Interesting, clear and precise. Great job Julie.

  3. Susan Landis-Steward permalink
    January 19, 2013

    I just read your post on disability, then found this one. Being a bibliophile, I was initially excited. Until I discovered that none of the non-fiction that appeals to me is available in e-book format.

    As a woman of a certain age, with failing eyesight, I can only read on my e-reader where I can adjust font size and other factors that allow me to continue to enjoy the printed word.

    And, as a publisher of e-books, I know that it is neither difficult nor expensive to put a book into e-format. Nor is it difficult for authors to request that their book come out as an e-book at the same time it appears in hardcover or paperback.

    Just another example about not thinking about those of us who are disabled.

    • January 19, 2013

      I hear you. I think I’ve clicked the “request this book in kindle form” for most of the books on this list. It is frustrating to not have options. I have trouble managing larger books with one hand, so a kindle is a huge help.

  4. Karl permalink
    January 21, 2013

    My wife is currently reading “A Discovery of Witches” and enjoying it. Some of the books I read this year that I think you’d enjoy if you haven’t already read them include:

    Robin Hobb’s Farseer, Live Ship Traders and Tawny Man trilogies (all of which are related). Also her unrelated Soldier Son trilogy. I mentioned one or two of Hobb’s characters in a post comment thread of yours a while back that asked about strong female characters in fiction/fantasy.

    Books 1 and 2 of the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss (“The Name of the Wind” and “The Wise Man’s Fear”) – can’t recall if I read those in late 2011 or early 2012 but loved them.

    Fevre Dream, by George RR Martin (his first published novel)

    Daniel Abraham’s “Long Price Quartet” (aptly dubbed ‘fantasy for grown-ups’) and also the first two books in his “Dagger & Coin” series, “The Dragon’s Path” and “The King’s Blood”. Abraham is a major new name on the fantasy scene – I read him because he was highly recommended by both GRR Martin and Patrick Rothfuss.

    I’m nearing the end of the second book in Steven Erikson’s “Malazan Book of the Fallen” series. It’s an evocative, intriguing series but I’m not sure if I’ll stick it out to the end or not.

    Les Miserables, unabridged version. Somehow I made it through college including a poli sci major and near-minor in English/Lit, without ever reading Les Mis in its entirety. The publicity around the movie version of the musical inspired me to finally read Hugo’s powerful story.

    Watership Down – read aloud to our kids

    Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead, by Orson Scott Card. Somehow I made it through adolescence without ever reading any Orson Scott Card even though I enjoyed fantasy. Read these 2 on the recommendation of a friend.

    Handling Sin, by Michael Malone. Check out the description on Amazon. Might be my favorite book I read all year. I know it made me lough out loud more than any book in recent memory. Having grown up in the south I think you’d appreciate it all the more.

    Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

    Torn, by Justin Lee.

    A Year of Biblical Womanhood, by Rachel Held Evans

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