Books I Read in 2012

I didn’t read as many books as I wanted last year. I was, you know, sort of busy with my own book tour. But I did manage to read the following, and am posting this list because people are always asking me for book recommendations and my response is often “Uh…” as my mind blanks on even the most recent book I read. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten some here. This year, I plan to keep an ongoing list. It’s another one of my new year’s not-resolutions-but-but goals/hopes this year.

I’m an impatient reader and I will give up on a book if I’m not engaged quickly.This list does not include all the books I started and didn’t finish, because I don’t want to call them out. There were merits in all but one I started, and maybe they will grab me if I try again. Sometimes it’s just the wrong time. Though some of the books included on the full list below sort of disappointed me, or had issues that bothered me after I finished, each one of these books was worth my time to read, and I hope you’ll check them out. Happy reading!

My Favorites

  • The Rules of Inheritance, Claire Bidwell Smith

This was probably my favorite book of the year. I was expecting it to be sad and it was, but it was also beautifully written and uplifting, too. I picked it up and thought I’d read just a little bit and then I finished it in two days despite having tons of work to do. I really loved it. It just came out in paperback. Go buy it!

  • The Kitchen Daughter, Jael McHenry

A modern family story full of ghosts—real and imagined—with writing that makes you hungry. Great for foodies.

  • The Lover’s Dictionary, David Levithan

The little dictionary entries tell the story of a relationship in alphabetical order. This was a gem and a super quick, fun, and surprisingly emotionally resonant read.

  • The Underside of Joy, Sere Prince Halverson

A complicated stepmom/mom story about two women who each feels she is the best caretaker for two young children after their father dies. Full of lovely sentences and great descriptions.

  • The Year of Fog, Michelle Richmond

A tense time-bomb of a mystery about a girl who disappears from a foggy SF beach.

  • Contents May Have Shifted, Pam Houston

Some of my absolute favorite lines of all time were written by Pam, and I found several more in this novel-in-pieces. Pam is so wise and her writing renders all the places she’s visited in such detail you can imagine you are traveling to all the exotic places, too, except you get the bonus of a smart and witty guide.

  • Tell the Wolves I’m Home, Carol Rifka Brunt

A coming-of-age story about sisters and jealousy and the little girl buried under the leaves of our past.

  • Wife 22, Melanie Gideon

A fun and funny read about a wife who dissects her marriage for a survey and makes some interesting discoveries along the way.

Full List

  • The Kitchen Daughter, Jael McHenry
  • Waking the Witch, Kelley Armstrong
  • The Underside of Joy, Sere Prince Halverson
  • The Hunter, John Lescroart
  • Silver Sparrow, Tayari Jones
  • Julia’s Child, Sarah Pinneo
  • Contents May Have Shifted, Pam Houston
  • White Horse, Alex Adams
  • Bitterblue, Kristin Cashore
  • The Servants’ Quarters, Lynn Freed
  • The Rules of Inheritance, Claire Bidwell Smith
  • Deadlocked, Charlaine Harris
  • Wild, Cheryl Strayed
  • Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Laini Taylor
  • Then Came You, Jennifer Weiner
  • Fly Away Home, Jennifer Weiner
  • The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver*
  • No One Is Here Except All of Us, Ramona Ausubel
  • Thirteen, Kelley Armstrong
  • Bastard Out of Carolina, Dorothy Allison*
  • The Age of Miracles, Karen Thompson Walker
  • The Year of Fog, Michelle Richmond
  • The Lover’s Dictionary, David Levithan
  • The Baker’s Daughter, Sarah McCoy
  • Reached, Ally Condie
  • Tell the Wolves I’m Home, Carol Rifka Brunt
  • Wife 22, Melanie Gideon
  • Before I Go to Sleep, SJ Watson


Did you read any of these books? What did you think?

A New Type of Picture Book

Contents May Have Shifted: A NovelPam Houston is one of my all time favorite writers. Waltzing the Cat is my favorite of her books so far, but I am so very very excited for her newest book, Contents May Have Shifted (isn’t that a great title?!) I’ve heard her read from this several times as she’s worked on it and everything has been fantastic. Half of it made me tear up. I’ve been waiting for this to be released since I heard her read the short story that inspired the whole thing and loved it. Less than 2 months to go!

Pam is a great reader and if you’ve never heard her in person, you should! She’ll be on tour starting in February, and I plan to be at her kick-off reading on Feb 6th with my copy of Contents May Have Shifted ready to be signed. It’ll be at Book Passage, an excellent bookstore in Corte Madera where I will also be making an appearance in April.

But if you’re like me and wish you could read the book right now, here is the next best thing: a collection of photos from Pam’s travels and quotes from the novel with each one.

“Spotting whales at sea is not so different than spotting deer in the woods. For hours you see nothing, and then you see one, and suddenly you realize you are surrounded.” Continue reading