Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

My Favorite 10 Books I read in 2012

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I love reading and I love books.

Some of my favorite books I have read have come from suggestions I find on the internet. I want to contribute to the sharing of good books to read by giving you a list of my favorite 10 books I read last year and why. I hope you find something you enjoy.

(All of the links are affiliate links, meaning that if you click on it and buy a book I get a few cents credit in my Amazon count. That just means I get to buy more books and make new recommendations next year. Thanks)

1. My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok

This novel is the story of a young Hasidic Jew who was born with the gift of drawing. As he grows older he is forced to address the tension between his religion and his art. His faith sees the world through a group of people who have dedicated their lives to God. His art, however, sees the world through his heart. The novel deals with the tension that occurs when these two ideas find themselves in the same space. This book has become one of my all time favorite novels.

2. Love Does by Bob Goff

This books is different from any other Christian book I have ever read. Most focus on telling you what you should or shouldn’t do, while others focus on telling who things you should believe. Goff’s goal is simple. He wants you to experience a life lived with Jesus and he shows you, through stories of his own, of how he has done it.  The book is a collection of stories from Goff’s life, but what an amazing series of stories he tells. I have given away more copies of this book than any other book I have ever read.

3. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

A classic that I had never previously read, but worth it, especially considering it helped to start a war. Even though the book is over 150 year old, many of the themes can still apply today. Stowe’s account of what slavery does to those who find themselves the objects of it will motivate anyone to do away with injustice in the world. Journey with Uncle Tom from his kind owners in Kentucky to the south where eventually he crosses path with the infamous Simon Legree.

4. No Greater Love by Mother Teresa

For whatever reason, my wife and I first discovered Mother Teresa this past year and her life has been a blessing to us.  As we have set out on our own journey in living a better story, words of wisdom from this small but amazing woman have been very helpful. In this short book she captures the “why” of the ministry she established, which for any of us is the most important part of our story. Her life is one to be read about and to modeled in anyway that each of us can. I didn’t stop with this one book, but I am reading more about this amazing lady.

5. A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle

Better known as the author of A Wrinkle in Time, this book is one of L’Engle’s few published non-fiction pieces. But like any good novelist, instead of telling you what is important in life, she shows you by telling stories from her. The book is essentially a collection of essays that at first appear to be random, but as you read through her words, many of the stray pieces come together beautifully. Her writing is beautiful and reading through these pages makes you feel like you are in her home sitting by the fire enjoying a cup of tea.

6. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

I’ve walked by countless bookstores (especially in airports) with these books sitting in the window and have always passed them by. After watching the movie, I decided to read all three books. They were incredibly well written and captivating stories. The first book is a story about a serial killer and the two people who finally solve that mystery after years. The second two books continue the story of the mysterious girl Lizabeth Salander including her difficult past.  (Warning:  Some of the themes are dark and these books will not be for everyone.)

7. Passport Through Darkness by Kimberly Smith

This book is the story of one woman’s amazing journey into the war torn country of Sudan. She set out to be a missionary in Spain, but eventually found herself going to Sudan after hearing about the atrocities committed against children and orphans as a result of a civil war. Smith gave much more than most would ever be willing to be able to clothe and feed a population of children that nobody else cared about. (Warning: Although this book is about a missionary, it contains very dark and difficult themes that may not be suited for everyone.)

8. Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis

At the age of 18, Davis went to Uganda over Christmas break to participate in a short term mission trip. Something happened that she never anticipated. She fell in love with the country and its people. Now she lives there full time and leads a ministry that clothes and feeds hundreds of kids that otherwise would go without. In addition she adopted 12 Ugandan children herself. This book contains her story, from the uncertainty of choosing this life for herself to the challenges she has endured along the way. It is a beautiful story.

9. Becoming Human by Jean Vanier

Vanier started a ministry that provides care for adult with disabilities, in particular mental disabilities. Through the challenges of this difficult but important work, Vanier has learned something different about what it means to be human. In the book he shares lessons he learned about the beauty of life and what it means to truly see the value in every single person. The goal isn’t to learn to be compassionate. The goal is to learn something about ourselves.

10. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

A classic book about self-management that I would recommend for anyone. I appreciate Covey’s focus not on a list of things to do, but on habits. The seven he details here are not exactly what you might expect either. Instead of telling you to get up early and to go to bed late, he shows you how to include what is truly important in life. He helps you learn what it means to view the world differently and be able to come to better solutions. He also teaches you how to maintain the ideas he shares in the book.

What was your favorite book that you read last year?

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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19 Replies

  1. Love Does by Bob Goff and The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson were probably my two favorites from this year. (Wrecked by Jeff Goins and Kingdom Journeys by Seth Barnes made my top 5 for 2012.)

    1. I agree. I’ve read all of them and they are all worth it.

  2. You’ve had a good year, Jeremy. What a great list. My favorite? Perks of being a Wallflower.

    1. I should have included that one. it was definitely a favorite.

  3. Probably my favorite was $100 Startup…it has so many insightful tips that are easily applicable. My husband jokes that he can’t read a complete sentence in it because I marked it up with so many Post-It notes!

    1. Another good book, especially for those with a small business.

    2. I’m adding this to my list for 2013.

  4. Even though I received a copy of Love Does from Thomas Nelson, it was my favorite book. Inspiring and amazing stories – and the texture of the book cover begs you to never put it down. I’ve used it in sermons, speeches, Bible classes, blog comments – lots of fun and genuinely good stuff in it. Love is an action!

    The most helpful, 2nd year in a row, is Zig Ziglar’s “Better than Good” audio version.

    1. Although I am familiar with him, I’ve never read Ziglar. Thanks for sharing that one.

      1. I honestly listen to it multiple times a year. I love the stories of perserverance, of thinking big, and of understanding my purpose.

  5. Great book list. I really enjoyed The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson.

  6. My favorite was Love Does. Bob did an amazing job of capturing what a life full of whimsy and fun can do for a person. If only we could catch onto his passion and live a life like that.

  7. The Presidents Club was an enlightening look into the history of our country and how the only person who can appreciate the pressures of being president is a former president. Not sure if it was #1 for the year, but really enjoyed it.

  8. Great list, Jeremy! I’m going to check out the ones I haven’t read. Love Does was definitely at the top of my list. I, like you, also bought and gave away more copies of that book than any other ever. My second favorite was Wisdom Meets Passion by Dan Miller.

  9. Thanks, Jeremy! 7 Habits… was probably my top book of 2012 as well. I’m reading the StrengthsFinder material (SF 2.0, Strengths-Based Leadership) and Marcus Buckingham’s Now, Discover Your Strengths and enjoying that

  10. Katharine Trauger

    One book I re-read every year, and every year it remains my favorite of the year:
    In Silence: Growing up Hearing in a Deaf World, by Ruth Sidranski.
    The woman is a magical author, telling of her life as the hearing daughter of two beloved, profoundly hearing-impaired parents.
    Her words dance, like sign language.
    I don’t know how she does it! Every year, I re-read it, telling myself THIS time I’ll figure it out, and every year, on about page 87, I realize I’m happily lost in it and she’s done it again. It’s the only book I’ve ever read six times (besides the Bible). And I cry more every time. Cannot explain it.
    Next year, I’ll figure out how she does it.

  11. My favorite on your list is 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Covey
    One of the most spiritual books I’ve read in my lifetime.

    How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie
    Good to Great by Jim Collins
    Bringing out the best in People by McGinnis
    Delivering Happiness by Tony Heish (sp)
    How Full is your Bucket by Tom Rath

  12. Ron

    I too love reading and books, and usually read 30+ books/year, most of which are non-fiction. Last year I read 5 novels, about 3 or 4 more than usual. The one I enjoyed the most was 11/22/63 by Stephen King. The best non-fiction books were World Wide Mind by Michael Chorost, The Speed of Trust, by Stephen M.R. Covey, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, and The Soul of Baseball by Joe Posnanski.

    1. Some I’ve heard of and some I haven’t. Thanks for the suggestions.

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