My Books for 2012

2012 books 

I read more books this year than ever before:  142.   Thanks to my family, friends, students, and online and on-site colleagues for giving me so many ideas about what to read this year. Of course, my list would be shorter and duller without Nerdy Book Club, the Facebook groups Centurions and Book Lovers, and my Goodreads friends. (Some of you are probably chuckling because you’re in several of those categories.) My supportive school library and excellent local library are big-time reader blessings too.

If every book we read changes us a little bit, and I believe that’s true, I’m grateful for the excellent books that came to me this year. Last year I chose one book as the best book I read all year. This year I have five stand-outs. Each of these five books is unforgettable and challenged me in one way or another. They are presented here in the order I read them this year. They are not ranked against each other.

11/22/63.   Stephen King’s best book in years gives us a time travel story blending fiction and nonfiction elements in a story leading up to the JFK assassination.

The Fault in Our Stars.   John Green’s story about love and friendship between teen-age cancer patients is funnier that you might expect and completely satisfying in every way.

See You at Harry’s.   Jo Knowles’s well-crafted novel about a family full of complicated characters is the book that I’ve been thinking about since I first read it last spring.  If you’ve never read a Jo Knowles book, you owe it to yourself to make it a resolution.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.  Susan Cain describes the important roles that introverts play in society and why society tends to under-value and under-estimate the contributions of introverts. Those of us involved in education will see implications and applications galore for our work.

The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power.  The JFK assassination also figures prominently in the latest installment of Robert A. Caro’s massive biography of LBJ. This volume focuses on how Johnson handled the vice-presidency and the early months of his own presidency following Kennedy’s death.

Here is a list of books I read in 2012, including links for those that I reviewed or wrote about in more depth:

1. Stephen King: 11/22/63
2. Scott Johnson and Julie Kinstler: Once There Were Giants
3. Chris Raschka: A Ball for Daisy
4. Randy Wayne White: Ten Thousand Islands
5. Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol
6. Brian Selznick: Wonderstruck
7. Ellen Hopkins: Crank
8. Ellen DeGeneres: Seriously … I’m Kidding
9. John Green: The Fault in Our Stars
10. John Schneider: Tales for Very Picky Eaters
11. Mo Willems: Listen to My Trumpet!
12. Kathleen Krull & Paul Brewer: Lincoln Tells a Joke
13. Laurie Halse Anderson: Speak
14. Christopher Canyon: John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads
15. Donald Hall: I Am the Dog, I Am the Cat
16. Beth Revis: Across the Universe
17. Christopher Canyon: John Denver’s Sunshine On My Shoulders
18. Robert Sabuda: The Chronicles of Narnia Pop-Up: Based on the Books by C. S. Lewis
19. Rick Reilly: Hate Mail from Cheerleaders
20. Shel Silverstein: Where the Sidewalk Ends
21. Alison Marie Behnke: Death of a Dreamer: The Assassination of John Lennon
22. Randy Wayne White: Shark River
23. Patrick Ness: A Monster Calls
24. Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp: Marcel the Shell with Shoes on: Things about Me
25: Arne Bellstorf: Baby’s in Black
26. Kate Messner: Sugar and Ice
27. Alan Sitomer: Nerd Girls
28. Randy Wayne White: Twelve Mile Limit
29. Karen Russell: Swamplandia!
30. Alexandra Robbins: Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities
31. Ted Kooser: House Held Up by Trees
32. Chuck Close and Françoise Mouly: Chuck Close: Face Book
33. Adam Sexton and Hyeondo Park: Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar–The Manga Edition
34. Douglas Florian: Poem Runs
35. Audrey Vernick: Brothers at Bat
36. Chad Harbach: The Art of Fielding
37. Josh Wilker: Cardboard Gods
38. Gary Soto: Lucky Luis
39. Maira Kalman: Looking at Lincoln
40. Ted Kooser: Bag in the Wind
41. Jo Knowles: See You at Harry’s
42. Howard Wainer: Uneducated Guesses:  Using Evidence to Uncover Misguided Education Policies
43. Tom Angelberger: Darth Paper Strikes Back
44. Lois Lowry: The Giver
45. Olivia Harrison: George Harrison: Living in the Material World
46. John Grisham: Calico Joe
47. Laura Purdie Salas: Bookspeak!
48. Kirk Demarais: Mail-Order Mysteries
49. Tracy K. Smith: Life on Mars
50. Randy Wayne White: Everglades
51. Sharon M. Draper: Out of My Mind
52. Jeanette Winter: Kali’s Song
53. Paula McLain: The Paris Wife
54. Mark Siegel: Sailor Twain
55. Ame Dyckman: Boy + Bot
56. K. L. Going: Dog in Charge
57. Kelly Bingham: Z is for Moose
58. Katherine Applegate: The One and Only Ivan
59. Susanna Childress: Entering the House of Awe
60. Maggie Stiefvater: The Scorpio Races
61. Julie Halpern: Get Well Soon
62. Randy Wayne White: Tampa Burn
63. Raina Telgemeier: Drama
64. Steve Cotler: Cheesie Mack Is Not a Genius or Anything
65. Susan Cain: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
66. Patricia Ann McNair: The Temple of Air
67. Maggie Stiefvater: Shiver
68. Sherman Alexie: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
69. Ingrid Croce and Jimmy Rock: I Got A Name: The Jim Croce Story
70. Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm: Babymouse Rock Star
71. Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm: Babymouse Dragonslayer
72. Jim Kirkpatrick: Before He Was Fab: George Harrison’s First American Visit
73. Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm: Babymouse Puppy Love
74. Marie Lu: Legend
75. Ellen Potter: The Humming Room
76. Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm: Babymouse Queen of the World
77. Jane Yolen: Lost Boy
78. Laura Numeroff: If You Give a Dog a Donut
79. Jenny Offill: 11 Experiments that Failed
80. Paul Fleischman: Seedfolks
81. Randy Wayne White: Dead of Night
82. Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm: Babymouse Our Hero
83. Sharon Creech: Love That Dog
84. Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm: Babymouse Mad Scientist
85. Kelly Gallagher: Write Like This
86. Kent Hartman: The Wrecking Crew
87. R. J. Palacio: Wonder
88. Patricia Zaballos: Workshops Work!
89. Marc Brown: Wild about Books
90. John Porcellino: Thoreau at Walden
91. Phillp C. Stead: Bear Has a Story to Tell
92. Candace Fleming: The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary
93. Gillian Flynn: Gone Girl
94. Bob Boone: Forest High
95. Jim Aylesworth: The Burger and The Hot Dog
96. Dav Pilkey: The Hallo-Wiener
97. Laurie Lawlor: Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World
98. Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler: The Future of Us
99. Tyler Florence: Tyler Makes Pancakes
100. Matthew Caldwell: The Zamler’s Last Stand
101. Julie Danneberg: Monet Paints a Day
102. Erica Silverman: Big Pumpkin
103. Nikki McClure: Apple
104. Robert A. Caro: The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power
105. Jessica Anthony: Chopsticks
106. Douglas Florian: UnBEElievables
107. Will Richardson: Why School?: How Education Must Change When Learning and Information Are Everywhere
108. Gene Barretta: Timeless Thomas: How Thomas Edison Changed Our Lives
109. Tom Angelberger: The Secret of the Fortune Wookie
110. Jerry Seinfeld: Halloween
111. Dav Pilkey: ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving
112. Jacqueline Woodson: Each Kindness
113. Deborah Hopkinson: A Boy Called Dickens
114. Jason Chin: Island
115. Matt Tavares: There Goes Ted Williams
116. Randy Wayne White: Dark Light
117. Lemony Snicket: The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming
118. Sir Ken Robinson: The Element
119. Rhode Montijo: Gum Girl!: Chews Your Destiny
120. Adam Rubin: Dragons Love Tacos
121. Matthew Cordell: Hello Hello
122. Jon Klassen: This is Not My Hat
123. S. J. Kincaid: Insignia
124. Marilyn Singer: A Stick is an Excellent Thing
125. Julia Donaldson: A Gold Star for Zog
126. John Fardell: The Day Louis Got Eaten
127. Kenneth Kraegel: King Arthur’s Very Great Grandson
128. Wayne Au, Ed.: Pencils Down: Re-thinking High Stakes Testing and Accountability in Public Schools
129. Carole A. Aebersold: Elf on the Shelf
130. Amy Krouse Rosenthal: Chopsticks
131. Elisha Cooper: Homer
132. Jonathan Eig: Opening Day
133. Amy Krouse Rosenthal: Spoon
134. Richard Russo: Elsewhere
135. Susan Katz: The President’s Stuck in the Bathtub
136. Anne Lamott: Help Thanks Wow: Three Essential Survival Prayers
137. Barbara Kerley: What to Do about Alice?
138. Penny Kittle: Book Love: Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers
139. Mac Barnett: Extra Yarn
140. William Joyce: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
141. Chris Ware: Building Stories
142. Jo Knowles: Jumping Off Swings

Thanks for reading!

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12 Responses to My Books for 2012

  1. Great stuff, Gary. Congrats on all of these reads! There’s a lot here to put on my to-be-read list, which doesn’t seem to stop growing. I’ve read all of your top choices except the LBJ book (which seems super long!). Good luck with 2013! Thanks for the continual reading inspiration!


  2. amylovesya says:

    Fantastic list, Gary! I am so fortunate to work with you and other colleagues who foster such a wonderful culture of reading in the classroom and among friends. Looking forward to keeping it going in 2013!


  3. Gary, what did you think of Building Stories? I’m dying to talk to someone about it!


    • Hi, Kim. My thoughts on Building Stories is in a post a couple below this. There is also a link to it over on the Facebook thing. Yes, please! Type in some thoughts and let’s talk this over.


  4. Alyse1982 says:

    Thanks, as always, for being such an inspiration.

    Books that we both read this year:
    The Fault in Our Stars
    Out of My Mind
    Babymouse (#1)
    Thoreau at Walden

    Books I’ve read but would have been on my 2010 list:
    Absolutely True Diary…
    The Giver (+ in ’94)
    Love That Dog

    1) You read 2 books titled Chopsticks?
    2) What did you think of Future of Us? (still have to read it)
    3) Have you read 13 Reasons Why?


    • Yep, two books titled Chopsticks came out this year, but they’re completely different. You would like the graphic novel, for sure. I did The Future of Us on audiobook, and it was interesting and entertaining. I’m reading 13 Reasons Why now. (Jay Asher will be our guest at Writers Week this year.)


  5. Joy Kirr says:

    Okey dokey… I have to go to Goodreads now and add in a couple more TBRs! Thanks for the substantial list, Gary!


  6. Pingback: I love me some lists | The Ludic Reader

  7. MC says:

    Join me in my book challenge for 2013…more details on my blog


  8. Christie says:

    Yikes, that’s a lot of books! The Fault in Our Stars seems to be making the top of everyone’s list – and deservedly so. Lots of books on your list I have read or are on my tbr list – where will I ever find the time?! Happy New Year.


  9. Sir, your reading stamina impresses! Thanks so much for adding The Temple of Air to your remarkable list! Hope you liked it.


  10. Pingback: What I’m Reading in 2013 : Grading Girl

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