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My Favorite Books of 2012

Generally I do a really terrible job of reading books right after they come out, so I doubt that aside from Gone Girl there are many books published in 2012 that I actually read in 2012. Instead this is a list of my favorite books read for the first time in 2012.
  1. Signing Their Rights Away (2011) by Denise Kiernan - I was blown away by how fun, informative, and flat-out readable this collection of short biographies of the signers of the Constitution was. The chapter titles are clever, the stories pull out fun facts, yet still manage to tell the important history of the early years of this country, and the cover folds out to be a life-size replica of the Constitution. This is just a quality project all-around.
  2. Thirteen Reasons Why (2007) by Jay Asher - I finally got to this recent YA classic about a girl who kills herself and then leaves tapes behind explaining her reasons why. You'll pick it up because it's about the important issues of suicide and bullying, but you'll love it because it's really about the challenges of being a teenager whether you're bullied, a bully, or a bystander.
  3. Just Add Water: The Making of the City of Chicago (2012) by Renee Kreczmer - This was another well-executed history book, this time designed specifically for 3rd graders doing the mandatory Chicago-history curriculum. Despite that narrow audience, I was impressed with how accessible and informative this title was. Aside from living in the Chicago area, I have no connection to this book - I don't teach 3rd grade, I'm not the parent of a 3rd-grader - yet, I really enjoyed it and learned a lot.
  4. My Beating Teenage Heart (2011) by C. K. Kelly Martin - Like Thirteen Reasons, this is another book about being a teenager that packs a real emotional punch. This one deals with a teenager struggling with the decision about whether or not to commit suicide. The protagonist is distraught about his little sister's death and can't understand how he's supposed to go on living. The people in his life try to reach him, but similar to Thirteen Reasons, they struggle to break through the thick clouds of his depression. 
  5. Sheep in a Jeep (1986) by Nancy Shaw, illustrated by Margot Apple - One of my friends gave me this book after I had my first child this summer and I couldn't believe how much I loved this simple rhyming story. A bunch of rather silly sheep try to go for a ride in their jeep, but they're basically incompetent and have no end of problems. For me personally, it was also great to see that the animals who help them out are pigs (my parents raise pigs and therefore they are the best animals ever).
Honorable Mention (in no particular order) :
  • Gone Girl (2012) by Gillian Flynn - thriller starring two hot messes
  • Anna and the French Kiss (2010) by Stephanie Perkins - so much more than just a fluffy teen romance
  • Deadlocked (2012) by Charlaine Harris - what can I say, I love Sookie
  • The Art of Fielding (2011) by Chad Harbach - engaging first novel claiming to be about baseball, but really about coming of age at a small liberal arts college
  • Everything I Learned About Love I Learned From Romance Novels (2011) by Sarah Wendell - because the title is true
  • Cloud Atlas (2004) by David Mitchell - such a weird and wonderful journey through six very different lives
  • Mexican White Boy (2008) by Matt de la Pena - a mixed-race boy tries to figure out where he fits in and deals with his father's sudden departure
  • After (2009) by Amy Efaw - chilling story of the power of denial (also, since I was pregnant while reading this, it just seemed that much more relevant)
  • Itsy Bitsy Yoga (2004) by Helen Garabedian - lots of good information on infant physical development plus clear routines to give a little more structure to play time with your infant
  • Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy (2004) - hands down the best pregnancy guide I read while preparing for the birth of my first child
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