IVP - Behind the Books - What Are You Reading? 2012

January 3, 2013

What Are You Reading? 2012

There are three problems with typical year-end book lists:

  1. 1. They're limited to new books. (You may already know how I feel about that.)
  2. 2. They're show-off-y. ("Look at all the books I read this year!")
  3. 3. They get buried among everyone else's year-end lists.

I've tried to avoid at least the first two pitfalls (and maybe, by being late, also the third). Even so, please take what follows with a grain of salt. I certainly do.

Despite my temptation to make no list at all, two factors drive me to it:

  • I am very often asked, "What are you reading these days?"
  • I read some truly delightful books last year.

We book readers need to stick together, and sharing our choice reading with each other is one excellent way to do it.

What follows are actually some lists-within-the-list drawn from among books I read (or reread) in 2012. This list is not complete; I've had to leave some out, lest you nod off.

Note that a book's publication date is irrelevant to its eligibility. This list's criterion is purely idiosyncratic: "Did Jon Boyd finish this book in 2012?" Take it or leave it.

At the end, I'll cave to "Best of" mania and give you a couple gold-medal winners.

Books with Titles That Spell-Check Can't Handle

Books with a Character I Really, Really Can't Stand

Book That Made Me Laugh as Much as Its Title Did

Book That Did Not Make Me Laugh as Much as Its Title Did

Books with Numbers in Their Titles

Good heavens, this category got a little out of control.

Book That Was Originally Part of McSweeney's, vol. 40, but Can Now Be Purchased Separately, Thank Heavens

Annual That's Totally Awesome Every Year

Book That's Actually Better as a Movie

Books That Are Also Great as Movies

Book That's Way Better than the Movie

Book That I Can't Wait to Watch the Movie Of

Best Simultaneous Use of Footnotes and Endnotes

Most Centuries between Two Covers

InterVarsity Press

Hmm. Lots of great books from this particular publisher! ;) I think I'll punt these to a separate post, and also exclude them from the running for a gold medal. Speaking of which:

Gold Medals

Nothing sacred about these categories, but these gold-medal winners are books that I'm especially glad I read in 2012.

2012 Gold Medal, Comics

2012 Gold Medal, Professional

2012 Gold Medal, History

2012 Gold Medal, Science

I'd love to hear about your favorites from 2012. Leave us a comment, will you? Happy reading!

Posted by Jon Boyd at January 3, 2013 1:31 PM Bookmark and Share


I'm so happy to see Understanding Comics on this list--it's actually the second time that book has come up for me today. I suspect once I loan you Building Stories you'll add it to your list for 2013.

Comment by: Dave at January 3, 2013 2:04 PM

I've been wanting to read McCloud for years, Dave, and finally got around to it. My expectations were high, given many rave reviews, but it was even better than I expected. It has changed how I appreciate comics. (For example, with a better understanding of "closure," I'm realizing how much of G. B. Trudeau's humor happens there, as I read 40: A Doonesbury Retrospective.)

I'll check out Building Stories pronto! (I'm a fan of Ware's already, via McSweeney's, though I haven't seen this one.) Thanks for the recommendation.

Comment by: Jon at January 3, 2013 2:10 PM

We love the Moomintroll series!

Comment by: Carmen Butcher at January 3, 2013 3:01 PM

Aren't they fabulous, Carmen? I was exposed to Moomin when my family lived in Sweden for a year when I was five, but only recently have we dug in to read all the books. My girls demand their nightly "Moomintime," and I dread what will happen when we say "The End" over the final volume! I suppose we'll just move on to Paddington or something. Any other recommendations in a similar vein?

Comment by: Jon at January 3, 2013 3:24 PM

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