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24 Books I Plan to Read in 2012

At the beginning of 2011, I made a list of 24 books I wanted to read this past year. I broke the list down by month and chose two books to read per month.

This plan worked very well for me, and while I didn’t follow it exactly, it motivated me to read more and read some great books that I likely wouldn’t have picked up and read had they not been on my list. I still have 2.5 books on the list to finish before the year ends, but I’m hopeful I’ll actually be able to cross all of them off my list by December 31!

I also finished quite a few books that were not on my list. All in all, I ended up reading 56 books in 2011 (see the full list here), plus the books I read aloud to the children (see the full list of books we read aloud in 2011 here). It’s amazing how committing to read at least a chapter or two each day personally as well as a few chapters per weekday aloud to the children really adds up over time!

Since the 24 book list idea worked so well, I decided to stick with it again this year. After surveying my bookshelf of books I really want to read (yes, I have three entire shelves of books on a bookshelf in our basement with books I haven’t read yet and really want to read!), I narrowed the stack down to 24 books.

Here’s my list of 24 books I plan to read in 2012:


How to Write a Book Proposal

A Deeper Kind of Calm: Steadfast Faith in the Midst of Adversity


Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches

Rekindling the Romance: Loving the Love of Your Life


Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero

Leadership as an Identity: The Four Traits of Those Who Wield Lasting Influence


The Three R’s

Between a Rock and a Grace Place: Divine Surprises in the Tight Spots of Life


One of Us Must Be Crazy. . .and I’m Pretty Sure It’s You: Making Sense of the Differences That Divide Us

The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself


Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life

Without a Word: How a Boy’s Unspoken Love Changed Everything


The Simplicity of Homeschooling: Discover the Freedom of Learning Through Living

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society


Satisfy My Thirsty Soul: For I Am Desperate for Your Presence

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation


The Husband Project: 21 Days of Loving Your Man–on Purpose and with a Plan

The Heavenly Man: The Remarkable True Story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun


Erasing Hell: What God said about eternity, and the things we made up

Read for the Heart: Whole Books for WholeHearted Families


Whispers of His Power

Pocketful of Pinecones


The Shelter of God’s Promises

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You

Later this week, I’ll be sharing a downloadable list you can print and fill out with the books you want to read this year. I’ll also be sharing a list of audiobooks I’m planning to listen to and my top five favorite books I read this past year.

What books are you hoping to read in 2012? I’d love to hear!

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  • Alicia says:

    I really, really enjoyed and appreciated Loving the Little Years. I bought 6 or so copies to give out to friends, and I think they are all gone! Fantastic book.

  • Jaclyn says:

    OH, OH, OH, you should move Heavenly Man to January!!! It will be an encouragement to you for the whole year!!!!!

  • Lindsey says:

    What did you think of Loving the Little Years? I’m a good friend of Rachel’s and I always wonder what people who don’t know her thought of the book. I loved it, but of course I think she is pretty awesome 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      Well, I’ll let you know as soon as I read it in 2012. 🙂

    • Tell Rachel it’s the best book ever written on littles and she’s my hero:) We adopted newborn twins this year, and our 3 bio kids were 2, 5 and just turned 7 at the time. I love her twin stories! I pretty much stalk Rachel’s guest post on desiring God, and any other blog she quest posts on. I think a great sub-title for Loving the Little Years would be “An Attitude Kick in the Pants for Moms.” So glad she shared her wisdom in this book and can’t wait for her to write more! And if she wants a new, best friend……….I have my hand up and waving:)

  • Lori says:

    Love this list every year. I tend to read more fiction than non-fiction, so you always inspire me to check out titles I might otherwise overlook. I’ve already got a few on hold at the library to pick up tomorrow.

  • chelsea says:

    I haven’t read many of those, but several sounded intriguing and I’ll be looking them up too. Best of luck!

  • Leslie says:


    Great list (and inspiration). I found The Referral Engine to be a great, action-oriented book that I still refer to often and Grace for the Good Girl is one of my favorites. It makes me cry (and think).

    I love how even your annual book choices tie in with your annual goals and I’m very appreciative of the upcoming printables.

    Thanks to you, I’ve added a few new-found titles to my ever-overflowing Amazon wish list.

    And thanks for the suggestion on the audio books. I never seem to think of them since I so love the feel of a good book in my hands but since my hands seem so often to be otherwise occupied with work, housework, driving, etc. audiobooks would be a great alternative.

    Regarding the request of other titles I’m planning to read Rework by Jason Fried of 21 Signals. It focuses on becoming more productive by actively incorporating the “by-products” created in your business to earn more income. And since I’m all about being as effective and efficient as I can be, it seems to be right up my alley, plus it came HIGHLY recommended by some people I admire.

  • Tonya says:

    Did I see a fiction book on your list??!! The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is also on my to-be-read list. The Husband Project is also on my list.

    • Crystal says:

      I read two fiction books this past year and enjoyed them. And I’m working on my third right now. Can you believe it? I plan to read at least a few more in 2012, including The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society as it’s been SO highly recommended to me!

      • Tonya says:

        Yay for fiction!!! Since I teach English, I’m bias to novels. 🙂 Public schools are actually starting to focus a lot more on nonfiction books, though.

  • Stacee says:

    I LOVED Radical! I even wrote a review on it here:

    Definitely a book that will challenge your views of the Church and Christianity!

  • Linda says:

    I am just curious, do you purchase your books, belong to a book club or check them out from the library? I usually purchase used online or go to library. How do you make your book selections?

  • Katie says:

    After seeing your book list last year, I set a goal for myself to read 12 books in 2011. I kept pushing myself and read 20 books and only 1 was fiction. This was a huge accomplishment for me and I plan to do the same in 2012! Thanks!

  • Back in July you recommended Francis Chan’s “Crazy Love”. I am so thrilled, because I got it for Christmas and am really enjoying it so far. My husband has been wanting to read “Erasing Hell”, so I got that for him. 🙂 Looking forward to hearing what he thinks of it. Thanks for sharing your list.

  • Thanks so much for the list, Crystal! I’ve gotten some great recommendations from you in the past year or so and am glad for an updated list.

  • Redeeming Love is still my favorite fiction book, based on the book of Hosea from the Bible. Many different friends and people(with completely different personalities) recommended the book, so I read it. I couldn’t put it down. I would rather read a non-fiction book over a fiction book most days, but I think since it was based on Hosea it peeked my interest.

    • Erin says:

      I love this book as well, we read it in a bible study group and everyone was completely enthralled! You will not be able to put it down, it is such a wonderful book and I also loved that it was loosely based on a bible story.

  • I think I’d like to read the Husband Project. I have another one of Kathi’s books. Let me know what you think of this one.

  • Keren says:

    I posted my first 10 books (though some additional could get thrown in before I read those), as I like to allow my booklist room to evolve as the years goes (explained in my blog post:

    I ended up reading 53 books for 2011, and am aiming for 75 this year. (This includes audiobooks.) I think you will be amazed at how much you can add by listening to audiobooks. I have 2 little ones and another due in May, so it’s not like I sit around reading all day. 🙂 I read paper books, books on my iPhone Kindle app, and audio books. The latter 2 have definitely enabled me to intake a good bit more reading as a mom of young kids (3 and under right now).

    My first 10 (some explanation on my blog, but of course I can’t say I agree fully with any of these as I haven’t read them :)):
    1. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (unabridged) (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
    (note: This book ^^ is currently free for Kindle via Amazon–link on my blog.)
    2. The Hunger Games (Suzeanne Collins)
    3. Evil and the Justice of God (N.T. Wright)
    4. Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism (James Loewen)
    5. Steve Jobs (Walter Isaacson)
    6. Your Four-Year-Old: Wild and Wonderful (Louise Bates Ames)
    7. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose (Tony Hsieh)
    8. Families Where Grace Is in Place (Jeff VanVonderen)
    9. Parenting Is Your Highest Calling: And Eight Other Myths That Trap Us in Worry and Guilt (Leslie Leyland Fields)
    10. The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun (Gretchen Rubin)

  • John Dekker says:

    The only one of yours that I’ve read is Loving the Little Years, which was excellent.

    Here is my list of twenty:

  • Jordon says:

    Hi Crystal, i noticed a homeschooling book on your list for this year. My guy is only 2 years old but i’m really struggling with the thought of sending him to school. He would be going to christian school not public but I still don’t feel like the values are there.. I dont know hard to explain. Anyways the hubby is very against homeschooling… Wondering if there is a book(s) that you would reccomend for someone just wanting some more detail on homeschooling? Maybe even something geared more towards the hubby? lol Thanks!! and Happy New year!

  • Looks like a great list! I have only planned for January so far. Here is my list

  • Kelly Cain says:

    Here is my list of 18, I’m not as ambitious to do 24! but maybe I’ll surprise myself. Thanks for your inspiration, Crystal!

  • Lisa says:

    I’m heading off to the library today to see what books I can find that you all have recommended! But, I wanted to mention that I just finished reading “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett and it was such a great book that I couldn’t put it down! 🙂

  • Jeremy Smith says:

    I enjoyed reading your list and loved the idea of posting to pinterest so I did the same 🙂

    Here is my list of 26

  • Shelly says:

    I actually just ordered The Heavenly Man through our interlibrary loan because I’m inspired by your posting of it and the story preview!

    Have you ever read Silence by Shusaku Endo? If not, I recommend. It’s fiction, of course, but really made me rethink how I view my faith, in a good way. 🙂 It’s about Christianity in Japan and you can see why Christianity doesn’t seem to take hold in that country.

  • Julie says:

    Oohhhhhh – I just finished listening to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on audio book. It was DELIGHTFUL and I think you are going to love it.

  • Suzanne says:

    Wow! I love your website with all of your helpful hints, money saving feed and wisdom! How do you go about choosing which books you are planning on reading?

  • erica says:

    When do you get your reading AND audio book time in? for 1/2 hour before bed? Before prayers?

  • Could you recommend any good books about homeschooling preschoolers, or for someone considering homeschooling? My daughter is not quite there yet (she’s 2.5 years old), but I’d like to start reading up on it before she reaches that age. 🙂

  • Cass says:

    Hi Crystal,
    I love your website. It is my main go to site for ways to save money as well as a multitude of other ideas and info. I wanted to let you know that you have inspired me to get back into reading. Before the kids I was a big reader but that has been pushed to the side for a couple years. This year I am working to create my list of books to read and I am going to take the time to do it as part of my “me” time. This is the link for what I am reading for January (both are books I believe you are very familiar with) Thanks again for inspiring and blessing so many with your words.

  • Joy says:

    Love this post!! Just read through the comments and got nearly as much inspiration and ideas from those as well. My 2012 list is made. It’s (too?) ambitious, but I’m up for the challenge. I also divided mine up into months and that was really hard since I want to start them all in January!!! Baby steps … …
    Happy New Year!

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