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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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  • Love seeing your book list. I would love to hear what you think of How to Write a Book Proposal. Been wanting to get that one. The Husband Project is very good. Loved Thunder Dog. Plan to read Grace for the Good Girl also. 🙂 Happy book reading!

  • Suzanne says:

    Radical and Motherhood in the Trenches are two of my FAVORITE books!!!

  • You’ll LOVE ‘Loving the Little Years’! I did a review on it a few months back and want to read it again!

  • Valerie Henry says:

    You will love “Eats, Shoots and Leaves.” It’s hilarious! And a very quick read, won’t take you more than a day or two.

  • Cherrie Shaw says:

    My goal for the past few years has been 100 books. I haven’t made it yet but have come close a few times. This years total is 73 so far. I don’t have small children so I think that makes it a little easier for me to have more reading time.

  • Thanks for sharing your list! Always great to see what others are reading.

  • Chantelle says:

    I love Pocketful of Pinecones! I started it and followed it through the seasons as in the book. Took longer but gave me some timely nature study ideas to do with the kids right away….no supplies needed, really.(precious memory of my kids out first thing in the morning in their pj’s tossing yarn about the shrubs for the birds to build nests. Home Education at it’s best!) I’d recommend getting Lessons at Blackberry Inn so you can start that right away after finishing Pocketful of Pinecones. They both are wonderful for calming my Home Education over anxiety of “Am I doing enough?” Delightful books!

  • Lucky says:

    Yay! A novel!

    I had been resisting audio books for a long time, but I gave them a try this year, and now I love them. They make dishes and laundry so much more fun!

    • Crystal says:

      I just “discovered” audiobooks this year, too, and have a separate list of 12 audiobooks I’m planning to listen to in 2012 that I’ll be sharing in another post.

    • Allison says:

      Lucky, I love a good audiobook! If you are interested in learning about the Christian faith, offers a free audio book ever month! This month it’s From Pearl Harbor to Calvary… Happy listening!

  • I’ve really enjoyed your book list and reviews throughout 2011. You’ve given me some good books to put on my list.

    While I don’t have a complete list for 2012, there are a few that I intend to get to this year as they’ve been on my shelf for too long.

    1. My husband and I want to commit to reading through the Bible over a 2 year span. I’ve done the Bible in a year a couple of times, and I’ve encouraged my husband to the same. He doesn’t want to rush through it, so we’re going to come up with a 2-year schedule. I am so excited to go down this road with my husband!

    2. I’ve been reading through Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney, 1 chapter per month, along with a wonderful blogger, Ruth, at I’m glad that the 10 year dust it’s been collecting on my shelf is finally getting cleaned off. We’re on chapter 4 for January.

    3. Finally, I started reading Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick, but had to put it down for other books that I had to give priority. The book has come highly recommended and I’ve read other books by Elyse in the past. I’m looking forward to getting more into raising my children with grace, as opposed to law.

    That’s my short list for now.


    • Michelle –

      My husband and I are reading through the Bible in 2 years also. We started on January 1 of this year, so we have about 1 year left. We are really enjoying it!

      We use the Today’s Light Bible:

      It has a 2 year plan all laid out – 15 or fewer minutes of reading per day. We like to read it out loud together. Blessings on your Bible-reading journey!

      • Crystal says:

        I did the Chronological Bible this year and loved it. I have yet to decide what I’m doing for Bible reading in 2012. I’m considering doing something in-depth since I’ve read through the Bible the past two years. Any great suggestions?

        • Hmmm…I don’t have any ideas for you. I’m not sure what we’ll do after we finish the 2 year plan in 2012. I want to find something because I have so enjoyed reading through the Bible with my husband (he’s a pastor…so he provides more insight sometimes!). I don’t want to lose the momentum once we finish, ya know?

          Sorry I couldn’t help more…but I am looking forward to seeing what you decide to do in 2012!

        • I did a little touch and go with Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible throughout this year. I’m a huge C.H. Spurgeon fan and can never get enough of his writings. This book is a daily, typically 1 page, snippet from scripture with some of his commentary scattered throughout. Since it’s only a 1 year daily devotional, he does not hit every chapter and every verse. It is a very easy and quick, yet in-depth and thought-provoking read into Scripture.

          Another of my favorite Spurgeon devotionals is Morning & Evening. Again, while it is a quick daily devotional, he packs so much into a single sentence, paragraph, and page. I cannot recommend his daily devotionals high enough.

      • Thanks! I’ll check that out.

    • Rachel says:

      Oooh, I hope you can pick up Give Them Grace again. I am a mother of 8 children (9 in March) under 10 years old and a pastor’s wife…and this book has totally flipped my parenting on its legalistic head. Wonderful reading!

      • Wow! What an inspiration for 9 on 10. Thank you for encouragement. I picked up a lunch again today and hope to jump right into it. I too hope to flip my desire for grace but faltering to the law on its legalistic head as well.

  • Cort says:

    Reading this just reminded me I want to read the book, Heavenly Man. Kay Arthur recommended it in one of her Bible Studies. Don’t know if you have done any of them but they are AWESOME.

  • I love reading! My mood is affected by how much I can read 🙂 I just need to get new thoughts and grow. Your list looks great. I book blog on my site the 4th sunday of every month (keeps me going) The books I am working on now are: The Element by Ken Robinson (he has some amazing talks on youtube about children and creativity that were some of the best stuff I have seen all year), Hand Wash Cold by Karen Maezen Miller, and Giving 2.0 by Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen. That’s my January list… I will have to look up some of yours for next year too.

  • Allison says:

    I cannot WAIT for you to read The Heavenly Man… Oh my goodness, it will change the way you think about overseas missions, the persecuted church…. and maybe life in general!

    I haven’t set specific reading goals for myself just yet… but I do plan to now! I am sure that it will include the following:

    Spiritual Mothering – Susan Hunt
    Adopted For Life – Russell Moore
    Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God – Noel Piper
    The Hiding Place – Corrie ten Boom
    Real Marriage – Mark Driscoll

    Thanks for, once again, inspiring me to set goals and reach them! My (super) type-A newly-wed husband (as of 8/6/11) REALLY appreciates you!

    • Crystal says:

      Your comment about your husband cracked me up! 🙂 Congrats on your marriage, by the way!

      Have you read The Hiding Place before? That was one of my favorite books as a teen. I think I read it three or four times–and I almost never re-read any book except the Bible, so that’s saying a lot! 🙂

  • ERIKA M says:

    Maybe I am sheltering/stalling my kids a bit, but my oldest (son) will be 6 in April, followed by a son (5 in March) and daughter(4 in March), those books seem a bit advanced…my boys are reading (on their own), but wow…I didn’t think I would be reading that stuff to them yet! I would love to hear your insight, how you pick what to read to them, and if your younger 2 (they are 4 and 2– about right?) sit well when you are reading and those types of things real quick.

    • Lacey says:

      These aren’t the books she’s reading to her kids, these are the ones she’s reading personally. 🙂

    • Sara C says:

      I have 5 kids under 7. One thing I have learned is that kids absorb an amazing amount of information. We have also read some of the Little House books, Homer Price, and a few others that she mentioned. My children also enjoy biographies like the “Ten Boys who…” series which has short biographical sketches of christian men (and women – “Ten Girls…”). Right now we are reading “Swallows and Amazons” by Arthur Ransome. And my boys even loved “Heidi” which has more “adventure” than you would expect.
      The children under 3 don’t always sit right with us, but I give them quiet activities and keep them nearby. They do listen and I’m amazed at what comes up in conversation sometimes.
      If you choose stories that interest your children, they will listen for quite a while. There have been days when we made it through an entire chapter book because the children were so excited to find out what would happen next.
      One of the best ways I have found to choose books is to look through homeschool curriculum lists. I often look at Sonlight’s book list and Veritas Press for ideas.
      Happy reading!

      • ERIKA M says:

        Sara-thanks for the response. I commend you-I am exhausted with 4 (our youngest is 14 mos. in addition to our 5, 4 and 3 year old. ) I feel buried right now-I am trying to homeschool our 6 year old, and am not sure how I am doing! He is very smart anyway..but still! I think my kids are such a blessing but oy sometimes I am exhausted….I am just amazed at some of things that are accomplished(especially around this blog!). I will definitely try some of her list for 2011 and see how it goes—and look at Sonlight per your suggestion. -Lacey– I was referring to her children’s book list 🙂

        • ERIKA M says:

          I should have said our “nearly 6 year old” he is 5 now and 6 in the spring!

        • Sara C says:

          I’m definitely exhausted sometimes too! Getting to bed early and avoiding processed foods helps a lot with energy though. And even a few quiet minutes in the morning praying and reading scripture helps my attitude toward the kids during the day.
          I’m homeschooling my older 2 as well. I was home educated from 7th-12th grade. It’s easy to get bogged down in all the stuff that you think you must do, but in the earlier grades I have found it helpful not to do every subject everyday. We try to do Bible, math, and reading every day, but split up science, history and other projects so that we can spend a focused amount of time on them. We don’t necessarily do it all in the morning either.
          I have learned a great deal from mothers of large families who have homeschooled for many years. I would encourage you to seek out some of those ladies in your community. They have a wealth of wisdom to share and are usually more than willing to share their experience!

    • Crystal says:

      Don’t feel badly if you’re reading different stuff to your children or stuff that is on a different level, okay?

      As far as how I pick what I read to them–much of the inspiration comes from My Father’s World, our homeschool curriculum. They have a lot of book suggestions and we use many of those.

      Silas doesn’t always listen when I read, but he often does. However, I don’t require anyone to sit still while I read. They can play with LEGO’s, color, build, draw, etc. so long as they are quiet and in the same room. I’ve found that my children often listen better when their hands are busy.

      • ERIKA M says:

        Great suggestion-thanks for your response! Honestly, I don’t feel badly-but thanks for trying to make me feel better-I am realizing more and more that comparison leads to discontentment, my children are smart and healthy and vibrant-I love other peoples suggestions and hearing how other mom’s handle things-but thats just it-a suggestion! I fully believe that most moms want the best for their children-so anytime I give advice I try to preface it like “This works for me, if you think it will help you-give it a shot!” That way if they can use it -great and if not-I hope I don’t come across as a know-it-all…because those are the worst!-will try the busy hands for good listening though,-hadn;t thought of that! Your website is a blessing to me.

        • ERIKA M says:

          sorry for the bad punctuation there *other people’s, *other moms,*hadn’t…!!! I meant to ask you and other readers what you thought of My Father’s World curriculum, I have heard great things about it.

  • Lindsey says:

    The Husband Project was a fun read. I’m currently reading Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas and think I will be re-reading it frequently. SOOOO good!

  • This year, I read 50 books… So far! I’ve read a couple of those on your 2012 list, plus some on your 2011 list. Fun idea – to plan it out like you do.

  • Michelle says:

    I’m currently reading Erasing Hell and just received Loving the Little Years for Christmas. I noticed a picture of Radical, but that it isn’t on your list. I just finished it in November and it was one of the best books I’ve read in years. Very convicting and has revolutionized the way I think about my responsibility in this world as a follower of Christ. Highly, highly recommend it!!!

    • Crystal says:

      Oops, I probably should have checked my list against my picture, shouldn’t I?! 🙂 I am reading that right now (very slowly) and was going to put it on the 2012 list and decided against it since I’m already reading it and will definitely finish it fairly soon. I forgot to take it out of the stack of books I had on my “To Read in 2012” shelf… oh well!

  • Ginger says:

    I’m reading Loving the Little Years right now and may I encourage you to read a chapter a week. It’s the kind of book to be savored not devoured. Read it s-l-o-w-l-y. It’s fantastic!

  • Leighann says:

    A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. I’ve been reading that series since I was 15 years old, so 15 years of waiting. Robert Jordan died before he finished it, and Brandon Sanderson has done a wonderful job finishing the series up. I am looking forward to an ending.

  • amber says:

    I enjoyed reading your list. The first book I plan on reading this year is The Complete Tightwad Gazette. I am also reading the Little House Series to my girls age 4 and 7. We have already finished Little House in the Big Woods.

    • Natalie says:

      Loved the Tightwad Gazette! I go back to it often for inspiration:)!

    • Karen says:

      I love The Complete Tightwad Gazette, and I reread it from time to time when I need inspiration! 🙂

      BTW, some people complain that parts of it seem “dated” now. If you look at the underlying principles rather than the specific examples though, the information is timeless. 🙂

  • Amber Cullum says:

    Thanks Crystal. I will add a few of these to my list, especially Loving the Little Years!!

  • Heather says:

    What a great idea to plan out your reading! Here are a few I plan on tackling in 2012:

    ~Winning the Food Fight by Steve Willis (I’m actually about halfway through this amazing book already!)
    ~What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst (loved Made to Crave, and will probably read that one again too)
    ~Crazy Love by Francis Chan (on your recommendation)
    ~Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs (my husband and I will be reading this together in our Sunday school class, which he will be co-teaching)
    ~And, of course, The Money Saving Mom’s Budget (can’t wait for this one to be released on my kindle!)

    I also try to read a few Christian fiction books that I get free on my kindle. I have discovered many treasures which I would never have paid for.

    Thanks so much for encouraging us to be organized with our reading, as well as all other aspects of our lives. I can’t wait to see what you think of the books you have read. Happy New Year!

  • How do you pick your books? Do authors send them to you? Friends recommendations? Borrow them? How do you feed your reading habit?

  • Jennifer says:

    Thank you for the booklist. I was just looking on your site yesterday hoping that you would post one for 2012. So glad that you did today! I used your list last year and enjoyed reading many of the books.

    Typically, I check the books on the list out of our public library to keep the cost down. Out of curiosity, where do you find all of the books and save money doing it?

  • Debra says:

    What a great idea I think I will follow your lead, and I just received the Kindle from my beloved this Christmas so I will start my list off of that. I know for sure your book will be on my list and I can’t imagine I can wait to long to start it once received. 🙂

  • heather horton says:

    I plan to read 6 books this year–in addition to the Bible Studies I teach and books for work–I work two jobs and lead a crazy busy life..–I am a 2nd grade teacher. My list of reads…and rereads are : Friendship for GrownUps, Mean Girls All Grown Up, The Scarlet Thread, The Princess (reread), The Blue Bottle Club (reread), and So long, Insecurity. I am now adding Heavenly Man….since you guys all recommend it:) I also plan to read through again Breaking Free with my girlfriends.

  • Rebekah says:

    You’ve inspired me to strive to read more this coming year, both personally and to my children. I’ve always loved to read, but have not made much effort to read anything of substance in the last several years. I have four small children, and my time and energy are always pulled in so many directions. I want this to become more of a priority for our family! My 7 yr old son LOVES reading and is devouring all the classics I can get for him. I want to keep that love alive and build it in my other sons as well. Thank you for the encouragement in this area.

    • Crystal says:

      You are so welcome! I’ve found that reading really helps me to challenge my thinking, stretch my mind, and helps me grow as a wife, mother, child of God, friend, and business owner.

      Plus, it sparks interesting conversations with others! 🙂

  • diane says:

    I love reading everyones list!

  • Stacy says:

    Great list! I added a few to my Amazon and library lists. I did pretty well this year- 44 books including a few audiobooks I listened to while driving. My favorite reads this year were Inconceivable, the Black/Red/White trilogy and The Hiding Place (audiobook).
    I tend to just pick up whatever looks interesting at the library even though I have 60+ books on my to read list.

  • Kathy says:

    Curious, Crystal, are you a notetaker while reading? Taking notes is a habit from my college days and I almost CAN’T not do it while reading a nonfiction book. Slows me down considerably and I rarely go back and read my notes later but, alas, I can’t seem to just read a provoking, inspiring book without getting out the notebook and pen.

  • Lana says:

    I loved Eats, Shoots and Leaves and The Heavenly Man. I love the idea of making a list of books to read. Very cool

  • darlene says:

    The book “Radical” by Dr. David Platt is an absolute MUST read! It has literally changed our family’s life! After reading that book, your total outlook on life changes. As a family, we are doing “the radical expirement” he challenges his readers to take. Even my five year old now understands when we turn off the unnecessary lights to save our pennies or we can’t buy something cause its too expensive so that we have money to benefit others. Before we’d tried a budget, it never worked. Now I truly get it!

  • Shay Jordan says:

    Thank you for this awesome list. This week I will be posting books I will be reading. If you don’t mind, I am going to link it back to this post on your website?

  • Julie says:

    I recommend doing the Husband Project with a friend. Our MOPS group did it and it was fun to share ideas with each other. Even if you don’t do the whole book, it is a good, quick and easy read to get you thinking.

  • Nicolle says:

    I agree with Darlene about “Radical”. It has for sure changed my life. Crystal, you have a picture of it but I am confused because I don’t see it on the list of all the books you read in 2011 and I don’t see it on your list for 2012??? Have you read it or are you planning on it? I would really love to read your review of the book. I am also curious how it compares to “Crazy Love”. I have not read “Crazy Love” but I’m not sure I need to since I read “Radical”. Any thoughts on that?

    • Crystal says:

      See my comment above. I had it on my list and then took it off (and forgot I took it off when I took the picture!) because I’m already halfway through it and should be finishing it soon, so I decided to stick with 24 books I haven’t yet started for 2012. 🙂 Next year, remind me to check my picture against my list of books before I actually post them! Yes, aren’t I so organized around here?! 🙂

  • Vanessa says:

    I just started Grace Based Parenting and I’m planning on finishing it up in January. I also have The Power of a Positive Woman, Don’t Make Me Come Up There!, Calm My Anxious Heart, Dwelling In His Presence {devotional}, and Choosing To See on my list.

  • Diane says:

    I don’t have an entire list yet but Choosing to SEE and In Faithfulness He Afflicted me (Thank you so much Crystal for sharing that blog from your friend, I am praying God uses her book to help me heal from the recent loss of my precious baby).

  • Jessica says:

    When I saw this post, I was so excited. I love getting knew suggestions of books. Did you ever finish reading Womanly Dominion? I kept waiting for a review or your thoughts but maybe I missed it.

    This year, I read more books than I have any previous year and it is in part to you blogging about your reading. Thank you!!!

  • Brooks says:

    What a great idea! I may adopt this for the coming year!

    “The Heavenly Man” is one of my all time FAVORITE books! I am amazed at how it changed my entire outlook on listening to the voice of God and how I approach life in general. It’s been awhile since I’ve read it… it may have to make it back into my 24 for the year!

  • Ellen says:

    WOO HOO! Just bought “Between and Rock and a Grace Place” on Kindle for $1.99.

  • Jerri says:

    Crystal, I love seeing your book list for 2012 but I’m looking forward to what you think of David Allan’s Getting Things Done, which I think that you’re reading this month. I like what I’ve read of it so far and I’m curious to see what you think.

  • Christie says:

    I’m new to your blog, and apologize if this comment is elsewhere. Do you post book reviews / comments? If not, I’ve found GoodReads to be quite handy.

    Full disclosure: I have no affiliation with GoodReads other than as a user of their site.

  • I loved Radical! Great choice! The Husband Project sounds like one I need to pick up!

  • From what I’ve heard, you might want to read Rob Bell’s “Love Wins” before reading Francis Chan’s “Erasing Hell”, because the second seems to be written in response to the first.

    I was given “Erasing Hell” for Christmas, and I’m looking forward to reading it! 🙂

  • jennifer says:

    Thunder Dog was fantastic!

  • Sharon says:

    I blogged my list (I am going with 12-one a month just to be reasonable.):

    I am also working on a read-aloud list that will include some that I want us to listen to and I might add some fiction books later on. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Michelle says:

    My husband helped me finish my list for 2012 today. I am excited to finish up the books on my current stack this week while we travel and get started on the new list when we return home next week. Your lists and reviews have been an encouragement to me to do the same, just for my own record! Thank you.

  • MomofTwoPreciousGirls says:

    I’m going to start with 12 inspirational books. I work outside the home and try to give whatever hours my kids are awake to them, and then the hubby. So I probably only get about an hour a day in, between lunch break (if I get one!) and then before bed.

    Yours is on my list along with EntreLeadership, Pretty Neat and couple others that I have been holding onto for a while. Some on your list, particularly those focusing on the marital relationship, are of interest, but I think I will wait to hear your thoughts.

    I am going to attempt to instill a few of your suggestions into my new year. I want to start setting some weekly goals for my personal/family/career life. Really trying to plan my meals and shop while sticking to a budget. Aside from the weeks that I need to squeeze in items that I forget about bc we don’t buy them that often, I have gotten us down to about $100/week for our family of four (one child with allergies and this includes personal care items and paper items like wipes tp etc). I am looking forward to reading your book, bc I simply don’t have the time for clipping coupons!

    You have been a true inspiration to me. I first started reading your blog for shopping hints and deals, but I have come away with so much more. I have not been leading my life with purpose, more like floating through! I intend on changing that in this coming year. I am going to spend this week getting my home in order (luckily we just moved so it’s pretty cleaned up, but I need to purge in the paper area) start getting a weekly plan/outline together and I’m going to focus on being a better wife (usually second to last on my list) a better mother and a better person. A lot of what I have read here has helped me to put that plan into action…THANK YOU!

    • Crystal says:

      Thank you so much for your kind encouragement. That means the world to me–especially that you took the time to leave such a long comment in the midst of your very busy schedule!

      Have you tried audiobooks? You could listen while you’re commuting or getting ready in the morning–and even just 10 minutes a day could mean you go through one audiobook a month–or more!

  • Karen says:

    How much time do you have a day (or week) to actually get through two books per month? When do you do this reading? My life is packed to the gills and time to read something besides my daily Bible reading is hard to manage in my present season of life.

  • 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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