2012 was a fantastic year for publishing and for women authors in particular. I actually had to seek out male authors to even out the list! (Ladies: looking to publish a book? Now's a great time! If you need a little advice, feel free to ask—I'm no expert but I do work at a publishing house and I can tell you what I know!)
Here's my informal "Best Books of 2012," with a few stories along the way.
My Sisters the Saints by Colleen Carroll Campbell. A lovely memoir about the author's "friendships" with saints long dead and the effect these great women had on her. (Bonus: here's a great interview with her about the book!)
Style, Sex, and Substance edited by Hallie Lord. This book is a compilation of ten Catholic women's stories about living their faith in the modern world. I held a book club party for it, which was a lot of fun! Each story was insightful, relatable, and beautiful.
Letters to Gabriel by Karen Santorum. Originally published in 1998, Ignatius re-released it this year. Warning: have tissues handy, this book will make you cry.
My Brother the Pope by Georg Ratzinger. The pope's brother wrote this memoir about growing up with the pope and their close friendship. It's the closest thing we have to the pope writing his own memoir and offers a lovely portrait of brotherly love and family life.
Bad Religion by Ross Douthat. So, I'm kind of biased on this one because Ross is my very favorite writer and I kind of want to be him when I grow up. I've met him and heard him speak, and in this book, he gets American culture and religion spot-on. It's incredible how he sees straight to the heart of an issue (in this case religion) and explains it in flawless prose. *Sigh* I'll try not to swoon...
The Road to Freedom by Arthur Brooks. I didn't used to be interested in economics but this book changed my mind. Brooks makes a great case for free but responsible enterprise and how it helps every one of us. It's a great introduction to economics if you're not familiar but want to learn more.
Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives by Pope Benedict XVI. Pretty much anything the Pope writes is pure gold. This is the third and final volume in his Jesus of Nazareth series and it focuses on Christ's birth and childhood—perfect for this time of year.
The Temperament God Gave Your Kids by Art and Laraine Bennett. When I recommend this book, I'm actually recommending the whole Temperament God Gave You collection. I learned about the classic "four temperaments" pretty recently and found these books so helpful. The philosophy is fascinating and the temperaments system is a great way to understand other people.
On the Unseriousness Of Human Affairs by Father Schall. I haven't actually read this yet (although I'm looking forward to it) but Father Schall is The Man and his last lecture made me cry. I've heard this is his best work yet.
For the Kids
The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement misprinted the telephone number for children to call Santa. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief's operations "hotline." The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.Isn't that sweet? I love the origins of that tradition and would love this book for my little siblings. I think it would go over especially well with more science-minded kids.
That wraps up my "Best Books of 2012" list! What others would you recommend?
Also, please feel free to join my Christmas decorations link-up... yes, it's way after Christmas... procrastinators unite! ;)
Note: I'm not getting any compensation for recommending these; I just think they're awesome!