My Favorite Reads of 2012
I successfully reached my goal of reading 40 books this year, and of the 42 I read, these were my favorites:
- The Aubrey/Maturin Series, books 6-13 by Patrick O’Brian: As I continue re-reading the series, I am loving the dictionary look-up feature on the Kindle to help me deal with the nautical terms. After Don Quixote and The Lord of the Rings, these are my favorite books of all time.
- Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College by Doug Lemov: This has had the biggest positive influence on my teaching of anything I have read in years. It’s practical, wise, and easy to implement. Every teacher should read it.
- An Introduction to the Homily by Robert Waznak: I read a lot of books on homiletics this year, and most of them were very good, but this one stood out as a superb introduction for the beginner–like me.
- How to Defend the Faith Without Raising Your Voice: Civil Responses to Catholic Hot Button Issues by Austen Ivereigh: This is the way apologetics should be done. A must read for anyone engaged in the New Evangelization.
- Our One Great Act of Fidelity: Waiting for Christ in the Eucharist by Ronald Rolheiser: A beautiful series of mediations on the Eucharist.
As 2013 begins, I am considering changing my reading goal to focus on fewer books of more substance. Right now I’m re-reading the unabridged translation of Les Misérables by Norman Denny. I start teaching the abridged version to my eighth graders soon, and I thought this would be a good time to reacquaint myself with Victor Hugo’s full story.
My thought for this year is to only read about one to two books a month, but to choose some of the longer books I’ve been wanting to read (or re-read): Our Mutual Friend and Bleak House Dickens, for example, or Eliot’s Middlemarch (which I recently abandoned), Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope, maybe even Boswell’s Life of Johnson. Of course, I still have the Aubrey/Maturin series to finish, and there’s always the books I’m reading for work and the diaconate, but I really would like to focus on quality this year rather than quantity.