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:

  1. Thirteen Gun Salute by Patrick O'BrianThe 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Deacon Nick

Nick Senger is a husband, a father of four, and a Catholic school teacher, vice principal and technology coordinator. He taught junior high literature and writing for over 25 years, and has been a Catholic school educator since 1990. In 2001 he was named a Distinguished Teacher of the Year by the National Catholic Education Association.

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