Books Read in 2012

Okay, so some of the books “read” last year were actually listened to. What else am I to do during my hour-long drive home from work?  (I can’t listen to books in the morning. Instead, I keep myself awake by flipping through mediocre radio stations.) I read a total of 27 books. I don’t know how many books y’all read, but I’m not writing this to compare numbers. Instead, I just want to share the highlights–make some recommendations, if you will. Not all 27 were noteworthy, but if you want to see them all, head over to my Pinterest board: 2012 Books Read. If you just want the highlights, stay right here.

In no particular order, here we go:

Lost and Found: Unexpected Revelations About Food and Money by Geneen Roth
Lost and Found: Unexpected Revelations About Food and Money by Geneen Roth

This book is about money, but it’s not about what you should invest in, how much you should save or how to pay off debt. Instead it’s about how we express our emotions with money. She makes the connection between food and money. We’re probably all guilty of emotional eating and spending, but she takes a deeper look. If you’re tired of reading the financial how-to books, this is a good one to read to get a different perspective. Things of note, she lost her nest egg to Bernie Madoff and is an incredible reader (I listened to this one).

This Is a Book by Demetri Martin
This Is a Book by Demetri Martin

Need a laugh? Look no further. Follow him on Twitter and you won’t be disappointed.

The Method Method: Seven Obsessions That Helped Our Scrappy Start-up Turn an Industry Upside Down by Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry
The Method Method: Seven Obsessions That Helped Our Scrappy Start-up Turn an Industry Upside Down by Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry

If you just liked Method products before, you’ll love ’em after reading this. The company’s approach to greening the world is so much more palatable than the ways of hardcore environmentalists and organizations. I drank the Method kool-aid and drink it regularly now.

The Responsible Company by Yvon Chouinard and Vincent Stanley
The Responsible Company by Yvon Chouinard and Vincent Stanley

As long as I’m talking green, I’ll mention this one. This is geared more towards companies and those who work in a corporate culture for a living, but I think it’s important for your average person to read. We need to know what practices we’re supporting (and whose salary we’re paying) when we buy stuff. It’s a pretty quick read, too, so why not?

I Suck at Girls by Justin Halpern
I Suck at Girls by Justin Halpern

Remember how funny Sh*t My Dad Says was? This is the follow up book and while I was worried at the beginning, Justin Halpern successfully separates himself from the hilarity of his dad and proves that his voice is his own and hilarious. Two things: I listened to this one and the audio book is decently read and this is completely a guy book. Ladies, you’ve been forewarned.

The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels--a Love Story by Ree Drummond
The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels–a Love Story by Ree Drummond

If you read Ree Drummond’s blog, you’ll enjoy her memoir of how she and Marlboro Man fell in love. I read it in 3 days on my iPhone (huzzah for ebooks!) mostly because it’s an easy, fun read. Pick it up if you’re in need of a break from the heavy-duty stuff.

What did y’all read in 2012 that I should read in 2013? I’m currently taking suggestions!

Thirty Before 30 Update: Number 1

30 Before 30 List
The Final Thirty Before 30 List

It’s been waaaay too long, but I’ve made some progress. Let’s take these updates one goal at a time.

1. Open an IRA: Finally! Taaaaa-daaaa! Look at me, Mom! Well, the account is open and the 401(k) checks have been mailed. Cross your fingers it gets deposited and starts earning the big bucks.

One HUGE lesson I learned: always, always, ALWAYS know where your money is and what’s happening to it. Do not let anyone brush your questions off. Sure, you may be asking what would seem like a really dumb question to a financial adviser, but we all can’t be financial whizzes, now can we?

I learned this lesson through the frustration of not understanding the 401(k) rollover process. And, I read some incredibly interesting books by some women who happened to lose quite a bit with Bernie Madoff’s little scam. (I highly recommend reading The Bag Lady Papers by Alexandra Penney and Lost and Found by Geneen Roth if you’re looking for a good read and some anecdotal and sound financial advise.)

I guess it’s time to look at the next step: figuring out how to consistently contribute to it.

The Year In Books

Let’s take a look at 2011 by reviewing some of the books I read (or listened to on my commute) this past year. I’ve been logging them by pinning the covers to one of my Pinterest boards.

Let’s start here:

Thow Out Fifty Things by Gail Blanke: This pretty much walks you through decluttering your home and thus your life. This was the perfect book to read during a transitional year (I made 2 moves within 5 months–yikes!).

There were a few good outdoorsy/environmental/sustainability books I read. These are perfect for big-picture thinking, but also small-step-taking to a greener outlook on life:

Cradle to Cradle by Michael Braungart: Good starter book. And, after reading this you’ll start to see and recognize the Cradle to Cradle certification on products and trust what it stands for.

Thinking in Systems by Donella H. Meadows: This one is a little cerebral, but it’s worth working your way through. There are a lot of good ideas in this that are relevant to the environment and other aspects of life.

The Necessary Revolution by P.N. Senge et al: Reading this is like reading Thinking In Systems with an environmental spin. Again, a cerebral read, but worth it.

A couple about food that will change the way you see your dinner plate and inspire you to at least make incremental changes to your food habits:

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

For those who had life-changing moments (read:  bad things happened), these books are comforting in that they are stories of other people who had crap happen and how they either overcame or simply dealt with it:

The Bag Lady Papers by Alexandra Penney and Cherries in Winter by Suzan Colon and The Late Bloomer’s Revolution by Amy Cohen

And, finally, I love memoirs. These were my favorites:

Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern and Bossypants by Tina Fey and A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel. (I have to say that Kimmel is an excellent reader. I listened to this book and this woman knows how to read and tell a good story.)

Well, folks, those are the highlights of my 2011 reading. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2012 filled with good books!