The Best Books I Read in 2012

by guest blogger Maya Rodale, author of smart and sassy romance novels

Welcome to the inevitable blog post in which a dedicated reader, author, and list maker recounts her favorite books of the year. It’s happening.

How to Be a Woman This books alternates between a hilarious memoir of an awkward girl growing up in England and a new feminist manifesto. It’s intensely personal, never preachy, and always thoughtful and totally hysterical.

The End of Men and Sex at Dawn I read these two back-to-back on my wedding anniversary trip. (Yes, the husband had some questions about that.) Both offer a fresh, research-based look at long-held assumptions about how differences between the sexes developed (Sex at Dawn) and how they’re changing now (The End of Men). Both are thoughtful, fascinating, and non-judgmental. They are written by different people and not at all related, but support each other beautifully.

A Royal Pain I adored this contemporary romance featuring an American girl and a Royal Duke. For a longer review, check out my blog post on it.

An Economist Gets Lunch A fascinating and funny look and at how to find and judge the quality of a restaurant using economic principles. Also, there is an amazing chapter on how and why the best BBQ joints are on the outskirts of town and open first thing in the morning.

The Favored Daughter I did not expect that this story of a young girl who was left to die in Afghanistan, grew up under the Taliban, and ran for president would be riveting poolside reading, but it was. OMG, it was. My mom wrote a full blog about this book. I just will say this: Never, ever take for granted being born a woman in America.

Paris in Love A warm, lovely, and funny book about the year that best-selling romance novelist Eloisa James packed up her family and moved to Paris. Read my mom’s review.

The Atlantic Monthly OK, it’s not a book—only an exceptionally well-written magazine that consistently features the most interesting collection of articles. But I started reading The Atlantic on my Kindle this year (after the famous “Can Women Have It All?” article). Since then, it has been, hands-down, my FAVORITE reading experience of the year. Furthermore, every great article I click on from Twitter…comes from The Atlantic. Simply amazing, well-crafted, intriguing storytelling.


Maya Rodale is the author of multiple historical romance novels, as well as the nonfiction book Dangerous Books for Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels, Explained. She has a master’s degree from New York University and lives in Manhattan with her darling dog and a rogue of her own. Her latest book is Seducing Mr. KnightlyLearn more at


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2 Responses to The Best Books I Read in 2012

  1. Nikki Lindqvist December 14, 2012 at 8:52 am #

    Thanks for these tips. Next year, it would be great if you could give them a bit earlier for those of us who live outside the U.S. and need to order things in time to have them shipped here, etc. I have a bunch of love-to-read type relatives here in Sweden and of course English isn’t a problem, so… 🙂 Anyway, thanks again.

  2. kathi dunphy December 14, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    The most beautiful childrens picture book I came across is “Great Joy”. Exquisite paintings, 1940’s era setting. A little girl’s concern for the old organ grinder and his monkey, that she sees from her city window, perfect for Christmas. Dont remember the author, the book is already in the mail to my granddaughters.

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