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Amazing Lesser-Known Books of 2012 that You Should Read

Amazing Lesser-Known Books of 2012 that You Should Read

The books that most people gravitate toward these days are generally the ones that are publicized the most. Though word of mouth is all well and good when it comes to discussing great reads with a few friends, it’s the media moguls who tend to dictate which books will be promoted to the masses, and which will be tucked into relative obscurity.  The New York Times Best-Seller list is the primary resource for ideas about what to read next, with Oprah’s Book Club coming in at a close second… and though they’re both decent resources when it comes to finding something new to delve into, their recommendations tend to be based on how many people have read a book, rather than the quality of the story itself.

If you’re an avid reader, but want to shy away from the overly-lauded pieces that everyone else on the planet has inhaled, consider some of the titles listed below. They’re some of the best books of 2012, and though they haven’t received quite as much media attention as those on the NYT list, they are most certainly worth looking into. No pun intended, I swear.

Fiction

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry- A Novel

    The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel, by Rachel Joyce

    Every so often, we come across an antihero who is so awkwardly endearing that we just want to scoop him out of the book and invite him in for tea. Harold Fry is such a character, and this tale about his impromptu journey across England is both surreal enough to be believable, and genuine enough that the reader can relate to it. Fry is amazingly human, and his adventure takes us on a life-changing journey through the labyrinths of our own hearts.

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    Non-Fiction

    Quiet- The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain

      Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain

      If you or a close friend of yours would be described as an introvert, you might have more than a passing interest in this book. Often made fun of for being “too shy” or “too quiet”, introverts tend to pull away from the spotlight and prefer solitude over hyper-socializing, which is anathema to most modern societal expectations. This book is a fascinating study regarding the power and potential of introverts VS the extroverts that seem to be so idealized by American culture. There are tips on how to negotiate introvert/extrovert relationships, and fabulous, encouraging success stories about famous introverts who have changed the world.

      Sci Fi/Fantasy

      The Pattern Scars, by Caitlin Sweet

        The Pattern Scars, by Caitlin Sweet

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        Winner of the Canadian Bookie award for best Science Fiction, Fantasy or Speculative Fiction, this novel follows the story of a young woman named Nola, who was born into abject poverty, but managed to escape it with the help of those who recognized (and later, manipulated) her gift of prophecy. This isn’t a “unicorns and pixie dust” sort of fantasy book: it draws the reader through seedy interactions with brothel workers, psychopaths, and murderers, and intersperses blood magic and murder with devastating betrayals. The novel is dark and luminous at turns, and you never know if the next page will bring unimaginable heartbreak and terror, or dream-inspiring beauty.

        Graphic Novel

        Freakangels Box Set by Warren Ellis

          Freakangels Box Set by Warren Ellis

          The Freakangels web comic by the ever-brilliant (and oft-terrifying) Warren Ellis was published as a box set last month, and if you’re a fan of any of his work, this is a must-read. Written by Ellis and illustrated by Paul Duffield, the story revolves around twelve Londoners with startling psychic abilities: they accidentally flooded the world when they used their powers in unison a few years ago, and are now struggling to survive in the ruins of Whitechapel as something ominous creeps ever-closer…

          Cookbook

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          Food in Jars- Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, by Marisa McLellan

            Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, by Marisa McLellan

            The self-sufficiency revolution is gaining in speed around the world, with people re-acquainting themselves with knowledge and abilities that haven’t been cool since their great-grandparents’ time. Interest in homesteading is at an all-time high, and one of the most popular practices these days is canning one’s own food—preserving everything from fruits and vegetables to soups, seasonings, and even desserts. This book guides you through small-batch canning throughout the year for maximum production with minimum stress.

            Children’s Lit

            The Spindlers, by Lauren Oliver

              The Spindlers, by Lauren Oliver

              Anyone who has a younger sibling has likely wished that they were different, somehow: maybe less annoying, or more fun to hang out with, or even less inclined to break things and blame it on us. If we were to wake up one morning to discover that a Spindler (read: huge, evil spider with hands) has stolen our little brother’s soul for the Queen of the underworld, would we fight to get it back so he’d be normal and whole again? Even if that meant he was going to be his usual, annoying self?

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              (This book is geared towards ages 8 and up, but it’s also great for younger people with high reading abilities)

              These are just a few of the many gorgeous books that were published in 2012. If your preferred genre wasn’t represented here, or if you’re looking for even more books to explore in the New Year, head on over to Goodreads for recommendations tailored just for you.

              What was your favourite read of 2012? Let us know!

              Featured photo credit:  Vintage old books on wooden deck via Shutterstock

              More by this author

              Catherine Winter

              Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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              Last Updated on July 8, 2020

              18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

              18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

              The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

              1. Understand Yourself Better

              Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

              Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

              2. Keep Track of Small Changes

              I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

              Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

              3. Become Aware of What Matters

              As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

              You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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              4. Boost Creativity

              The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

              When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

              You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

              5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

              A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

              Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

              6. Process Life Experiences

              When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

              Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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              7. Stress Relief

              In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

              Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

              8. Provide Direction

              Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

              One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

              9. Solve Problems

              Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

              Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

              When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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              10. Find Relief From Fighting

              Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

              Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

              11. Find Meaning in Life

              Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

              12. Allow Yourself to Focus

              Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

              13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

              When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

              14. Let the Past Go

              I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

              15. Allow Freedom

              Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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              16. Enhance Your Career

              Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

              Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

              17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

              All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

              18. Catalog Your Life for Others

              No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

              We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

              Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

              Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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