So, major clarification to start: This is not my favorite books that came out in 2012. In fact, I am pretty sure that none of them came out in 2012. These are my favorite books that I read in 2012. There you go.
Top 5 Fiction Books that I Read for the First Time
5. Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This was not as good as This Side of Paradise or The Great Gatsby, but it still has some great stuff. Some people find Fitzgerald depressing, and I can understand that. I find him enthralling. He penetratingly searches for meaning as his characters struggle with vain pursuits. I thought Tender is the Night was worth the read.
4. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. His more famous book is The Kite Runner, and it is fantastic. This book, however, which follows the lives of two Muslim women in Afghanistan, is nearly as powerful. I think Hosseini writes in a way that is not flattering to Islam, but is also not full of vitriol. The story of very profound and his characters are very real.
3. The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas. I know, not exactly a recent book, but I finally read it. It's great, as evidenced by its lasting impact on western culture. I especially thought Athos was a well-written character.
4. 1984 by George Orwell and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I kind of cheated here, but I thought these two books went together. I thought 1984 was better, but both were great dystopian novels. Both warn against excessive power by the government, but both foresee different dangers.
5. The Plague by Albert Camus. This is a dark, difficult, and profound book about mankind, brokenness, and death. Again, not a new novel, but one that I had been meaning to read for a long time. It is worthwhile, and would be a great one if you are going to read a book with a group of people and discuss it.
Top 5 Nonfiction Books that I Read for the First Time
5. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. Miller's book Searching for God Knows What is an all-time favorite for me. This was not quite as good, but still a great read. Miller tells the story of how he re-evaluated his life when screenwriters came to adapt his book Blue Like Jazz into a movie.
4. Moneyball by Michael Lewis. Of course, the book that follows the 2002 Oakland A's was made into a wonderful movie last year. The book is a great read for anyone who likes baseball (or underdogs).
3. Radical Womanhood: Feminine Fatih in a Feminist World by Carolyn McCulley. I did a lot of reading this year on the subject of biblical manhood and womanhood. This was a standout book from a former feminist on her struggle to embrace biblical femininity, and the freedom she experienced as she did so.
2. Genesis in Space and Time by Francis Schaeffer. This book is great for seeing the importance of history in the Bible and in Christianity. Schaeffer, in my opinion, does not major on the minors when it comes to the Genesis account, but instead shows the biblical and historical significance of the Genesis account.
1. The Meaning of Marriage by Tim and Kathy Keller. This is one of the greatest books I have ever read on marriage. It is great for singles, for newlyweds, and for all married folks. The book walks through the significance of marriage, while not idolizing marriage in an unhealthy way.
Books I Keep on Reading (and that I reread in 2012)
The Napoleon of Notting Hill by G.K. Chesterton
The Reason for God by Tim Keller
Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Experiencing the Trinity by Darrell Johnson