Tuesday, January 10, 2006

About the 2005 List

The list is in chronological order starting in January. It’s interesting to go back and read this list. Some of these books have proved to be forgettable; I barely remember reading them (The Wife, by Meg Wolitzer? What was that about?). Others have stayed with me for months. Did I really read three books by Donald E. Westlake? Those were audiobooks, and so clever, so funny. The list also reveals a little secret: occasionally I read romance novels, the paperback kind from the drugstore. I have identified them in the list as romance, in case you need to know.

Here’s a quick list of the best of them (though not all may be graded A+). These are the ones that I continued to think about for a long time after reading. Doesn’t that happen to you sometimes, where you may not think a book was that amazing while you were reading it, but you find yourself thinking of it months later? That’s a good sign.

Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett
The First Desire Nancy Reisman
The Turk and My Mother by Mary Helen Stefaniak
The Last Day of the War by Judith Claire Mitchell
Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon by Dean Bakapoulis
The Holding by Merilyn Simonds
The Love of a Good Woman by Alice Munro (okay, I just read this)

Also on the list of the year’s best: A Song for Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay. This is high fantasy, and not the sort of thing that everyone would like, though it may appeal to fans of George R.R. Martin. Like Martin, Kay doesn't spend a lot of time on magic or wizards or fey creatures. Instead, he creates an imaginary world that is based in historical fact. The imagined world of Arbonne is really Provence, and his city of Barbentain is Avignon. So it’s medieval France, with its troubadours and courtly love, but with lots of blood and guts thrown in for good measure. A delight.


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