Friday, December 30, 2005

My Favorite Reads of 2005

In looking back over my ongoing log of the books I've read, I see that I've read almost 100 books this year (93 to be exact, although I expect to finish one more before tomorrow night). No wonder I didn't finish very many quilts. Heh. Oh well, never mind. Anyway, I decided to look over my list and choose my favorite ten novels I finished in the past year. Don't expect a lot of "serious literature" here. I like funny. I like great dialogue. I like believable characters. (I barely even care if the situation is believable as long as the characters are.) I like intrigue. I like stories that can make me forget what's going on around me for a little while. If you're looking for books that are the darlings of the literary critics, then keep on looking. You won't find many of those here. But if you like the things I mentioned above, you might find this list interesting. So here they are, in alphabetical order by author, not order of preference because I don't want to think that hard: DebR's Favorite Novels from 2005 "Bet Me", Jennifer Crusie - A screwball romantic comedy and one of my favorite Crusie novels; and that's saying something since I love the way she writes. It was a very close call whether I'd call this one my favorite or "Faking It", but in the end I had to go with "Bet Me". "Derik's Bane", MaryJanice Davidson - Another screwball romantic comedy, this one about a werewolf with aspirations to be a chef and a nice woman who just happens to be the reincarnation of Morgan Le Fay. I was already hooked on MJD from her "Undead" series, but I think if anything I may like the Wyndham Werewolf characters even more than Betsy and co. Maybe. "The Blue Girl", Charles deLint - An urban fantasy novel that's listed as a young adult book, but I think anyone who likes deLint's work would enjoy it. And if you don't know if you like deLint or not, what the heck are you waiting for?? "Eleven on Top", Janet Evanovich - The latest in the series of books about Stephanie Plum, klutzy and hilarious sometimes-bounty hunter. This is not my favorite in the series, but even an "ok" Plum story is better than a lot of other stories. "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe", Fannie Flagg - I'd seen the movie several times, but this year is the first time I ever read the book, believe it or not. I found it a little rough going at first, as the jumping around in time could be a bit confusing. But once I got into the rhythm of it I devoured it, and when I was done, I loved it. My only complaint: I no longer like the movie as much as I used to, because the book was so much better. "Smoke and Mirrors", Tanya Huff - I'm not even sure how I'd categorize this one. Horror fantasy? Supernatural mystery? Good old-fashioned ghost story? Whatever, I liked it! A couple of characters in this are carry-overs from her Vickie Nelson "Blood..." series, but you don't have to have read those to get this one, or the first in this new series, "Smoke and Shadows". "gods in Alabama", Joshilyn Jackson - A southern mystery populated with fabulous characters and sprinkled with humor. I've already read this one twice since it was released this past spring. It's that good. "Frankenstein: Prodigal Son", Dean Koontz - I'd actually include the follow-up volume, "Frankenstein: City of the Night" in this. They are parts one and two of a trilogy I can't wait to finish. I think Dean Koontz is so underestimated as a writer. "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal", Christopher Moore - This is another one I had trouble getting into at first. It seemed to me to start a bit on the slow side, but once I got the feel for the pace of the writing I thought it was wonderful. "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince", J.K. Rowling - I know, I over-exposed and over-hyped, but I can't help myself. I think when it comes to Harry and the gang you either love 'em or you hate 'em. I love 'em. And finally I have to mention a bonus non-fiction book I highly recommend: "PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives", Frank Warren - Anyone who has been reading RSR for a while knows how fascinating I find the PostSecret project and this is a book featuring photos of dozens of the postcards. Hope some of you find some old favorites and new treasures in this list.