Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Year in Books: My Book Rankings for 2006

December 20, 2006

I think I hit a five-year-low this year with only 38 books—less than one book per week. I should include the dozen or more Young Adult read-alouds to make the list heftier, but somehow that feels like cheating.

I was really fascinated to see that all 5 nonfiction books that I read this year made it easily into the Top 10 list. In fact, I think that those were, indeed, my Top 5 favorite books. I always think that I really have to be in the mood to read nonfiction, and yet just the right nonfiction book can be absolutely spectacular and terribly memorable.

Out of my list of 44 books that I made last January, I read only 14. The rest of the books I picked up by recommendation either from friends, the Sonlight “Bibliovore” forum, or because the author was one I’d enjoyed previously. I'm missing a few reviews, but for most of the books, you can click on the title for a review. And so, without further rambling, my Year’s Best and Worst:

The Top 10
• Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life (by Amy Krouse Rosenthal)
Eats, Shoots and Leaves (by Lynne Truss)
The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
Under the Banner of Heaven (by Jon Krakauer)
Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers, and their diverse tribe of countercultural conservatives plan to save America (or at least the Republican Party)(by Rod Dreher)
The Memory Keeper's Daughter (by Kim Edwards)
Bel Canto (by Ann Patchett)
Celia's House (by D.E. Stevenson)
Brave Enemies (Robert Morgan)
Storming Heaven (by Denise Giardina)

Very Enjoyable Books
The Solace of Leaving Early (Haven Kimmel)
Life of Pi (by Yann Martel)
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (by A. McCall Smith)
• Tears of the Giraffe (Ladies #1 Detective series, Book 2)
• Morality of Beautiful Girls (Ladies #1 series, Book 3)
The Kalahari Typing School for Men (Alexander McCall Smith
The Full Cupboard of Life (McCall Smith)
In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (McCall Smith)
Blue Shoes and Happiness (by Alexander McCall Smith)
Portrait in Sepia (by Isabel Allende)
Lucia, Lucia (Adriana Trigiani)
Milk Glass Moon(Adriana Trigiani)
The Songcatcher (by Sharyn McCrumb)
Ghost Riders (by Sharyn McCrumb)
New Stories from the South, 2005

Marginally Making the List
Deception Point(by Dan Brown)
Digital Fortress (by Dan Brown)
44 Scotland Steet (by Alexander McCall-Smith)
Portuguese Irregular Verbs (by Alexander McCall Smith)
The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs (by A. McCall Smith)
At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances (by McCall Smith)
Sarah's Quilt(by Nancy Turner)
Monster (by Frank Peretti)

Books Which I Experienced the “Why-Did-I-Read-This-Book?”-Syndrome After Reading
Unspoken (by Angela Hunt)
Miss Julia Hits the Road (by Ann Ross)
A Wedding in December (by Anita Shreve)
Even Now (by Karen Kingsbury)
Fall on Your Knees (by Ann-Marie MacDonald)

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