Unlike the big boys' lists, however, mine won't be full of fancy-pants new releases and current bestsellers, for a couple of reasons. First: hardcover books? What honest-to-god book lover in their right mind buys hardcover at full retail price? Puh-lease. (And for some unfathomable reason, I'm still not on publishers' mailing lists for comps. Don't they know who I am?) And second, who has time for new releases when you're just trying to keep up with the tottering stacks of "must read next" books that have been accumulating since 1992?
So instead I offer you this:
A Somewhat Dated and Highly Subjective Real Book Lover's Guide to the Ten Best Books of 2005Vanity Fair - I bet if they came out with top ten lists back in 1848, this would have been near the top. As it is, it probably tops my list as the best book I (re-)read this year. Still so catty and funny and accessible. I heart Thackeray big-time.
The Roaring Girl - I'm so glad I finally cleaned and purged my bookshelves because, if I hadn't, I never would have rediscovered this amazing collection of short stories by Canadian Greg Hollingshead, one of the best writers you've never heard of.
Good Omens - Funniest new book I read this year, hands down. I'm chagrined it took me so long to get to it.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - This was a re-read. And I may have to read it again in 2006.
A Complicated Kindness - A dark horse! I was not expecting this book to be poignant and funny and deceptively simple, despite the fact that the book jacket kept promising it would be.
Paris Stories - Because I am both a slowpoke and a dumdum, it took me until this year to finally discover Mavis Gallant. Fortunately, Gallant seems to be wonderfully prolific, so I look forward to a long and beautiful relationship.
The Great Gatsby - To think, this book used to bug the bejeebus out of me. Thank goodness I smartened up.
The Remains of the Day - Yes, the ending did force me to wake my dog so that I'd have someone to hug, but it was still an amazing read. I need to approach this one again, now that I can lose (or at any rate fully embrace) my sense of dread.
The Little House box set - Envisioning these stories from the perspective of Laura's parents breathed fresh -- if somewhat terrifying -- life into them. "Good old days," my foot.
Right Ho, Jeeves - I will say this as many times as it needs to be said: you simply cannot go wrong with Bertie and Jeeves.
Books that I could have lived without but stubbornly read anyway because I get That Way once I've started a book: Terry Pratchett's Lords and Ladies, David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer, Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, Christopher Moore's Fluke, and -- this is going to shock you -- Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul 2. (Were you shocked?)
Ah, well. You can't always kick a goal.