9. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote ~ This true crime novel, frequently toted as the first of its kind, is beautifully written. Mr. Capote was able to produce empathy for the murderers in the way he told their stories, although not taking away the desire for the reader to see them to face the consequences of their actions.
8. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie ~ A delightful mystery! Agatha Christie was my designated favorite mystery writer when I was growing up and she is still among my favorites.
7. Labyrinth by Kate Mosse ~ I found the story mesmerizing, full of suspense as well as drama. I loved the historical aspect of the novel most of all.
6. Tales From the Child of the Enemy by Ursula Duba ~ Although simple in its presentation (in poetry form), Ms. Duba’s book is thought provoking and conscious raising.
5. The Devil of Nanking by Mo Hayder ~ Books that balance historical events with the present seem to be among my favorites most often, I've discovered. This novel offered that and so much more. It was one of the best suspense/thriller novels I've read.
4. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho ~ Stealing a line directly from my review: Upon finishing the book, I understand what the publisher Harper Collins meant when it referred to the book as being like “getting up at dawn and seeing the sun rise while the rest of the world sleeps.” That’s truly what it feels like.
3. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield ~ Admittingly, having just finished The Thirteenth Tale, it is the most fresh in my mind and perhaps that is part of the reason I was so tempted to put it in the top spot. Alas, two other books consumed me just a little more and so The Thirteenth Tale finds its place as #3 on my list. It was well written, intriguing, and spoke to me, sometimes the voice sounding a little like mine.
2. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova ~ I was lost in the prose as soon as I began reading and held in suspense with each chapter. I was transported directly into Kostova's world as I read, held captive even when I was not reading the book.
1. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See ~ Snow Flower and The Secret Fan left a deep impression on me. I started blogging several months after I read this particular book, and so no review is posted. Straight from my notes:
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2005)
See, Lisa (Fiction) (258 pgs)
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is the story about the lives of two special friends in nineteenth-century China. The two girls are matched as laotongs, a rare friendship that is established between two girls specially chosen to be lifelong friends. They communicate through a secret language called nu shu.
The descriptions and writing style of Lisa See, the author, brought to mind Arthur Golden with Memoirs of a Geisha. I found the historical and cultural aspects of the novel intriguing: the foot binding process, the role of women in society and within the family, for example. The chapter and description of the foot binding process was difficult to read at times. Foot binding was a big part of the Chinese culture during that time period and a reflection on the place of women in society. It was believed that foot binding was proof of personal discipline and an ability to endure the pain of child birth as well as whatever other misfortunes might come. Small feet were a sign of beauty. The smaller the feet, the better the wife. Lisa See painted a disturbing portrait of women’s roles in those days, where only having male offspring made a woman valuable and women were the property of their husband’s family. While this idea still exists today in one form or another in some cultures, it was even more widespread back then.
The friendship and misunderstandings between Snow Flower and Lily brought to mind Hassan and Amir from Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. Like it did for Amir, my heart ached for Lily and the poor choices she made, which ultimately caused a riff in her friendship with Snow Flower.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a powerful novel, not one that I will easily forget, and is by far the best novel I’ve read so far this year.
Longest Book Read In 2006 ~ The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (676 pgs)
Shortest Book Read In 2006 ~ Tales From A Child of the Enemy by Ursula Duba (155 pgs)
Best Series In Which I Am Caught Up ~ Jim Butcher's Dresden Files
Best Nonfiction ~ Tales From A Child of the Enemy by Ursula Duba
Favorite Comfort Read ~ Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series
New To Me Authors Most Likely To Become Long-Term Favorites ~
T. Jefferson Parker
Funniest Narrator ~ Stephanie Plum (Janet Evanovich)
Characters I'd Like To Hang With ~
Sookie Stackhouse (Charlaine Harris)
Mma Ramotswe (Alexander McCall Smith)
Kitty Norville (Carrie Vaughn)
Joanna Brady (J.A. Jance)
Ruth Jamison (Fannie Flagg)
Noah Jordain (M.J. Rose)
Grandma Mazur (Janet Evanovich)
Mina Harker (Bram Stoker)
Dr. Clifton (Diane Setterfield)
Detectives I would Like On My Case ~
JP Beaumont (J.A. Jance)
Harry Bosch (Michael Connelly)
As Back-Up ~
Carson Ryder & Harry Nautilis (Jack Kerley)
Alex Cross (James Patterson)
Characters I Would Like To Have At My Side If Danger Comes Knocking At My Door ~
Harry Dresden (Jim Butcher)
Clay Danvers (Kelley Armstrong)
Gabriel Allon (Daniel Silva)
Micah Dalton (David Stone)
Therapist Whose Couch I Would Be Most Comfortable On ~ Frank Clevenger (Keith Ablow)
Lawyer I Would Hire If I Was In a Jam On the Right Side Of the Law ~ Alexandra Cooper (Linda Fairstein)
Lawyer I Would Hire In a Jam If I Wasn't ~ Michael Haller (Michael Connelly)
Fantasy World I Wouldn't Mind Stepping Into ~ Kyralia (The Black Magician Trilogy, Trudi Cananvan)
2006 Reading Trends ~
Total Books Read - 115
Books Read by Genre -
Authors Read by Gender -
Books Read by Authors' Gender -
Average Books Read per Author (by Gender) -
Books Read by Rating -
6 Very Good +
33 Very Good
27 Good +
5 Fair +
Total Books I was Unable to Read to Completion: 1
Book Size -
4 Pint Size Books (200 pgs and Under)
51 Intermediate Books (201-350 pgs)
53 Substantial Books (351-500 pgs)
7 Chunkster Books (501+ pgs)
Books Read by Type -
29 Hardback Books
39 Trade Paperback Books (9 Advanced Reader's Editions, ARE)
46 Paperback Boooks
1 Manuscript Copy (1 ARE)
Books Read by Year of Publication -
93 in the 2000's (39 in 2006 alone)
16 in the 1990's
3 in the 1980's
1 each in 1965, 1926, and 1897
Have a very Happy New Year everyone!