Well, with only 2 days remaining in the year and a giant home improvement project in the works, it appears that my finished book list will stay at 62 books for the year. Not bad--some were shorter than "real books", and that's why the total is so high.
Looking back over the list for this year and last year, I would say that last year's reading was far better than this year's. However, there were some keepers in the list. So, on to the 2nd annual Mama T book awards:
Best thing I read this year? Doubt: A Parable by John Patrick Shanley. Winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for drama. A play about a priest and a nun--is he an abuser, or is she reading more into the story than is called for. I think this play is genius.
Runner up: And this is a close one: Prince of Foxes by Samuel Shellabarger. I needed to read an epic swashbuckler that also taught by example the redeeming power and beauty of goodness and honor. Absolutely excellent "old-fashioned" book, with a more serious story than first appears.
Best non-fiction of the year? God and the World by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. I am consistently blown away by the clarity of his thinking and writing. The more I read of the Pope's works, the better I like him--and I liked him plenty to start with.
Runner up non-fiction: Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles by Raymond Arroyo. How she brought EWTN from nothing to something--and a radical reliance on Christ--make for thought provoking reading.
Coziest book of the year? A City of Bells by Elizabeth Goudge. This was a lovely escape into a warm and wonderful place, where everything works out and love wins in the end.
Best new (to me) find? Angela Thirkell. I read the first 3 or 4 of her books this year. I wouldn't want to read one after another, but the are perfect little bon-bons of books--to read after you've read something hard. But there is this little, oh, edge to her books that make them even more enjoyable to me. I have another one on the wait list, waiting for the appropriate time.
Funniest book? Three Men in a Boat. This is the book that most divided our book club--1/2 the women thought it was one of the worst books we had ever read ("How could you slog through this tedious mess?") and 1/2 thinking it was hilariously funny. Obviously I was in the second camp. I will never look at a can of peaches and can openers the same way.
Worst book of the year? Cat on the Scent by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown. Apologies to those of you who are cat lovers, but this one was just dumb. Plus I hate it that the humans in the books never really solved the mystery. I thought that was lame.
Two others that don't fit anywhere else, but that I was impressed by: The Bee Season by Myla Goldberg. I wish I could write a first novel like this one. Inventive and very different from what I expected when I heard the book was about a girl and a spelling bee. And second, Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. No action, much, just a portrait of a man living out his call to God in the Midwest--with a wife and son who came to him so late in life. I think many people would dislike this book because "nothing happens" but it stuck in my head.
So, there you have it. Another year of reading. I've listed all 62 books in the extended entry so you can see them if you'd like.