Best Books of 2004

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at
Mon Jan 10 09:31:03 EST 2005


>Here 'tis.
>The Stand Out Novel, for me, in 2005  was _Miss Garnet's Angel_ by Salley
>Vickers. It's basically about an older British woman with a very repressed
>and dull life who travels to Venice and has an inner emotional and spiritual
>awakening. There's nothing particularly new about this theme, of 
>course, but it's
>written with such subtlety and skill that it really is fresh and enormously
>captivating. My friends are divided between those who felt the same way I
>did about it, and the few who didn't like it because "nothing much happened"
>(I really don't get this, but that's how they feel). Anyway, I loved it.

That's very interesting - Becca read this a good few years ago and 
didn't like it, which kept me away from reading, but it sounds as if 
it just might not have been the perfect book for a mid-teen reader, 
even one who didn't demand incessant action.  I'll definitely give it 
a try now.

>Runner-up for Best Best New Book by an Author I've Enjoyed for 
>Years: _A Fistful of Sky_ by Nina Kiriki Hoffman. This struck me as 
>the most
>riveting thing she's done recently. I loved her earlier books (_The Thread
>That Binds the Bones_ and _The Silent Strength of Stones_ but her more
>recent ones, though full of interesting ideas, didn't seem to have the same
>oomph of the earlier ones. This one did.

Does this need to be read as a sequel to _Red Heart of Memories_ and 
_Past the Size of Dreaming_ or can it be read as a stand-alone?  (Or 
did I mix it up entirely?)

>_The Jane Austen Book Club_ by Karen
>Joy Fowler. This seems lightweight--and is in fact a very easy book to
>read--until you look more closely and realise that she isn't knocking you
>over the head with obvious concordances to Austen's novels (though there are
>a few of these) but offering subtle parallels and looking at them from all
>sorts of angles. A really feel-good book that offers more than it appears.

I'm on a ring for this with BC and can't wait to see what I think, 
having heard a lot of differing reactions to it.  That you like it is 
most promising!

Thanks for the list, Ros.

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