Best Books of 2004

ROSLYN rosgross at bigpond.net.au
Wed Jan 12 09:12:47 EST 2005





> Ros:
>
>>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.

Hallie:

> 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.

I'm inclined to think it helps to have some life experience behind you
to fully appreciate this book, which doesn't necessarily mean someone very
young couldn't like it, but it doesn't surprise me that a teenager might 
not.

>>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?)

As Alison has said, it's a stand-alone.

>>_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!

I must admit that at during the first few chapters, it struck me as sort of
shallow, but its themes deepened as it went along and it came together in a
most satisfying way. What are some of the differing reactions you've heard,
Hallie?

Ros 

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