Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Favorite Books, 2005 edition. I went back and re-read a lot of old books this year -- no real classics, but some old Stephen King (Carrie, The Shining) and Pat Conroy (Lords of Discipline), among others. There was no real new fiction I read that really stands out -- the aforementioned Lords of Discipline was probably my favorite read for last year.*

If I had to pick the best of the new was The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason -- this is best described as a thinking person's Da Vinci Code. The new Jasper Fforde -- I don't even recall the title -- was boring and disappointing; I didn't even finish it. Ted Dekker's Ring trilogy was so-so. Charlotte Simmons was okay. Etc.

On the other hand, I read several good non-fiction books. If I had to pick one favorite it would probably be No True Glory: A Frontline Account of the Battle for Fallujah by Bing West. This is an excellent book that allows one to grasp the confusion of the policy, the war, tribes, factions, men, soldiers and Marines, insurgents, terrorists, the battles and skirmishes of Fallujah. West gives you the feel of the frontline and the perspective of the overall battle(s). Truly an amazing feat standing by itself, but so close to the actual battles makes it even more amazing.

The NF runner-up would be Loving Homosexuals As Jesus Would: A Fresh Christian Approach By Chad W. Thompson. (This could easily be titled "Loving ___ as Jesus Would.") Here's a good review by Doug LeBlanc.

My 3rd favorite non-fiction was Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies -- and What It Means to Be Human by Joel Garreau -- very thought provoking.

Other favorites: Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age by Kevin Boyle (the trial of Ossian Sweet); Hammers & Nails: The Life and Music of Mark Heard by Matthew Dickerson, Between Good and Evil : A Master Profiler's Hunt for Society's Most Violent Predators by Roger L. Depue & Susan Schindehette, and The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague In History by John M. Barry.


I can't believe I overlooked Harry! Yes, I really liked Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) by J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré (Illustrator). I also re-read Order of the Phoenix and Goblet of Fire.

Other re-readings of excellent books included the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the Last Battle. Also, I read the last two Brian Haig novels -- these weren't bad.