I love books. I'd eat them if I could. In a way, I do. I average 40 books completed in one year. My record is 63, but I was unemployed that year. If only one could be paid for reading what they liked!
Anyway, though I'm kicking myself for not having read any actual classics in their entirety this year (I did read a good portion of Pride and Prejudice for the second time, but not cover to cover,) here is a list of books I enjoyed in 2005, in no particular order:
Perdita by Paula Byrne: Biography of Mary Robinson, actress, writer and royal mistress. Extremely famous in her time (the late eighteenth century), but virtually forgotten after her death. Her life was so scandalous, she was practically the mother of English tabloids, and a fashion icon. Also a friend of Marie Antoinette (note to Anonymous: she was, not me.)
Facing the Lion by Simone Arnold Liebster: Proof of the power of faith, regardless of age. Also encouraging to see that even those who are strong spiritually can have negative feelings.
The Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto: New York during its Dutch years. Behind the scenes footage in the parent countries. History usually dismisses Dutch New York (New Amsterdam) as unimportant, but here is evidence that its effects are still existent today.
The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde: He never fails to delight.
Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran: Fictional story of three Iranian sisters living in Ireland and running a restaurant. It had a fairy-tale quality to it, and actual recipes!
Queen Isabella by Alison Weir: Biography of the wife of England's Edward II and story of the first successful invasion of England since the Norman conquest of 1066. Should have been titled "Desperate Times call for Desperate Measures". Also, evidence that Edward II may not have been savagely murdered via hot poker in orifice.
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi: Memoirs of a teacher in Iran from the late 1970's till the mid 1990's. Riveting (I always wanted to use that word) tale of living in dangerous times, maintaining a sense of self, and using fine literature to survive.
Q & A by Vikas Swarup: Novel of a boy orphan who wins a TV game show. He is suspected of cheating and arrested. His story is told as an explanation to his lawyer of how an uneducated kid from India could know the answers to all of the questions, even those designed to trick him. Riveting - (ha ha!) and thoroughly humorous. It felt like a Dickens/Mistry hybrid. Possibly my favorite book this year.
I know, I'm into history. What can I say? If I want to read about the present time, I pick up a newspaper.
You may have noticed no tea books on the list. That doesn't mean I did not indulge, but tea tomes call for a separate entry. Coming soon......