Wednesday, January 17, 2007

2005 - Best Books of the Year

Fast Vegetarian Feasts, Martha Rose Shulman
Cookbook. Reliably edible recipes. 368 pages.

366 Delicious Ways to Cook Rice, Beans, and Grains, Andrea Chesman
Cookbook. Focuses as much on deliciousness as wholesomeness. “French Country White Beans” with lemon peel and fresh sage is the best so far. 480 pages.

Bones: Discovering the First Americans, Elaine Dewar
Archaeology. Investigative reporter from Toronto lets active archaeologists tell their own paradigm-shifting stories of the newest discoveries about the oldest Americans - a much more interesting story than the picture I got as a schoolgirld of wandering tribes following the caribou/ buffalo and teepees on the prairie. 628 pages.

The Wandering Scholars of the Middle Ages, Helen Waddell. (1932)
Essays, historical literary criticism. To delight in such obscure words (medieval Latin poets, etc.) and to communicate that delight so many years later is the gift of this passionate and astute British scholar. I would have loved to have been in her classes. 364 pages.

By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture that Launched a New World Religion, Terryl L. Givens.
Early 19th century American history. He doesn’t lie and he doesn’t cheat. I am grateful to him for what is an intelligent man’s testimony of his faith. 336 pages.

The Goose Girl, Shannon Hale
YA novel. A more mature evocation of true marriage you can rarely find (YA or even for full-grown adults) than in this fairytale adaptation. 400 pages.

Greensleeves, Eloise Jarvis McGraw.
Novel. A college girl in Portland, Oregon, early 1960’s, trying to decide how to live her life. Light, enjoyable. It’s hasn’t been republished since 1968—too bad! Look for it in the library. 311 pages.

The Lost Chronicles of the Maya King, David Drew
History. Two different Mayan empires—an “international one” in the north, in contact with Toltec and Mexica cultures, and a more isolationist, conservative one in the south. New archaeology and decipherment of Mayan hieroglyphics. 461 pages.

Emma, Persuasion, and Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen
Novel. Some books are endlessly re-readable. Like these three by Austen. 416, 288, and 352 pages, respectively.

Middlemarch, George Eliot
Novel. Another classic re-read tells the story of a whole village and the hearts of men and women. 880 pages.

Inkheart, Cornelia Funke, translated from the German by Anthea Bell
Novel. Absorbingly imaginative, for older children. A truly evil villain and the quiet valor of a family with the amazing ability to bring books to life. 544 pages. (also Inkspell and Dragonrider (which YoungSon adores)

Children of Summer: Henri Fabre's Insects, Margaret J. Anderson, pictures by Marie LeGlatin Keis.
Children’s bio-novel told in the voice of the famous entomologist’s 10-year-old son. Magical and evocative, tightly based on fact. Read this book aloud to a elementary-aged child and watch the wonder dawn in their eyes. 100 pages.

City Making and Urban Governance in the Americas: Curitiba and Portland, Clara Irazabal.
Compares the environmental successes of Curitiba, Brazil, and Portland, Oregon. Scholarly and very interesting. 335 page

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