What I Read in 2006

Another post with a borrowed meme. This one comes from Booking Through Thursday where the question asked is:

So, now that 2006 is over . . . what were your favorite books of the year?

I read quite a few books in 2006. One of my resolutions last year was to read 50 books. I lost my list (and my count) sometime in October, but I know I was pretty close to making 50 books by that time so I’m sure I met my goal (and possibly exceeded it). In my younger days I didn’t need to set goals to read a lot of books because I breezed right through one or two a week. The older I get, the less time there seems to be for reading books. I might have to do something about that.

I’m not particularly good at book reviews. I can tell you I liked a book or disliked a book, but not much beyond that. With that in mind, here were my favorites for the year:

Into the Forest by Jean Hegland. The best word I can come up with to describe this book is captivating. I couldn’t put it down. It has an interesting premise and the author did a fine job of exploring the relationship between the two main characters (sisters).

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. If I had pick one favorite for the year, I think this might be it. I was first introduced to Haruki Murakami’s books by a friend, a couple of years ago, who picked Murakami’s Norwegian Wood as her book club pick for our little (now seemingly defunct) club. Kafka on the Shore was probably one of the most bizarre books I’ve ever read. One of the reviews at Amazon.com (the second review written by Larry Dilq) mentions that “reading Murakami is a bit like going into therapy,” the images and dreams seeming familiar and personal, and I think that sums up Murakami very well. I thoroughly enjoy Murakami’s prose (in both books). I’m grateful to my friend for introducing me to Haruki Murakami’s works.

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder. This is another book recommended by a friend who brought it up at dinner one night and raved about it so much I had to order it almost right away. I don’t read a lot of non-fiction. Some, but not much, and usually it’s historical non-fiction as I’m a lover of history (somewhat partial to Elizabethan history, for no known reason to me, but not limited to it). Mountains Beyond Mountains is an inspiring book and looking back at it now reminds me that when I get my health back in order I want to look into doing some sort of volunteer work.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite authors. I also read her contribution to the Myths series, The Penelopeiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus. Another good read.

I also read more than my share of mind candy (Nora Roberts comes to mind) and I think I started out the year reading Robert Jordan’s Knife of Dreams (the 11th book in the Wheel of Time series). You might not know it from looking at the above list of favorites for 2006, but I’m a big fan of the sci-fi and fantasy genres. That’s one of the reasons I set a goal of 50 books last year, with a partial list of books in mind, books outside of my usual comfort zone.

The plan is to do the same this year. Library card in hand, I’m going to explore the worlds.

Books let us into their souls and lay open to us the secrets of our own. ~William Hazlit