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*2004 Stand-outs*
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  *2004 Stand-outs*
    Sonderbooks 91

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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


Sonderbooks Stand-Outs 2004

January 21, 2005

It's time again for my list of my favorite books of the previous year.  This list covers Sonderbooks 70 through Sonderbooks 90.

My selection process is not at all scientific.  I look back over the list of titles I've reviewed.  I choose as Stand-outs those that make me stop and smile and think, "Yes!  What a good book!"

You'll probably notice that some of the books with only three stars made this list, some ranked higher than others to which I gave four stars.  This goes to show how subjective the process is.  My initial star rating reflects how I felt about a book after I had just finished reading it.  These rankings reflect how I feel about the books after looking back on all those I read over the whole year.  Every book on this list is highly recommended.

Please note that some books from series are listed here, not in the order that they were written, but in order of which book I liked best.  Click on the book title to read my review, which will also tell you the order of the series.

I like some types of books more than others.  It didn't seem fair to compare Fantasy books for Young Adults (my favorite genre) with Contemporary stories, since most of the contemporary stories would have been at the end of the list.  So I divided all the books into categories to try to compare books with other similar ones.

I hope you enjoy these books as much as I did!

My Favorite Books of the Year

For Young Adults:   Crown Duel, by Sherwood Smith
For Grown-Ups:  Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke,
Nonfiction:  The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness, by Joel ben Izzy

Fantasy for Young Adults

1.  Crown Duel, by Sherwood Smith
2.  Sorcery and Cecilia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot, by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
3.  Sabriel, by Garth Nix
4.  Enna Burning, by Shannon Hale
5.  The Hollow Kingdom, by Clare B. Dunkle
6.  The Shamer's Daughter, by Lene Kaaberbol
7.  Close Kin, by Clare Dunkle
8.  The Oracle Betrayed, by Catherine Fisher
9.  Lirael, by Garth Nix
10.  Abhorsen, by Garth Nix
11.  Waters Luminous and Deep, by Meredith Ann Pierce
12.  Stravaganza:  City of Masks, by Mary Hoffman
13.  Stravaganza:  City of Stars, by Mary Hoffman
14.  Wizard's Holiday, by Diane Duane
15.  The Grand Tour, by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
16.  Unexpected Magic, by Diana Wynne Jones

Children's Fantasy

1.  Wren to the Rescue, by Sherwood Smith
2.  Wren's War, by Sherwood Smith
3.  Wren's Quest, by Sherwood Smith

Young Adult and Children's Fantasy Old Favorites

1.  The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien
2.  The Horse and His Boy, by C. S. Lewis
3.  The Last Battle, by C. S. Lewis
4.  Cart and Cwidder, by Diana Wynne Jones
5.  The Crown of Dalemark, by Diana Wynne Jones
6.  The Spellcoats, by Diana Wynn Jones
7.  The Silver Chair, by C. S. Lewis
8.  The Magician's Nephew, by C. S. Lewis
9.  Drowned Ammet, by Diana Wynne Jones

Young Adult Historical Fiction

1.  The Sunbird, by Elizabeth E. Wein
2.  The Winter Prince, by Elizabeth E. Wein

Children's Contemporary Novels

1.  The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place, by E. L. Konigsburg
2.  Defending Irene, by Kristin Wolden Nitz
3.  Millicent Min, Girl Genius, by Lisa Yee
4.  Indigo's Star, by Hilary McKay
5.  Iqbal, by Francesco D'Adamo
6.  Chasing Vermeer, by Blue Balliett
7.  Granny Torrelli Makes Soup, by Sharon Creech
8.  Olive's Ocean, by Kevin Henkes

Young Adult Contemporary Novels

1.  The Year of Secret Assignments, by Jaclyn Moriarty
2.  The Schwa Was Here, by Neal Shusterman
3.  Godless, by Pete Hautman
4.  The Last Chance Texaco, by Brent Hartinger
5.  The Beast, by Walter Dean Myers


Young Adult and Children's Classics

1.  Emily of New Moon, by L. M. Montgomery
2.  The Road to Yesterday, by L. M. Montgomery
3.  The Big Kerplop! by Bertrand R. Brinley

Literary Fiction

1.  Nights of Rain and Stars, by Maeve Binchy
2.  Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett
3.  My Sister's Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
4.  Seven Blessings, by Ruchama King
5.  Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture, by Apostolis Doxiadis

Science Fiction and Fantasy

1.  Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
2.  The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
3.  The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
4.  Dangerous Notes, by Gillian Bradshaw
5.  Lost in a Good Book, by Jasper Fforde

Historical Fiction

1.  An Assembly Such as This, by Pamela Aidan
2.  Render Unto Caesar, by Gillian Bradshaw
3.  A Legacy of Love, by Joanna Trollope writing as Caroline Harvey
4.  A Second Legacy,  by Joanna Trollope writing as Caroline Harvey
5.  Duty and Desire, by Pamela Aidan

Mystery and Adventure

1.  The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown
2.  The Sunday Philosophy Club, by Alexander McCall Smith
3.  Killer Smile, by Lisa Scottoline
4.  The Full Cupboard of Life, by Alexander McCall Smith
5.  Murder is Academic, by Christine Poulson
6.  The Deeds of the Disturber,  by Elizabeth Peters
7.  Pride and Prescience, by Carrie A. Bebris
8.  Monday Mourning, by Kathy Reichs

Classic Fiction

1.  To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
2.  The Great Impersonation, by E. Phillips Oppenheim

Personal Stories and Reflections

1.  The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness, by Joel ben Izzy
2.  Expecting Adam, by Martha Beck
3.  Love in the Driest Season, by Neely Tucker
4.  The Opposite of Fate, by Amy Tan
5.  Sixpence House, by Paul Collins
6.  Letters to a Young Therapist, by Mary Pipher
7.  Raising a Reader, by Jennie Nash
8.  Journey from the Land of No, by Roya Hakakian
9.  Truth and Beauty, by Ann Patchett
10.  Burned Alive, by Souad
11.  There Are No Shortcuts, by Rafe Esquith
12.  How Can We Keep from Singing, by Joan Oliver Goldsmith
13.  Imagined London, by Anna Quindlen
14.  Inside the Kingdom, by Carmen bin Ladin

Christian Nonfiction

1.  A Year With C. S. Lewis, edited by Patricia S. Klein
2.  The Inescapable Love of God, by Thomas Talbott
3.  If Grace Is True, by Philip Gulley and James Mulholland
4.  Let Your Life Speak, by Parker J. Palmer
5.  If God Is Love, by Philip Gulley and James Mulholland

Nonfiction for Writers

1.  Seven Steps on the Writers' Path, by Nancy Pickard and Lynn Lott
2.  Madeleine L'Engle:  Herself, compiled by Carole F. Chase
3.  The Writers' Book of Hope, by Ralph Keyes

Humorous Nonfiction

1.  How to Remodel a Man, by W. Bruce Cameron
2.  Eats, Shoots and Leaves, by Lynne Truss
3.  The Complete Peanuts, 1950-1952, by Charles M. Schulz
4.  Pooh and the Philosophers, by John Tyerman Williams
5.  Raisin' Brains, by Karen L. J. Isaacson

Current Issues

1.  The Middle of Everywhere, by Mary Pipher
2.  Running on Empty, by Peter G. Peterson
3.  The Working Poor, by David K. Shipler
4.  Losing America, by Sentaor Robert C. Byrd
5.  Homegrown Democrat, by Garrison Keillor
6.  Selling Women Short, by Lisa Featherstone
7.  The Pentagon's New Map, by Thomas P. M. Barnett

Other Nonfiction

1.  Count Down, by Steve Olson
2.  Earth from Above, by Yann Arthus-Bertrand
3.  Astonish Yourself! by Roger-Pol Droit

Nonfiction Old Favorites

1.  A Circle of Quiet, by Madeleine L'Engle
2.  If You Want To Write, by Brenda Ueland
3.  Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott
4.  Gift from the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
5.  Unspoken Sermons:  Series I, II, and III, by George MacDonald
6.  Winged Life, by Hannah Hurnard

Children's Nonfiction

1.  Actual Size, by Steve Jenkins
2.  Thura's Diary, by Thura Al-Windawi
3.  Open Your Eyes, edited by Jill Davis
4.  The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, by Mordecai Gerstein
5.  Dr. Ernest Drake's Dragonology
6.  If Not for the Cat, haiku by Jack Prelutsky, paintings by Ted Rand
7.  Show!  Don't Tell! by Josephine Nobisso, illustrated by Eva Montanari
8.  A Life Like Mine

Picture Books

1.  Philadelphia Chickens, by Sandra Boynton
2.  Rhinoceros Tap, by Sandra Boynton
3.  The Piggy in the Puddle, by Charlotte Pomerantz, illustrated by James Marshall
4.  The Princess Knight, by Cornelia Funke, illustrated by Kerstin Meyer
5.  The Cat Who Walked Across France, by Kate Banks, pictures by Georg Hallensleben
6.  Mr. Maxwell's Mouse, by Frank Asch, illustrated by Devin Asch
7.  Bittle, by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
8.  Mister Seahorse, by Eric Carle
9.  I, Crocodile, by Fred Marcellino
10.  Duck for President, by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin
11.  A Spree in Paree, by Catherine Stock
Sonder is a German prefix meaning "special."

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved. 

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