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Sonderbooks Stand-Outs 2005

February 8, 2006

It's time again for my list of my favorite books of the previous year.  This list covers Sonderbooks 91 through Sonderbooks 104.

My reviews are written right after I've read the books.  At the end of the year, I like to list my favorites for that year, the ones that stick out in my mind as excellent.

This year, I was having marital problems, so that changed the kind of reading I enjoyed.  This year my lifeline was books on relationships, and some of them changed my life.  Of course I still read fiction, but I definitely wanted lighter, happy-ending stories.  I didn't like reading books where marriages fell apart.  In fact, the darkest novel I read was The True Story of Hansel and Gretel, by Louise Murphy, and I read that at the start of the year, before I was aware of my own problems.

It doesn't seem fair to compare books of different genres, and it doesn't seem fair to compare Old Favorites which I've read and loved many times with new books read for the first time.  So I split the books into types, and usually gave the Old Favorites a list of their own.  In a few cases, there was only one Old Favorite in a category, so I simply ranked it with the others.

All of these books are especially recommended!



1.  The Divorce Remedy, by Michele Weiner Davis
2.  Love and Respect, by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
3.  The Script, by Elizabeth Landers and Vicky Mainzel
4.  How One of You Can Bring the Two of You Together, by Susan Page
5.  For Women Only, by Shaunti Feldhahn
6.  Depression Fallout, by Anne Sheffield
7.  The Dance of Anger, by Harriet Lerner, Ph.D.
8.  You Just Don't Understand, by Deborah Tannen, Ph.D.
9.  The Dance of Intimacy, by Harriet Lerner, Ph.D.


1.  A Generous Orthodoxy, by Brian D. McLaren
2.  What Does the Bible Really Say About Hell? by Randy Klassen
3.  My Descent Into Death, by Howard Storm
4.  A New Kind of Christian, by Brian D. McLaren
5.  The Narrow Road, by Brother Andrew, with John and Elizabeth Sherrill
6.  The Power of a Praying Wife, by Stormie Omartian
7.  The Power of a Praying Parent, by Stormie Omartian

Miscellaneous Nonfiction

1.  Once Upon a Midlife, by Allan B. Chinen
2.  Animals in Translation, by Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson
3.  The City of Falling Angels, by John Berendt
4.  Ready or Not, Here Life Comes, by Mel Levine, M.D.


1.  A Writer's Paris, by Eric Maisel
2.  Writing About Your Life, by William Zinsser


1.  Leaving the Saints, by Martha Beck
2.  The Other Side of the Dale, by Gervase Phinn
3.  Over Hill and Dale, by Gervase Phinn
4.  Head Over Heels in the Dales, by Gervase Phinn
5.  Up and Down in the Dales, by Gervase Phinn
6.  The Horses of Proud Spirit, by Melanie Sue Bowles
7.  The Child That Books Built, by Francis Spufford
8.  Walking a Literary Labyrinth, by Nancy M. Malone
9.  Garlic and Sapphires, by Ruth Reichl


1.  Plan B:  Further Thoughts on Faith, by Anne Lamott
2.  The Summer of the Great-Grandmother, by Madeleine L'Engle
3.  Against Depression, by Peter D. Kramer
4.  Nothing Left Over, by Toinette Lippe


1.  The Complete Peanuts:  1955 to 1956, by Charles M. Schulz
2.  The Complete Peanuts:  1953 to 1954, by Charles M. Schulz
3.  Here Speeching American, by Kathryn Petras and Ross Petras


1.  A Castle in the Backyard, by Betsy Draine and Michael Hinden
2.  As the Romans Do, by Alan Epstein
3.  The Secret Life of the Seine, by Mort Rosenblum
4.  Notes from a Roman Terrace, by Joan Marble


1.  Miracle:  A Celebration of New Life,by Anne Geddes and Celine Dion
2.  In Focus:  National Geographic's Greatest Portraits
3.  Lighthouses of Europe, photographs by Philip Plisson and Guillaume Plisson, text by Daniel Charles



1.  Confessions of Super Mom, by Melanie Lynne Hauser
2.  These Three Remain:  Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman, Book 3, by Pamela Aidan
3.  A Good Yarn, by Debbie Macomber
4.  Parnassus on Wheels, by Christopher Morley
5.  In the Company of Cheerful Ladies, by Alexander McCall Smith
6.  Carry On, Jeeves, by P. G. Wodehouse
7.  Jeeves in the Offing, by P. G. Wodehouse
8.  Otherwise Engaged, by Eileen Goudge
9.  Every Boy's Got One, by Meg Cabot


1.  Q & A, by Vikas Swarup
2.  Zorro, by Isabel Allende
3.  Till We Have Faces, by C. S. Lewis
4.  Knitting, by Anne Bartlett
5.  The True Story of Hansel and Gretel, by Louise Murphy
6.  Vanishing Acts, by Jodi Picoult


1.  A Christmas Guest, by Anne Perry
2.  Jane and the Wandering Eye, by Stephanie Barron
3.  A Moment on the Edge, edited by Elizabeth George
4.  Case of Lies, by Perri O'Shaughnessy
5.  Eight of Swords, by David Skibbins
6.  Died in the Wool, by Mary Kruger
7.  The Big Over Easy, by Jasper Fforde
8.  Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown

Science Fiction

1.  Something Rotten, by Jasper Fforde
2.  The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
3.  The Wrong Reflection, by Gillian Bradshaw
4.  The Well of Lost Plots, by Jasper Fforde

Science Fiction Old Favorites

1.  Out of the Silent Planet, by C. S. Lewis
2.  Perelandra, by C. S. Lewis

Young Adult Fantasy

1.  In the Coils of the Snake, by Clare B. Dunkle
2.  The Cup of the World, by John Dickinson
3.  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J. K. Rowling
4.  The Sphere of Secrets, by Catherine Fisher
5.  The Shamer's Signet, by Lene Kaaberbol
6.  Across the Wall, by Garth Nix
7.  The Folk Keeper, by Franny Billingsley
8.  City of Flowers:  Stravaganza Book 3, by Mary Hoffman
9.  Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale
10.  Gifts, by Ursula K. LeGuin
11.  The Golem's Eye, by Jonathan Stroud
12.  The Widow and the King, by John Dickinson

Young Adult Contemporary Novels

1.  Girls in Pants, by Ann Brashares
2.  Best Foot Forward, by Joan Bauer

Young Adult Historical Novels

1.  The Foretelling, by Alice Hoffman
2.  By These Ten Bones, by Clare B. Dunkle
3.  Gilbert and Sullivan Set Me Free, by Kathleen Karr

Young Adult and Children's Classics

1.  Emily's Quest, by L. M. Montgomery
2.  Emily Climbs, by L. M. Montgomery
3.  The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster, illustrations by Jules Feiffer
4.  The New Adventures of the Mad Scientists' Club, by Bertrand R. Brinley

Young Adult and Children's Fantasy Old Favorites

1.  Dealing With Dragons, by Patricia C. Wrede
2.  Searching for Dragons, by Patricia C. Wrede
3.  Talking to Dragons, by Patricia C. Wrede
4.  Jimmy:  The Pickpocket of the Palace, by Donna Jo Napoli
5.  Calling on Dragons, by Patricia C. Wrede
6.  Book of Enchantments, by Patricia C. Wrede

Children's Fiction

1.  Permanent Rose, by Hilary McKay
2.  The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan
3.  Conrad's Fate, by Diana Wynne Jones
4.  Gracie:  The Pixie of the Puddle, by Donna Jo Napoli

Children's Nonfiction

1.  Unlikely Pairs, by Bob Racza
2.  Through the Tempests Dark and Wild, by Sharon Darrow, illustrated by Angela Barrett
3.  A Book About Design, by Mark Gonyea
4.  A Kick in the Head, selected by Paul B. Janeszko, illustrated by Chris Raschka
5.  The Milestones Project, photographs by Dr. Richard Steckel and Michele Steckel

Picture Books

1.  Ish, by Peter H. Reynolds
2.  Michael Rosen's Sad Book, by Michael Rosen, pictures by Quentin Blake
3.  Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude, by Kevin O'Malley
4.  The Adventures of Cow, by Cow, as told to Lori Korchek
5.  The Story of Honk-Honk-Ashoo and Swella-Bow-Wow, by Ralph Cosentino
6.  The Blue Day Book for Kids, by Bradley Trevor Greive
7.  Old Thunder and Miss Raney, by Sharon Darrow, illustrated by Kathryn Brown
8.  Momma's Magical Purse, by Paulette Bogan
9. Food for Thought, by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers

is a German prefix meaning "special."

Copyright © 2006 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved. 

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