Celebrating 20 Years of Sonderbooks: Favorites from 2005

This month, I’m celebrating 20 years of writing Sonderbooks! I’m looking back at all my Sonderbooks Stand-outs posts of each year and highlighting the books I still remember with great love.

So far, I’ve been skipping the books I reread each year, since there are too many! But do take a look at my Stand-outs posts if you want to see even more — I reread books that are wonderful, knowing they’re wonderful.

2005 was the year my life fell apart. I learned my then-husband was seeing another woman behind my back, but believed him that it was not an affair. (It was.) I learned that he was very unhappy with me and all about every way I’d disappointed him over the years, but thought that, now I knew, I could make it up to him and win him back. (I was not able to do that. I sure did try.) So — I read relationship books and feel-good stories that year.

Here are some of the highlights from my 2005 Sonderbooks Stand-outs:

The Divorce Remedy, by Michele Weiner-Davis

No, this book did not save my marriage. But it may have saved my sanity. Among many things to try for less far-gone cases than mine, she presents a Last-Resort Technique: Stop pursuing. Get a life. Wait and watch. She convinced me that trying with all my might to keep my husband was more likely to push him away. The step of “Get a life” involves remembering who you are and enjoying life again — whether or not your spouse comes back. You’ll be more attractive that way, but you’ll also be much happier. Though it may have taken a while to sink in, eventually that advice helped me in so many ways.

The Script: The 100% Absolutely Predictable Things Men Do When They Cheat, by Elizabeth Landers and Vicky Mainzer

This book told what was happening to me even better than I realized at the time. When I picked it up, I recognized at least nine lines from “The Script” verbatim from things my husband had said to me. Things about how he would take care of me. Things about how he needed to be alone. But especially things about how it was all my fault. It was this book that opened my eyes to the fact that these were lies. And I needed that validation badly. I was used to believing my husband, and being lied to was crazy-making. Of course, I thought the book was wrong that the husband who goes through the Script so far is always having an affair. But no, that’s what was happening — the book was right. I still highly recommend this book to any woman whose husband has been cheating. Because it’s good to hear that, contrary to what he says, it is not all her fault. I can’t ever emphasize enough how helpful this book was to me.

A Generous Orthodoxy, by Brian D. McLaren

The subtitle of this book is: Why I am a missional + evangelical + post/protestant + liberal/conservative + mystical/poetic + biblical + charismatic/contemplative + fundamentalist/Calvinist + anabaptist/anglican + Methodist + catholic + green + incarnational + depressed-yet-hopeful + emergent + unfinished CHRISTIAN. This book was my introduction to Brian McLaren’s writings, and I love his more expansive, much less rigid approach to the Christian faith. Refreshing and inspirational!

What Does the Bible Really Say About Hell?, by Randy Klassen

Now I was finding more and more authors defending universalism and explaining why these teachings are in line with the Bible. And I was delighted.

My Descent into Death: A Second Chance at Life, by Howard Storm

This book stuck with me. It’s a book about a near-death experience — but the author was an atheist and was attacked by demons until he cried out to Jesus for help. Then he was overwhelmed by God’s love in heaven, and after he came back to earth, his life completely changed. The whole thing is a powerful story of life-transforming love.

Once Upon a Midlife, by Allen B. Chinen

This truly marvelous book uses Jungian psychology and fairy tales from around the world to take a look at midlife. So helpful as I faced my husband’s midlife crisis, which started a crisis of my own.

Leaving the Saints, by Martha Beck

Another powerfully told memoir, this time about her family, embroiled in the Mormon church, and how she left.

Here Speeching American, by Kathryn Petras and Ross Petras

Hilariously bad translations into English to give you a laugh and a dose of humility in case you’re thinking about trying to speak in another language. How much I enjoy this book may have something to do with my decision to start writing Sonderling Sunday later.

The Confessions of Super Mom, by Melanie Lynne Hauser

I loved this one so much! A single mom gets super powers — Super Cleaning, Super Hearing, Super Mom Sense, and a Merciless Gaze. Perfect!

Q & A, by Vikas Swarup

This is the book they based the movie “Slumdog Millionaire” on — the story of a kid from the slums who wins a million dollars in a quiz show — and the fascinating coincidences in his life story that enabled him to know the answers. I think the book is better than the movie, because I love the way his story is told in the order of the questions, instead of chronological order.

Zorro, by Isabel Allende

The magnificent, swashbuckling story.

Knitting, by Anne Bartlett

A beautiful novel about widowhood and friendship — and knitting.

In the Coils of the Snake, by Clare B. Dunkle

The third book in the amazing Hollow Kingdom trilogy and goblins who need human wives.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J. K. Rowling

Book Six! The last of these we got to read as a family.

The Golem’s Eye, by Jonathan Stroud

This is Book Two of the Bartimaeus Trilogy, and I enjoyed each book more than the last. Amazing world-building about alternate-reality England where magic is done by commanding demons.

By These Ten Bones, by Clare B. Dunkle

A werewolf novel by Clare Dunkle! Also one of the first books I got to read as an advanced reader copy.

Unlikely Pairs: Fun with Famous Works of Art, by Bob Raczka

I still love this book — and it still makes me laugh every time I read it. The author simply puts famous works of art next to each other, and they interact in hilarious ways.

The Adventures of Cow: The Amazing Exploits of a Huggable Holstein, by Cow, as told to Lori Korcheck, photographed by Marshall Taylor

Another one that still makes me laugh. To add to the fun, we had a toy identical to the squishy cow featured in the very silly picture book.

The Story of Honk-Honk-Ashoo and Swella-Bow-Wow, by Ralph Cosentino

I can’t even explain why this one strikes me so funny. Read it yourself!

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