Books Read 2005

I kept sketchy handwritten records in 2005 of the books I read and have transcribed them here. Others lists exist for 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2002, 2003, and 2004.

January

I See Satan Fall Like Lightning (1999/trans.2001) by Rene Girard. Non-fiction. Excellent. Life-changing.

Longfellow: A Life (2004) by Charles Calhoun. Biography of the poet. OK.

Improbable (2005) by Adam Fawer. Suspense novel about probability theory. First novel. Really good.

February

The Kite Runner (2003) Khaled Hosseini, for bookgroup. Fiction about two boys, set mostly in Afghanistan. I didn’t like it.

March

Downhill Chance (2003) by Donna Morrissey. Multi-generational fiction about two families, set in Newfoundland before and after WWII. Good.

The Assault (1982 ) by Harry Mulisch, historical fiction set in Holland in WWII. The novel “deals with the consequences for the lone survivor of a Nazi retaliation on an innocent family after a collaborator is found killed outside their home.” Really good. I liked it much better than I expected.

April

Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire (2004) by Brian Walsh and Sylvia Keesmat. Non-fiction. The book of Colossians researched and reimagined for modern times. Mixture of scholarship, targums, and contemporary anecdotes (which were the weakest part of the book).

May

The Winds of Change (2004) by Martha Grimes, in the Jury/Plant series. Pedophilia ring.

The Man with a Load of Mischief (1981) by Martha Grimes, the first in the Jury/Plant series. Good.

The Anodyne Necklace (1983) by Martha Grimes, 3rd in the Jury/Plant series. Good.

The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (1928) by Dorothy Sayers, with Lord Peter Wimsey (but no Harriet Vane). Peter is brought in to determine when a 90-year-old general, whose body has been found in his chair at his men’s club, actually died, as the timing affects distribution of a Will.

June

Where There’s A Will (2005) by Aaron Elkins, with Gideon Oliver in Hawaii with John Lau, re an inheritance and the Torkelssons.

Jerusalem Inn (1984) by Martha Grimes, in the Jury/Plant series. Snowbound. This one dragged a bit.

The Deer Leap (1985) by Martha Grimes, in the Jury/Plant series.

The Verge Practice (2004) by Barry Maitland, in the Kathy Kolla and David Brock series. Architecture. Male and female reversals and confusion.  Good.

Unlucky for Some (2005) by Jill McGown, in the Lloyd and Judy Hill series. Serial murderer. Better than her usual.

Mrs McGinty’s Dead (1952), a Poirot with Ariadne Oliver, involving photos of past crimes. Good.

July

Child’s Play (1987) by Reginald Hill, an early Dalziel and Pascoe. Not one of the best.

Elegant Gathering of White Snows (2003) by Kim Radish. A novel about friendship among women: “Just after midnight in a small town in Wisconsin, eight women begin walking together down a rural highway. Career women, housewives, mothers, divorcees, and one ex prom queen,” close friends who have been met every Thursday night for years, who have now decided “to disappear from their own lives.” [I gave it a B- but can’t recall what I liked or didn’t.]

The Old Silent (1989) by Martha Grimes, in the Jury/Plant series. Set in the Yorkshire Moors.

Cross Bones (2005) by Kathy Reichs, in the Tempe Brennan series. This one is set in Montreal and Israel, with a Da Vinci Code-like mystery involving Jesus’s family. I found it hard to keep track of the plot and the characters.

One Grave Too Many (2003) by Beverly Connor, the first in her Diane Fallon (dir. of museum of natural history) series, set in Georgia. Very good. I like this series much better than the Lindsay Chamberlain one she writes.

August

Dead Guilty (2004) by Beverly Connor, 2nd in the Diane Fallon series. Three hangings, diamonds, caving. Good.

Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer  (1999) by Richard Rohr. Non-fiction. A bit trite and simplistic but had some fresh ideas.

September

The Case Has Altered (1997) by Martha Grimes, in the Jury/Plant series. Jenny is on trial. Good.

Rainbow’s End (1995) by Martha Grimes, in the Jury/Plant series.Set in Santa Fe, NM, USA. OK.

Babel (2002) by Barry Maitland. Islamists, genetic technology.

Atonement (2001) by Ian McEwan, for bookgroup, fiction set from 1935 through WWII in England and France, and then in 1999. Good.

October

The Red Tent (1997) by Anita Diamant, for bookgroup. Fiction. Well-written historical novel about Jacob and Leah’s daughter Dinah in Canaan and Egypt. Way too much focus on menstruation, women’s initiation rites and rituals, sex, childbearing, childbirth, etc. I didn’t like it.

The Stargazey (1999) by Martha Grimes, 15th in the Jury/Plant series. Mayfair art scene. Russian woman/assassin.

November

Not Counting Women and Children: Neglected Stories from the Bible (1994) by Megan McKenna, for bookgroup. Non-fiction, one of the worst books I’ve read in recent years.

Prison Angel: Mother Antonia’s Journey from Beverly Hills to a Life of Service in a Mexican Jail (2005) by Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan. Biography of Mary Clarke and her work with prisoners and guards at LaMesa prison on Tijuana. Liked her pragmatic anti-scapegoating ways (a friend to crime victims, crime committers, and prison guards alike), but the book was too simplistic, I thought.

December

Clouds of Witnesses (1929) by Dorothy Sayers. Lord Peter’s brother is on trial; Peter’s sister Mary meets Charles Parker.

Isaacs’s Storm (1999) by Erik Larson, non-fiction about the 1900 Galveston hurricane and floods. Isaac and Joseph Cline, the Natonal Weather Service, meteorology. Kind of boring, poor writing, not engaging.

The Lamorna Wink (1999) by Martha Grimes, in the Jury/Plant series. I liked it because it was mostly Melrose Plant, my hero, but the mystery plot was not that good.

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