I know it's traditional to post 10 books, but I'm going for 12 - one for each month, and because I can't stop at 10. And I can only manage 12 by posting lists for both fiction and non-fiction.
On the fiction list (and in order):
- Lark Rise to Candleford, by Flora Thompson. I opened this book and fell in love.
- The Last Chronicle of Barset, by Anthony Trollope. I had read this before, but reading it again was as enthralling as if it were the first time.
- The Enchanted April, by Elizabeth von Arnim. This was the year I discovered von Arnim, which explains #4
- The Caravaners, also by von Arnim. One of the funniest books I read all year.
- The King of Attoilia, by Megan Whalen Turner. The third in her excellent "Thief" series, and my favorite so far.
- Mary Lavelle, by Kate O'Brien. Re-discovering O'Brien has been one of the highlights of my reading year.
- Farthing, by Jo Walton. I can already tell I will be looking for everything she has written.
- A Trick of the Light, by Louise Penny. I'd move to Three Pines if I could, despite the murder rate.
- Never No More, by Maura Laverty. Another re-discovery, and a re-read of an enchanting book.
- Cleopatra's Sister, by Penelope Lively. I read several of Lively's books this year, and a memoir of her childhood, all which were great reads.
- I Shall Wear Midnight, by Terry Pratchett. The latest in the Tiffany Aching series - and hopefully not the last.
- The Masuda Affair, by I.J. Parker. A fascinating introduction to a mystery series set in medieval Japan.
On the non-fiction list (also in order):
- A World on Fire, Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War, by Amanda Foreman. As I said in my review, one of the best books I have ever read on the Civil War period.
- The Fiery Trial, by Eric Foner. Abraham Lincoln's gradual conversion to emancipation and equality for African Americans.
- Grant's Final Victory, by Charles Bracelen Flood. Ulysses Grant's last fight, to finish his epic memoirs in the face of economic ruin and terminal illness.
- The Diary of George Templeton Strong, The Civil War, 1860-1865, Allan Nevins and Milton Halsey Thomas, eds. This diary is one of our national historical treasures.
- Queen Mary, by James Pope-Hennessy. A majestic but compulsively readable biography.
- Blue Latitudes, by Tony Horwitz. I learned so much history, and geography, from this book about Captain Cook and his voyages.
- Acedia & me, by Kathleen Norris. I read this spiritual autobiography and exploration of the ancient vice of acedia before I began blogging. I'm not sure I could have done this book justice in a review. It's a cliché, but a true one, to say it changed my life.
- Family Circle, by Cornelia Otis Skinner. This warm and funny family biography set me off to find other books by and about the Skinners. I'm glad to find so many other fans of Our Hearts Were Light and Gay.
- No Biking in the House Without a Helmet, by Melissa Fay Greene. A heart-warming but never sentimental account of how her family has grown through foreign adoptions, including several AIDS orphans from Ethiopia.
- Jane Austen and the Clergy, by Irene Collins. I learned so much about the Anglican church in Austen's time, her own clerical connections, and her fictional clergymen.
- Sisters of Sinai, by Janet Soskice. How two Victorian women discovered one of the oldest known copies of the Gospels in the Egyptian desert - travel, archeology, and biblical scholarship.
- A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains, by Isabella Bird. Another intrepid Victorian traveler, this one braving the American West in 1873.