For me, the past year included a lot of great reading. Of course, for me, every year is a good one if it involves books.
I started writing this column in March, and it's become one of the best parts of my job. Not only do I get to read, but I also get to tell people what I think, which is one of my favorite things.
Since March, I'm not really sure exactly how many books I've read, but there are definitely a few that stood out.
In 2005, I discovered Harley Jane Kozak's mysteries, "Dating Dead Men" (Broadway, $12.95) and "Dating is Murder" (Doubleday, $19.95). I passed these two along to my sister, who liked them almost as much as I did.
I'm still a big fan of Janet Evanovich and thought her latest, "Eleven On Top" (St. Martin's Press, $26.95), was one of the funniest volumes in the Stephanie Plum series. I can't wait to see what happens to Stephanie in the next book.
During the past year, I read more chick lit than ever. My favorite titles include "The Twins of Tribeca" by Rachel Pine (Miramax Books, $23.95), which was about a New York movie studio, and "The Second Assistant: A Tale from the Bottom of the Hollywood Ladder" by Clare Naylor and Mimi Hare (Plume, $13).
In October, I was really excited when I got an e-mail message from author Josie Brown, who had read my column online. She thought I might like her book, "True Hollywood Lies" (Avon Trade, $12.95), and she was absolutely right. I also really enjoyed Tara McCarthy's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (Downtown Press, $13), which was about a writer working on a book about celebrity Siamese twins.
I'm still looking for someone to break up with, so that I can get as much as possible out of the advice book "It's Called a Breakup Because It's Broken: The Smart Girl's Breakup Buddy" by Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt (Broadway Books, $19.95).
Though I spent most of the year reading chick lit and mysteries, I also cracked the covers of a few more serious novels. I really enjoyed "Prep" by Curtis Sittenfeld (Random House Trade, $13.95), a combination of chick lit and a coming-of-age story.
Michael Cunningham's "Specimen Days" (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, $25) was also among my favorites. I really loved Tawni O'Dell's "Coal Run" (New American Library, $14.95), "Margarettown" by Gabrielle Zevin (Miramax, $21) and "Wickett's Remedy" by Myla Goldberg (Doubleday, $24.95).
Of course, I also like serious humor, like "Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney's Humor Category" (Vintage, $11.95). Though some of this book was a little too highbrow for me, I'm still talking about essays like "Journal of a New COBRA Recruit" by Keith Pille and "On the Implausibility of the Death Star's Trash Compactor" by J.M. Tyree. I really want all of my friends to read those two - or perhaps I'll read to them, since I hate to let books out of my sight.
This year, I'm looking forward to turning a lot more pages. I hope you will find time to celebrate at least a few books in 2006, as well.
If there's a book you think I really ought to read or you have information about upcoming author appearances in the Atlanta area, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.