In historical fiction, the standout novel was "World Without End" by Ken Follett, the epic sequel to "Pillars of the Earth", one of my favourite novels, which is in post-production as an 8 hour mini-series. I also enjoyed "The Eleventh Man" by Ivan Doig, whose "Whistling Season" is another favourite.
Madeleine L'Engle's "A Live Coal In The Sea" is a beautiful, painful and hopeful story of three generations carrying the scars and open wounds of poor choices and long-held secrets.
In short stories, Wendell Berry's "Fidelity" comes highly recommended. I'm not a fan of short stories usually, but after a slow start, I was drawn into this collection - my first by this son of Kentucky, our new home. Also set in Kentucky, I was pleasantly surprised by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's "Faith, Hope and Ivy June", her 136th(!) novel. It tells the story of two high school students who spend two weeks in each other's school: one a private girls' school in Lexington, the other from "the hollow" in Hazard County.
Thanks to Rebecca, I have become a big fan of adolescent literature - here are my favourites from last year. "Notes From the Dog" by Gary Paulsen, who is consistently good: a laugh out loud, ache in the gut tale of the summer friendship between an awkward teen and a young woman with breast cancer. Did I mention it features a garden? Another couple of crackers in this genre are "Angry Management" by Chris Cutcher, which features a surprisingly sympathetic portrayal of an evangelical; and "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie, another laugh out loud story which also manages to be entirely non-sentimental about the issues of racism, justice and poverty that it raises.
In the "late night page turner" category, "Simple Genius" by David Baldacci takes the honours. Although I find that when I re-read one of his, I barely remember what happened. Which probably says more about me, than it does about him.
In the "old friends" category, highlights were "Airman" by Eoin Colfer; "Nation" by Terry Pratchett; and "The Private Patient" by P.D. James, which I'm really hoping is not her last novel.
I hope you find at least one to whet your appetite from among this selection - support your local library! And remember, just because you start a book, you don't have to finish it. In that category this year was "Foreign Body" by Robin Cook - complete and utter tosh.
Up next - the best books of the last ten years...