Bookmarks For Everyone: The Best Books of 2005

Bookmarks For Everyone: The Best Books of 2005
[3 January 2006]
Editor: Nikki Tranter

Amid the big questions floating about again this year on the so-called looming death of the novel, some pretty astonishing things happened in Book World. Publishing companies and techie giants battled over who owns and should own what, and Turkish author Orhan Pamuk continued to fight for his creative rights in one of the most perplexing censorship struggles in history. We lost too many legends, including John Fowles, Yvonne Vera, Liu Binyan, Andre Norton, Margaret Hodges, and Robert Sheckley. And our favorite writers gave us their best work to date. Upcoming book brats couldn’t be kept down either, delivering work of such high standards it’s an even greater tragedy to think publishing companies are slicing fiction budgets seemingly by the week. If the novel is indeed dying, it’s certainly not the fault of the writers.

If, however, there’s a bonus to be had from publishers’ cutting their fiction budgets, it’s that more and better non-fiction is filling the shelves. Which is to say, at least we’ve something to fill the gap until readers get their senses back. This year we shared some right non-fiction doozies of social and political import — David Rakoff’s Don’t Get Too Comfortable and Vonnegut’s A Man Without a Country among the more rousing.

Fiction or non-fiction, censored, scorned or adored, we at PopMatters were captivated and seduced by 2005’s offerings, from a surprise death in the new Harry Potter to the “truth” of the afterlife in Mary Roach’s Spook. We were just as thrilled reading short story collections and graphic novels, as we were memoirs, political rants, and literary exegeses. So, without further ado, here are our favorite books for the year that was; a fabulous year indeed.

Nikki Tranter