Well, actually this is a list of my favorites that I've read so far this year. I'm posting the list early so you have time to get them all read by December 31st! :) I got mine from the LAPL--even had it shipped to a library near me for easy pickup but in case you are not so fortunate as to live or work near an LAPL branch, I've included links to Amazon.
1. These is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine by Nancy E. Turner
This is actually the first in a trilogy (with possibly more to come) about a girl who's family moves from the East Coast to the Arizona Territory in the last half of the 19th Century. It's a great book full of emotional relationship and the descriptions show an amazing amount of research on the part of the author. It is based in part on true stories of Turner's great-grandmother. I also read the follow-up Sarah's Quilt and The Star Garden which was just released this year.
2. City of Dreams by Beverly Swerling
Clearly this was the year of the saga, right? This is a hefty fast-paced fictionalized history of Manhattan from the time it was Nieuw Amsterdam up until the Revolutionary War. The major events are all true but some of the characters are pure fiction. If only high school history could have been this fun! There's also a sequel, City of Glory, picking up after the Revolutionary War and continuing up through the War of 1812.
3. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
This book has been reviewed everywhere. It's descriptions are great and transports you back in time to 1930's carnivals far better than HBO's Carnival ever did. The animals in this book are characters in their own right.
4. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
Caution, this Southern Vampire Mysteries series is highly addictive! This is a unique blend of mystery and fantasy with some very real human emotion thrown in. Sookie Stackhouse, barmaid and mindreader finds herself romantically involved with a vampire named "Bill" shortly after vampires came out of the coffin, er, closet and had begun living opening in society, following the invention of synthetic blood and releasing them from the need to feed on humans. Just a great series, I practically run to the library as soon as I finish one! One more book and I'll be all caught up and will have to wait a year for the next one, such torture! Definitely check out this supernatural thrill ride! And, according to IMDB, HBO is currently making it into a TV show called "True Blood with Anna Paquin starring as Sookie.
5. The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
Ok, so I couldn't let a year go by and not read any "knitting fiction," right? This book surrounds a knitting circle in New York. The book is just beautiful--terrific descriptions of female friendships. I highly recommend having tissues at hand for the last few chapters, though!
Stay tuned for the second installment. Sorry I can't write more right now but I'm in the middle of one of Sookie's adventures!