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Reviewer Faves 2004
By Hilary Williamson, December 2004

In addition to our annual Recommended Reads column (which tends to be heavily influenced by my own tastes) I decided this year to poll other BookLoons reviewers on their personal favorites across all the genres they read ... and it's an eclectic selection. Here's what they found most memorable in 2004 reading.

DogfatherTheresa, a retired high school teacher, is 'an avid reader of science-fiction, fantasy, and mysteries' who introduced me to my first Star Trek episode in college (don't ask how long ago that was). She's one of the legion of David Weber fans, who were thrilled by his March to the Stars this year. She loves cozies like Susan Conant's Dogfather, and recently absorbed a biography, Paul Martin: In the Balance, that changed her perspective on Canada's Prime Minister.

Light on SnowShannon is an attorney who mostly sticks to contemporaries and mysteries. Looking back on this year's reads, she picked out 'fiendishly clever' Paranoia by Joseph Finder, Anita Shreve's Light on Snow, and A Home at the End of the World by Michael Cunningham. You won't go wrong with any of those choices! While not busy in the performing arts, Ricki appreciates an element of fantasy in her reading. That explains her selection of Ben Sherwood's otherworldly Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud, The Oracle Betrayed by Catherine Fisher, and Strange but True by John Searles.

Something RottenNina, a historian who has also worked as a librarian, enjoys the literary allusions in any of Jasper Fforde's fantastic Thursday Next mysteries, the most recent being Something Rotten. She regularly reads historical mysteries, and especially recommends to us Death by Dickens, edited by Anne Perry, as well as Alan Gordon's An Antic Disposition. Melissa, a proud full-time mom, is also a passionate reader whose tastes range from contemporaries and Christian fiction to mysteries and romance. Her picks for the year are Tommy Tenney's Hadassah, The Last Odd Day by Lynne Hinton, and Three Weeks with My Brother by Nicholas and Micah Sparks.

Blackbird HouseWhen she's not busy writing mysteries, Mary Ann loves to read, to travel, and to cook. Susan Hermann Loomis's On Rue Tatin is a memoir/cookbook set in France that caters to all of the above. Mary Ann also was taken by Anne Garrels' timely Naked in Baghdad. And in fiction, she's very impressed by Alice Hoffman's writing, in particular her Blackbird House. Martina works in the telecom industry, and writes in her spare time. When her 'small horde of cats' allow, she reads romance, horror, and thrillers - what a combination! In addition to her romance choices in our Recommended Reads, Martina gives a thumbs up to Holly Lisle's Midnight Rain, The Enemy by Lee Child, and Ice Run by Steve Hamilton.

TimurasJosephine is another reviewers who writes as much as she reads. Our resident 'biblioholic' and 'book hugger', she selected an especially eclectic collection - The Complete Timuras by Allan Cole, Suzanne Strempek Shea's Shelf Life by and The Pearl Diver by Jeff Talarigo. Last but never least, Barbara focuses mainly on historicals when she's not travelling the globe. She was very impressed this year by Joseph O'Connor's Star of the Sea, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.

Reading tastes vary widely - in genres, subjects, and writing styles. I hope that this list of BookLoons reviewers' favorites will give you insights into what you, your friends, or family members might enjoy out of the huge set of excellent books published in 2004.

Happy Holidays and Happy Reading from all of us!!

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.