As we stare into the maw of a new year, the editors of January Magazine are pleased to bring you our favorite books of 2005. You might notice that we've left things a bit later this time than we have in other years. This is simply because we've noticed that as we -- and everyone else -- present their best of the year compilations a little earlier each year, after a while... well... it just gets a little silly. The January Magazine list does not represent the books we liked best in the first 10 months of 2005. Nor does it indicate which books we thought were being most actively promoted in fourth quarter 2005. These are, quite simply, the books that most touched us and stayed with us as we continued on our reading journey throughout 2005.

A word about our methodology: it's not fancy. No computers were used in the compilation of our list. (Other than, you know, as fancy typewriters.) The heart, as they say, wants what it wants and -- as in all previous years -- what you have here are the books our editors and contributors liked the best. Come late November, all of our writers were reminded to put their thinking caps on and come up with brief reviews of the books they had most enjoyed in 2005 that had also been published in that year.

Some of us -- myself included -- begin making notes for this best of the year feature in January. Sometimes, once December is reached, I have notes on too many books and have to trim things down. But I know -- as likely you do, as well -- when I've turned the final page on one of my best of the year candidates. That feeling of satisfaction, combined with a desire to keep on reading beyond the last page. We all look for that special book and finding it brings a thrill that non-readers just can't fully understand. Part of the thrill, I think, is sharing the discovery. And here we are.

Collectively, January Magazine's editors and contributors read thousands of books in 2005 and reported on quite a few of them. Because we're an eclectic lot and we review from almost all branches of the book industry, our choices run the gamut. The January Best of the Year list is not a popularity contest. Our choices reflect what our writers and editors liked best of the books they read and enjoyed throughout the year. They don't need to qualify their choices. There is no board or panel. No quotas from certain publishers, no authors that had to be included. And though some of the books mentioned here were reviewed for January Magazine in 2005, that's not part of the criterion. These are, quite simply, the books that our well read eyes and hearts liked best, listed here in alphabetical order within the loose category in which they fall.

Did we overlook your favorite book from 2005? Or did you like your favorite so much you feel like shouting to the world? Tell us about it.

And thank you for being a part of January Magazine throughout this vibrant year. One more, gentle readers, will mark our first decade. Thank you for making the journey so memorable.

Linda L. Richards
editor, January Magazine


Click below for the Best of list you'd like to see:

| Best of Art & Culture | Best of Children's Books | Best of Cookbooks | Best of Crime Fiction | Best of Fiction | Best of Non-Fiction |