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Books 2005: Maureen Corrigan's Favorites

Dec 22, 2005 (Fresh Air from WHYY)

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Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan lists her favorite books of 2005, including novels by Mary Gaitskill and Kazuo Ishiguro, and memoirs by Joan Didion and J.R. Moehringer.

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Veronica by Mary Gaitskill: Gaitskill's second novel explores the unlikely friendship between two women: one ugly, middle-aged and dying, and the other young and beautiful.

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss: "I read [this] in a few stunned hours... Krauss is ambitious in her storyline and themes and has the gifts to carry out her big ideas," says Corrigan.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro: Ishiguro's sci-fi-tinged novel about the students in an ususual British boarding school was short-listed for the Booker Prize.

The Tender Bar by J. R. Moehringer: The journalist's memoir centers on his youth in his hometown pub in Manhasset, Long Island.

The Woman at the Washington Zoo by Majorie Williams: The late political journalist's writings were compiled by her husband, Slate contributor Timothy Noah.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion: Didion's acclaimed memoir, written in the period after her husband's death, won the National Book Award this year.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova: This debut novel about Dracula created a bidding war in the publishing industry and was a listener favorite over the summer.

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin: The high-profile historian examines Abraham Lincoln's political acumen.

The Tulip and the Pope by Deborah Larsen: Larsen recalls her experience as a young woman who decided to become in a nun in the 1960s. "Without disparaging or sentimentalizing the convent world that once was her life, Larsen conveys its drowsy power," Corrigan says.

Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves by Adam Hochschild: Hochschild offers a compelling history of the abolitionist movement in Britain.

Death in the Garden by Elizabeth Ironside: Classic crime fiction from the other side of the pond.

Citizen Vince by Jess Walter: Walter tells a tale of crime and redemption set in Washington State.

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