My Previous Best Books: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004.
I only read twelve books in 2005. One of them was Snow Crash, by Neil Stephenson. I read this book back in its prime (early 1990s), and when I reread it in early 2005, I remember thinking "this is still hip!" This book has a great chapter one. This is a real favorite of mine.
My big book from 2005 was The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. This is a dense book, and it was while reading this book that I made a change in commuting habits, forgoing public transportation for the automobile (I had a job assignment that required car travel). It took me several months to get to the end of this loopy tale of woe. "The Brothers" is complex and dark. There are whole chapters that digress into the pressing issues of the time (religion versus state being one of them). The book brought to mind images of the frozen tundra, and desolate settings of the poor and destitute in Russia. All the humor in the book is dark, and sinister. I kept hearing a cackling laughter during all the parts that were funny, because it was usually at someone's grave expense. This is one of the great works, and it's worth the time to read.
Of all the books last year, I was most pleased with the last book that I read: Solo. Written by an Air Force pilot, Clyde Edgerton guides the reader through his passion for flying. He talks about each of the airplanes that he flew in Air Force training, and later in Vietnam. When he got the flying bug again, he talked about buying a smaller plane and how he ran a very informal shuttle service with it. It's clear throughout that Clyde loves flying, and I was glad he wrote about it.