Best 5 Books I Read in 2004

Reading sometimes feels like an old art form that I've lost.  Lately I've been trying to revive it, but it seems to take more effort than it ever used to.  The slowness is the main issue... I'm slower than I've ever been before & show no signs of speeding up.  Nevertheless, I managed to meander through a few tomes this year.  And here are the best five...

Let's All Kill Constance (Ray Bradbury) ~ my favorite author connects again.  Had I been keeping track of all of these "best books I read in ____ year" from the beginning of my reading, Bradbury would almost certainly have more #1's than anyone else.  This offering isn't overwhelming, but I read a lot of middling material this year & it overwhelmed this field.  It's another great mystery, a follow-up in the series that began with Death is a Lonely Business.  It's not as good as that one, but it completes the series well.
The Bean Trees (Barbara Kingsolver) ~ another great offering from Kingsolver, even if I've completely stalled out on her well-reputed Poisonwood Bible.  This one made me miss Nuevo & the Canyon a bit, though it was sometimes weird to read about an outsider perspective on the West.  Either way, it's well-written & intelligent & made me think what I would've thought of it if I'd read it when it was first recommended to me... in 1996.
Alfred Hitchcock Presents 16 Skeletons from My Closet (various) ~ I expect this will make most of you laugh, but I don't really care.  The stories are excellent.  Even if it's out of print & the copy I read, passed on from Em's homestead, was literally cracking apart in my hands, it's full of great stories from many different authors.  I was jonesing for mysteries most of this year, & this had a bundle.
The Cat's Pajamas (Ray Bradbury) ~ honestly, how could a Bradbury collection of stories not make my top 5 for a year?  This was a pretty marginal collection as Bradbury goes, truth be told, but it had some real bright spots that showed that Ray isn't done just yet.  Pale when compared to One More for the Road, but still strong compared to a short story collection from most any other author.
Of Love and Other Demons (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) ~ while I still haven't tackled this man's greater works, this one was a nice surprise after being disappointed by Chronicle of a Death Foretold.  The storytelling was vivid & engaging & the subject matter just mysterious enough to keep me going in this mystery-obsessed reading year.  This one could almost be a final chapter of Peter Hoeg's finest work, Tales of the Night.

2005 Best Books Read in 2005 Best Movies of 2005 2005 Blog Plaudits
2004 Best Books Read in 2004 Best Movies of 2004
2003 Best Books Read in 2003 Best Movies of 2003
2002 Best Books Read in 2002 Best Movies of 2002
2001 Best Books Read in 2001 Best Movies of 2001
BP History The Last Few Years