Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Books Read in 2014

These are the books I read during 2014. I've noticed for myself that no non fiction books have been selected for the top five. There were good bios of David Dinkins, Barbara Stanwyck, The Nixons, and Mussolini! But I'm attracted less to facts and more to exquisite writing, and for that my choices were made.

Top favorites for 2014:

All the Light we Cannot See examines the connection between a blind girl and a young Nazi soldier in occupied France.

Redeployment  is a collection of stories of soldiering in the Iraq war. You are there and you are horrified and enthralled

Fourth of July Creek has a very creative premise: a social worker and an abandoned kid in the wild. 

Miriam Toews almost made suicide funny. All My Puny Sorrows has a woman emotionally entangled with her suicidal sister. 

Richard Ford, God love him, continues to make middle aged men moving and important.

Oh, one more, for me, indispensable:  

Virgil Thomson, Music Chronicles 1940-1954
Thomson was a fine composer and is the best writer on music I've encountered.  Funny, dry, nasty, concise and extremely learned.
Thanks to Tim Page for making this available.



*= a favorite
+=interviewed the author

Richard Ford. He's done it again with Let Me Be Frank With You


Russell Banks

*The Death of Santini   Pat Conroy

Exposed: Jodi Arias Jane Velez Mitchell

Mayor   David Dinkins
*My Reading Life Pat Conroy

My Beautiful World Sonia Sotomayor

Still Fooling Them Billy Crystal

Henry David Thoreau...Walden was worth reading.
Walden   Henry David Thoreau
Vicar of Christ Walter F. Murphy

Favorite Sons Robin Yocum

Song of the Spiderman Greg Berg

*The Essay   Robin Yocum
*The Fault in Our Stars John Greene       

Beach Music   Pat Conroy
Gone Girl Gillian Flynn

Barbara Stanwyck   Victoria Wilson

The Great Santini Pat Conroy

Doctor Sleep Stephen King

The Global Vatican Francis Rooney

The Queen’s Gambit Elizabeth Fremantle

This Road Will Take Us Closer to the Moon (stories) Linda McCullough Moore

*A Permanent Member of the Family (stories) Russell Banks+
(esp Big Dog)

Edmund White
Jack Holmes and his Friend Edmund White+

Mad As Hell (Network) Dave Itzikoff

The Soldier and the Spy (Dreyfus) Richard Harris

*David Copperfield Charles Dickens

Mussolini and the Pope David Kertzer

Pat and Dick (Nixon) Will Swift

Civil War Diaries Walt Whitman (in Specimen Days)

Living the Quaker Way Philip Gulley

Little Failure Gary Shteyngart

The Queen’s Bed Anna Whitlock

Fosse Sam Wasson

*The Husband’s Secret Liane Moriarty

The Burglary Betty Medsger

*Redeployment Phil Klay +

Mission at Nuremburg Tim Townsend

*Stoner John Williams

Faith   Jennifer Haigh (Boston, priests)

*Across the Bridge Mavis Gallant (stories rec. by Russell Bank)

Sum it Up Pat Summit

North of Boston Eliz. Elo
Tastemaker Carl Van Vechten and the Beginning of Modern
America --Edward White

*The Sweet Hereafter Russell Banks+

*Orfeo Robert Powers
*The Middle Men (stories) Jim Gavin

Leonardo and the Last Supper Ross King
Henderson the Rain King Saul Bellow

*The Condition Jennifer Haigh
The Days of Anna Madrigal Armistead Maupin

Deception  Phillip Roth
Suspicion Nation Lisa Bloom (Trayvon)

*Bring up the Bodies Hilary Mantel
**The Invention of Wings Sue Monk Kid

Escape From  Auschwitz Joel Rosenberg

*The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Samuel Clemens

Fatherland Robert Harris
The Windsor Faction D.J. Taylor
To Quell the Terror  William Bush

*Coal Black Horse Robert Olmstead (civil war, local author)

Newtown Matthew Lysiak

Divide: American Injustice in the Era of the Wealth Gap
Matt Taibbi

The Professor and the Housekeeper  Yoko Ogawa

You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz

A Time to Keep Silence Patrick Leigh Fermor

Perfectly Miserable, God, Guilt and Real Estate in a Small Town Sarah Payne Stuart

Cut Loose by Leah Vincent (left ultra-orthodox Jews)

Dominion CJ Sansom Nazi victory in WWII

The Hiltons J. Randy Taborirelli

The Good Pope-John XXIII Greg Tobin

What is Visible Kimberly Elkins (Laura Bridgman)

*Famous Writers I have Known Magnuson

Stokely Joseph E. Peniel

**Fourth of July Creek Henderson Smith

I said yes to everything Lee Grant+   
Lee Grant. Loved her.

*Unbroken Lauren Hillebrand

Play it Again Alan Rusbridger

*Blue Eyed Boy  Robert Timken (‘Nam vet, journalist, burns)

Hot Dogs and Cocktails (FDR/Royal Family) Peter Conradi

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour  Joshua Ferris

*Mr. Mercedes  Stephen King

Bleeding Edge Thomas Pynchon

The Long Loneliness Dorothy Day
The Alteration Kingsley Amis

The Good Luck of Right Now Matthew Quick (Richard Gere)
Shooting Straight Piers Morgan

*The Rosie Project (Asperger wife)-Prof Don Tillman

The Romanov Sisters  Helene Rappaport

*Remember Me Like This (Justin Campbell lost boy)
   Brett Anthony Johnston

Olivier  Phillip Ziegler

Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin  Jill Lepore

Savage Harvest: The Search for Michael Rockefeller  Carl Hoffman

*The Undertaking  Audrey Magee

A Fighting Chance  Elizabeth Warren

The Chase Janet Evanovich+
1776 Revolutionary Summer  James Ellis

***Hold the Dark by William Giraldi

Big Little Lies  Liane Moriarty

Terrorist’s Son   Zak Efraim

*Barracuda  Christos Tsoikas

Easy Street (The hard way) Ron Perelman
Heft Liz Moore

War and Peace Tolstoy

*The Life and Tragic Death of Robert Peace  Jeff Hobbs
*The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher  Hilary Mantel

You Might Remember Me: Phil Hartman  Mike Rowe

Eve of Eternity  Ken Follett

The Mathematicians Shiva Stuart Rojszstater

The Good Father  Noah Hawley

*We are not Ourselves  Matthew Thomas
*Nora Webster Colm Toibin

The Job Janet Evanovich+ 
The Heist Janet Evanovich+
How I Write Janet Evanovich

Janet Evanovich. Had a blast interviewing her to a sold out house, thanks to The Thurber House

*Hold Tight Gently: Michael Callen and Essex Hemphill  Martin Duberman

Sisters of Treason Elizabeth Fremantle

Village of Silence: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France Caroline Moorehead

On the Edge  Edward St. Aubyn
Lost for Words Edward St Aubyn

City of Lies: Therean Ramita Navai

*****All the Light You Cannot See  Anthon Doerr

(Bob) Hope by Richard Zoglin

Without You There is No Us Suki Kim

*The Goldfinch Donna Tarrt

*The Children’s Act Ian McEwan

*All My Puny Sorrows Miriam Toews


Suzanne Wiles said...

My top five books read for 2014 would be The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, Me Before You by JoJo Moyes, The Secret History by Donna Tartt (an old one by her, definitely worth the read!), The Son by Jo Nesbo (king of the Swedish thriller) and The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling). Special mention for Landline by Rainbow Rowell, which was really quite good and a fun read about a not-so-fun situation.

The Goldfinch stands head and shoulders above all the other books I read. The writing is just astounding and the story is fantastic. It led me to her classic from the 90s, A Secret History, which is so very good that if you haven't read it, you should. It's just one of the best books I've ever read. Having two of those from one author is unusual for me.

Unknown said...

Amy Milbourne's favorite reads of 2014 in no particular order are:

-The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
-Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
-Chanel Bonfire by Wendy Lawless
-We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

And for an audio book I loved Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy Beautiful Life written and read by Glennon Melton.

Christopher Purdy said...

Sent: Thursday, December 11, 2014 10:52 AM
To: Paul Burnam
Subject: Books 2014

Author Harris, Robert, 1957-

Title An officer and a spy / Robert Harris
Publish Info New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2014, c2013

Author Messud, Claire, 1966-

Title The woman upstairs : a novel / Claire Messud
Publish Info New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2013

Author Unger, Harlow G., 1931- author

Title John Marshall : the chief justice who saved the nation / Harlow Giles Unger
Imprint Boston, MA : Da Capo Press, [2014]

Author Rivers, Joan

Title Diary of a mad diva / Joan Rivers
Imprint New York : Berkley Books, 2014
Edition First edition

Author Kaiser, David E., 1947- author

Title No end save victory : how FDR led the nation into war / David Kaiser
Imprint New York : Basic Books, a member of the Perseus Books Group, [2014]

Author Dorrien, Gary J.

Title Economy, difference, empire : social ethics for social justice / Gary Dorrien.
Imprint New York : Columbia University Press, c2010.
Author Chast, Roz, author, artist.

Title Can't we talk about something more pleasant? : a memoir / Roz Chast.
Imprint New York : Bloomsbury, 2014.

Unknown said...

So many great books read this year! However, the one that really stood out to me is Hagridden by Samuel Snoek-Brown.

Hannah said...

Yes, Hagridden! Samuel Snoek-Brown is such an artful writer. Also really enjoyed Zealot by Reza Aslan.

Jeremy Glazier said...

Looking ahead to a couple of important books celebrating their centenary in 2015: D. H. Lawrence's The Rainbow (prosecuted as pornography but still "so passionate, so poetic, so full of the pith of life and the loveliness of Nature," as the critic Richard Aldington put it in 1961); Virginia Woolf's first novel, The Voyage Out, in which a certain Clarissa Dalloway makes a brief first appearance; Joseph Conrad's complex psychological novel Victory; and Ford Madox Ford's war-inspired novel The Good Soldier, perhaps as close to a Cubist novel as we have.