Books Read 2014

  1. Phantoms on the Bookshelves by Jaques Bonnet
  2. One-Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka
  3. Singing School: Learning to Write (and Read) Poetry by Studying with the Masters by Robert Pinsky
  4. Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier
  5. The Circle by Dave Eggers
  6. How to Read a Novelist by John Freeman DNF
  7. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  8. The Wildlife-Friendly Vegetable Gardener by Tammi Hartung
  9. Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
  10. Trojan Women by Euripides
  11. Slow Reading in a Hurried Age by David Mikics
  12. Andromache by Euripides
  13. Memories of the Unknown by Rutger Kopland
  14. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  15. Vital Signs: Psychological Responses to Ecological Crisis by Mary-Jayne Rust and Nick Totton, eds.
  16. Why I Read by Wendy Lesser
  17. The Critic in the Modern World: Public Criticism from Samuel Johnson to James Wood by James Ley (Library Journal Review)
  18. Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden
  19. A Highly Unlikely Scenario, Or, A Neetsa Pizza Employee’s Guide to Saving the World by Rachel Cantor
  20. Don’t Let Me Be Lonely by Claudia Rankine
  21. A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
  22. Landscape with Rowers edited by J.M. Coetzee
  23. Saving Vegetable Seeds by Fern Marshall Bradley (Library Journal Review)
  24. A Farm Dies Once a Year by Arlo Crawford
  25. Out of the Woods: A Memoir of Wayfinding by Lynn Darling
  26. The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner
  27. The Search for Anne Perry by Joanne Drayton (Library Journal Review)
  28. Old Goriot by Honore Balzac
  29. The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon
  30. King Lear by William Shakespeare
  31. Teaming with Microbes by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis
  32. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
  33. The Antigone Poems by Marie Slaight with illustrations by Terrence Tasker
  34. Letters to Anyone and Everyone by Toon Tellegen
  35. The Weekend Homesteader: A Twelve-Month Guide to Self-Sufficiency by Anna Hess
  36. Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
  37. The Gardener of Versailles by Alain Baraton
  38. The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison
  39. In Paradise by Peter Matthiessen
  40. Department of Speculation by Jenny Offill
  41. My Struggle: Book One by Karl Ove Knausgaard – DNF
  42. Founding Gardeners:How the Revolutionary Generation Created and American Eden by Andrea Wulf
  43. Perdido Street Station by China Miéville
  44. A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit
  45. 3 Sections by Vijay Seshadri
  46. The Memory Garden by Mary Rickert
  47. Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist by Michael Judd
  48. The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh
  49. The Troll Garden by Willa Cather
  50. How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti
  51. But What by Judith Herzberg
  52. Icon edited by Amy Scholder (reviewed for Library Journal)
  53. Mind Change by Susan Greenfield (reviewed for Shiny New Books)
  54. She by H. Rider Haggard
  55. Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  56. Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change by George Marshall
  57. The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel
  58. Seconds by Brian O’Malley
  59. What Makes This Book So Great by Jo Walton
  60. Famous Modern Ghost Stories edited by Dorothy Scarborough
  61. Medea by Euripides
  62. Teach Us to Sit Still by Tim Parks
  63. House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski
  64. Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life by Brian O’Malley
  65. The Writer’s Garden: How Gardens Inspired Our Best-Loved Authors by Jackie Bennett
  66. Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin or Error by Kathryn Schulz
  67. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  68. Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution by Laurie Penny
  69. The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
  70. Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
  71. Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
  72. A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride
  73. F: A Novel by Daniel Kehlmann
  74. Emma by Jane Austen
  75. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World by Bryan O’Malley
  76. How to Be Both by Ali Smith
  77. Dirty Chick by Antonia Murphy

11 thoughts on “Books Read 2014”

  1. Rooster said:

    I cant believe its possible to read this much when you have a full time job. Awesome!

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  2. Impressive. The structure of non-fiction (I’m a history buff) allows for some speedreading so i’m in the #60s, but the amount of leisurely tasted fiction in there makes for an impressive 36.

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  3. Why didn’t you finish Knausgaard?

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    • Jeff, there were a couple of reasons. I had borrowed it from the library and didn’t finish it before it was due back. I re-requested it and had a copy again three weeks later but after the break it just could’t get back into it. But before I had to return it I was already starting to feel unmotivated to read it. I didn’t find the writing all that great and while the books starts off well, I just had a hard time caring about the character and since there is no real story things just fell apart. Have you read it?

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      • I’ve nearly finished it. I also had trouble with motivation. In between some of the mundane scenes that are written functionally are some passages that take the mundanity into abstractions that work really well. This, it seems to me, is how thinking often works. The trouble for me was twofold. Firstly, they seemed to be scant reward for ploughing through so much mundanity. Secondly, why care about observations that quickly fizzle out instead of connecting with each other into something greater? The book left me almost wondering about what happens next.

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        • Oh yes! Especially your second point. I found it hard to really care. Do you think you will read the next one?

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          • Probably not. There’s stronger competition for my reading time. I’ll write a piece on it though. It’s a polarising book that I find myself in-between on. Although I appreciate its use of that ‘Eastern’ / self-helpy concept supposedly called ‘the moment’, I wanted sustained insight over and above mere description, otherwise why read this account of the everyday rather than experience your own?
            I like your list here very much btw. There’s a lot of quirky stuff that I’ll browse now and again for ideas. Working in a secondhand shop, I tend to get curious when anything difficult comes along, but they tend to be the better known figures. Sebald’s Vertigo came in recently, which I’ve never seen secondhand. It’s nice to see things like this, but I do worry that they overshadow lesser known authors. You’re doing a great service for these authors and your readers.

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            • He’s been compared to Proust so I was expecting something more Proust-like with better writing and more thoughtful insight. Now I wonder if he is just somehow the flavor of the moment. Glad you like my reading list. I enjoy lots of variety!

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  4. Really astonishing record here. This year I read about 50 books for a high school book reading site, so this is truly amazing. I read about a book a day and then wrote 30 questions with the correct answer and three distractors. One of the things I found that really helped was to vary the type and style of book. Oscar Wilde, then River of Doubt, the Slaughterhouse-Five, etc. You should get a big prize for this!

    People always ask me what was my favorite book. Stock answer is that is like asking me which of my children I like best: I like them for different reasons, so it is impossible to answer.

    I have to ask: What was your favorite book here? (apologize if you have already said here somewhere; I didn’t see it.)

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    • Matt, Thanks! This is the most I have ever read in a year. Usually I read somewhere around 52-60 so I have quite surprised myself. My favorite book this year? I will be putting together a year-end summary in the next few days and can never name just one favorite, I generally give myself five fiction and five nonfiction. But, if you really press me on the fiction, I will say A Girl is a Half-formed Thing was pretty darn amazing. 🙂

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