I try to rate each book I read during the year and rank them to provide a regular list of titles I particularly admired. I started with a top 20 if I recall but have pushed it up to a top 30 to save myself too many hard decisions. You can browse through my lists and see my choices for my top reads under The Best By Year.
This year I ranked the novel series by John Galsworthy (The Forsyte Saga) and by John Dos Passos (The USA Trilogy) at the top of my list. But since I can’t for sure state that I read those works exclusively in 2014, I will offer my next title as representing the best book I read this last year: Desert by J. M. G. Le Clézio.
As a part of the New York Times Sunday Book Review, a group of authors and regular contributors to the Review were asked what the best book they read this last year. Selections might be new or old; here are the responses but don’t just stop here; go to the Sunday Book Review site for the reasoning behind these selections.
- Rivka Galchen: The Interrogative Mood by Padgett Powell.
- Mohsin Hamid: Confessions of Zeno by Italo Svevo.
- Zoë Heller: Serious Men by Manu Joseph
- Anna Holmes: Heartburn by Nora Ephron.
- Leslie Jamison: Loitering by Charles D’Ambrosio
- Adam Kirsch: Accepting the Disaster by Joshua Mehigan [poetry]
- Thomas Mallon: Bringing the House Down by David Profumo.
- Ayana Mathis: Collected Stories by Isaac Babel.
- Daniel Mendelsohn: The Slaves of Solitude by Patrick Hamilton.
- Pankaj Mishra: The Ego and Its Own by Max Stirner.
- Benjamin Moser: Hawthorne by Brenda Wineapple.
- James Parker: A Voyage in Vain: Coleridge’s Journey to Malta in 1804 by Alethea Hayter
- Francine Prose: Paris Stories, The Cost of Living, Varieties of Exile — Story collections by Mavis Gallant.
- Dana Stevens: Moby-Dick by Herman Melville.
- Cheryl Strayed: The Unspeakable by Meghan Daum.