What Is the Best Book You Read This Year?

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.

best books

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 StoriesThe Cost of LivingVarieties of Exile — Story collections by Mavis Gallant.
  • Dana Stevens:  Moby-Dick by Herman Melville.
  • Cheryl Strayed:  The Unspeakable by Meghan Daum.

One thought on “What Is the Best Book You Read This Year?

  1. I would say the ‘best’ book I read this year is The Four Feathers by A.E.W. Mason.

    When we come to favorites, that’s a much tougher choice. Thank goodness you let us list more than one.

    My favorites, grouped but in no other particular order:
    Full of Heart by J. R. Martinez (autobiography, favorite non-fiction)
    The Four Feathers by A.E.W. Mason
    The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton
    Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
    Duma Key by Stephen King
    The Family Way by Rhys Bowen
    The Montmartre Investigation by Claude Izner
    The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly
    The Closers by Michael Connelly
    The Narrows by Michael Connelly


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