Well, here is my third roll call on this website, my list of books read in 2014. It may not seem like much, but I did my best. All the titles are hyperlinked to Goodreads to provide you with a quick synopsis, should you be interested.
Dave Eggers: A Hologram for the King
John Crowley: Little, Big One of my favorites for the year.
Anita Brookner: Hotel du Lac, her Booker award-winning novel about a romance novelist living on the shores of Lake Geneva. I'm a big fan. Undue Influence The Bay of Angels and Lewis Percy are three other Brookner books that I read this year:
Steven Pressfield: The Afghan Campaign Incredible in its historical sensibility. Excellent, thrilling book.
Ian McEwan: In Between the Sheets A minor work by an superbly intelligent writer.
Edna O'Brien: The Light of Evening I liked this one more than her House of Splendid Isolation which I read a couple years ago.
Jose Saramago: Manual of Painting and Calligraphy A very good, adult, ruminative book with a terrible title.
Diane Ackerman: A Natural History of the Senses, a lovely, beautiful, well-written book. Also read her The Human Age, an upsetting book; it should be read by as many people as possible. There's a lot to digest in this book. Also read The Zookeeper's Wife. This is an awe-inspiring, life-affirming, huge and personal story of a husband and wife, and their son, who manage to keep the Warsaw Zoo and its animal populations from disappearing, and at the same time relocating hundreds of Polish Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto out from under the scrutiny of the Nazi occupation forces, who regarded all Poles as subhumans and marked for annihilation. There are more than enough poignant stories in this wonderful book.
Mary Roach: Stiff (what do you think it's about. Corpses!) It's fascinating.
Artemis Cooper: Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure Interesting, compelling biography by Cooper about Patrick Fermor, who was a soldier (fighting with the partisans on Crete), a travel writer, a personality, a wayfarer. I can't wait to read some of his books.
W. Somerset Maugham: Complete Short Stories Volume 2. I can't say enough about Maugham.
James Salter: All That Is I thought it was nothing that wasn't.
William Trevor: The News From Ireland, a collection of short stories by one of the most revered modern Irish writers was as my friend Theresa predicted it would be: beautiful.
T.C. Boyle: The Inner Circle, a fictionalized account of the life of Alfred Kinsey. This is a really good book.
W.G. Sebald: (a German writer and academic) Austerlitz I thoroughly enjoyed this semi-autobiographical novel. Also read this year by the same author: The Rings of Saturn and Vertigo
Stephen Ambrose: Citizen Soldiers At times heroic and heart-rending, what the common American soldier went through during WWII will infuriate you (how long it took us to get our act together in that war) and amaze you (our ability as former teachers, letter carriers, grocery clerks, high school grads and then some, to battle the German professional, long- and well-trained fighting machine).
John O'Hara: Waiting for Winter, a collection of short stories. Disappointing.
James Purdy: The Complete Stories of James Purdy was an experience, a brilliant, hilarious, stomach-aerating experience that I fully embraced.
Charles Portis: Norwood This book cracked me up. "Kirkus Reviews" said "This relaxed, funny first novel about an engaging young man in peculiar states of affairs features Norwood Pratt...a hardship discharge from the Service who returns home to tend his sister Vernell after the death of Mr. Pratt, his father. Norwood, a filling station attendant with a vague ambition to become a star on the Louisiana Hayride, settles down to tend house and backyard junkyard."
Frederic Raphael: A Double Life, I felt this was a letdown. He's a very good writer, I loved The Glittering Prizes, which I read a long time ago, but A Double Life? You need a double Stoli just to forgive yourself for having read it all the way through.
Martin Amis: London Fields. I don't know about Amis, really. He needs a good year in the Gulag to make up for this book.
Xingjian Gao: Soul Mountain. This book is a first-person narrative about a writer on the outs with the Peking government. The narrator is diagnosed with terminal cancer and takes a journey through remote central and northern China. Very stylistic. Not for me. Life's way too short.
Alan Furst: Kingdom of Shadows. I can't get enough of his well-written, well-researched, intriguing, tense, pre-World War II historical fiction.
Milan Kundera: Life Is Elsewhere is quite the comic rendition of some of Alan Furst's landscapes, but in Czechoslovakia, and from the point of view of a teenager.
Colm Toibin: Nora Webster A really good book; except I don't buy the end of it. I'm waiting for one of my friends to read it and explain it to me.
John Waters: Carsick, Waters' memoir about hitchhiking across America. It was at times hilarious and unbelievable. But I guess that's America.
Ben MacIntyre: A Spy Among Friends, a biography about Kim Philby, who spied for the Soviets while working in the higher echelons of the British and American intelligence communities during the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. It is a very good book by a very good writer about a very nasty business.
Richard Ford: Let Me Be Frank With You, the fourth in a series of novels which focus on the character Frank Bascombe. Almost as good as the other three I'd previously read. (The Sportswriter; Independence Day; The Lay of the Land). I really like Richard Ford's books.
Sarah Waters: The Little Stranger is a long work, a good work, beautifully written and incredibly picaresque--England in between the Wars. The crumbling aristocracy, hostilities from beyond the grave, I'm looking forward to her other books as well.
David McCullough: The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris A fast-paced history of American ex-patriots in 19th-century Paris. It is extraordinary, not because they were extraordinary people, the Americans of 19th-century Paris, because they were, but because it was an extraordinary time! McCullough's prose is as visual as it is lyrical.
David Sedaris: Naked, a memoir. It is sometimes a laugh riot, other times it's an emotional roller coaster; but either way, it's a fine book. Not everyone has crazy parents. And that's good.
Randall Jarrell: Pictures From an Institution This book is Jarrell's only novel, it's funny, intelligent, and although it's sophistication might be looked upon as exclusively northeastern intellectual, it is by no means inaccessible.
Pico Iyer: The Art of Stillness This reflective and interesting book-length essay helps to remind us of the importance of reducing stress through stillness. It's about journeying sometimes nowhere. I liked it and agree with its premise.
Reza Aslan: Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Talk about scholarship blended with controlled prose. This book pissed off a lot of people. I wish more people would read it. I'm looking forward to reading his book on the origins, evolution, and future of Islam: No God But God.
Then Fran Lebowitz said, "Even real estate agents would say to me, "If you got rid of the books, you wouldn't need such a big apartment." And I would say, "Yes, that's true, but what if I had four children? Would you say, 'Why don't you put them in storage, because you really can't afford an apartment for them.'?""
There's something to it, you know.