Top Picks of 2014

My reading pace became frenzied in the last months of the year as I read 35% of the 132 books in November and December (26 books this month so far!). But it’s not about quantity, it’s about immersing yourself in the work and coming away with deeper knowledge or appreciation of writing. The range of books consumed was wide this year, so I’ve broken the list into categories, limiting to top 3.
Virginia Woolf by Hermione Lee
Valerie Solanas: The Defiant Life of the Woman Who Wrote SCUM (and Shot Andy Warhol) by Breanne Fahs
Margaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall
Art and Poetry
Daybook: The Journal of an Artist by Anne Truitt
Scrambled Eggs & Whiskey: Poems, 1991-1995 by Hayden Carruth
Short Stories
Beauty Talk & Monsters by Masha Tupisyn
Speedboat by Renata Adler
The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: Stories by Hilary Mantel
Contemporary Lit
A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
My Struggle: Book 2 by Karl Ove Knausgaard (translated by Don Bartlett) – Book 1 was also good, but Book 3 a disappointment.
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, translated by Edith Grossman – no really, read it.
Jean Rhys: The Complete Novels
The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, 1837-1861
The Wisdom of Life by Arthur Schopenhauer, translated by T. Bailey Saunders
A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros, translated by John Howe
Society and Culture
Masscult and Midcult: Essays Against the American Grain by Dwight Macdonald
The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America by Daniel J. Boorstin
The Violence of Organized Forgetting: Thinking Beyond America’s Disimagination Machine by Henry Giroux
Three Guineas by Virginia Woolf
Woman in Sexist Society: Studies in Power and Powerlessness edited by: Vivian Gornick and Barbara Moran
SCUM Manifesto by Valerie Solanas
A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara Tuchman
Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Scott Anderson