These are the book on my 2014 hope-to-read list. They are mostly biography and non-fiction. Novels have to be exceptionally intriguing to get me past the first 2o pages, but the ones on my list I think will pass the test.
I read a lot of poetry and children’s books too, but I usually just trip over those works rather than actively look for them. People often ask why I read these, for the beauty of course. Children’s books always have interesting illustrations and poetry is the peacock of the literary world, at least to me.
- Breakfast at Sotheby’s by Philip Hook (Particular). About the art world.
- Falling Upwards (Harper Collins), Richard Holmes’ history of ballooning
- Mark Cocker’s Birds and People (Jonathan Cape). What the title says!
- A Sting in the Tale Dave Goulson, (Jonathan Cape), about bees.
- Patrick Leigh Fermor The Broken Road (John Murray) Part 3 of a triliogy. You probably want to read, Between the Woods and the Water, and A Time of Gifts too. It’s about walking through Europe in the 1930s. The author died two years ago.
- Breakfast with Lucian by Geordie Greig (Jonathan Cape) About artist Lucian Freud.
- Sex and Rockets by John Carter. About JPL founder Jack Parsons.
- Laird M Easton (tr.), Journey to the Abyss The Diaries of Count Harry Kessler (Vintage)
- The Poets’ Daughters by Katie Waldegrave (Hutchinson) biography of Dora Wordsworth and Sara Coleridge
- Nina Stibbe’s Love, Nina, letters to her sister from the 1980s, about being a nanny.
- Hermione Lee’s Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life. About the author.
- An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris (Hutchinson). About the Dreyfuss affair.
- Woody Guthrie’s Wardy Forty: Greystone Park State Hospital Revisited by Phillip Buehler (Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc) about the 5 years Guthrie spent in a mental hospital.
- Adam Phillips’ One Way and Another: New and Selected Essays (Hamish Hamilton) & Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life
- Italo Calvino’s Collection of Sand: Essays (Penguin Modern Classics)
- The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure (Sourcebooks Landmark) WWII thriller about an architect who designs hiding places for Jews.
- Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon (Jonathan Cape) Mystery pre-the internet
- Nikolai Leskov’s The Enchanted Wanderer the new translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.
- Louise Doughty’s Apple Tree Yard (Faber) psychological mystery/courtroom drama
- Shamsur Rahman Faruqi’s The Mirror of Beauty, Hamish Hamilton) 19th century India,
- The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker (Blue Door),
- Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries (Granta)
- JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst’s S. (Canongate) weird little tech novel that’s more about pushing publishing boundaries than the actual story, but still, something writers ought to check out.
- Jane Gardam’s trilogy: Old Filth, The Man in the Wooden Hat, and Last Friends (Little, Brown).