A few weeks ago I listed the best non-fiction books of 2014, here are a few which I either forgot or were late coming to my attention or were published or shipped after the first list. These are all very, very good:
1. Adam Tooze, The Deluge: The Great War and the Remaking of World Order, 1916-1931. This one also starts slow but after about 13% becomes fascinating, especially about the internal politics in Germany and Russia, circa 1917-1918.
2. Michael Hofmann, Where Have You Been?: Selected Essays. Excellent and informationally dense literary essays, I especially like the ones on the German-language poets and writers, such as Benn and Walser and Bernhard and Grass.
3. Henry Marsh, Do No Harm, a neurosurgeon does behavioral economics as applied to his craft.
4. Philippe de Montebello and Martin Gayford, Rendez-Vous, a discursive chat while looking at some classics of art
5. Clive James, Poetry Notebook 2006-2014. A superb book, one of the very best appreciations of poetry and introductions to poetry of the 20th century. This book has received raves in the UK, it is not yet out in the U.S.
In fiction, to supplement my earlier list, I recommend:
6. Hassan Blasim, The Corpse Exhibition and Other Stories of Iraq. Short stories about the conflict in Iraq, by an Iraqi. I expected to find these widely heralded stories to be disappointing, as the premise is a little too easy for the Western critic to embrace. But they are excellent and this book is one of the year’s best fiction releases.
7. Andy Weir, The Martian. Ostensibly science fiction, but more a 21st century Robinson Crusoe story — set on Mars of course — with huge amounts of (ingenious) engineering driving the story. Lots of fun, many other people have liked it too.
8. Geoffrey Hill, Broken Hierarchies, Poems 1952-2012.