Circumstances found me with an abundance of free time in 2014, which I filled partly with books. Lots of books. In fact, I can safely say that I read more books this year (26 total) than since my senior year of college more than a decade ago.
Here are the books I read, more or less in the order I read them (with a few notes about a few titles at the end):
Books I read in 2014…
• Life After Life – Kate Atkinson
• One Good Turn – Kate Atkinson
• When Will There Be a Good News? – Kate Atkinson
• Adventures in the Screen Trade – William Goldman
• Which Lie Did I Tell? – William Goldman
• The Season: A Candid Look at Broadway – William Goldman
• Save the Cat – Blake Snyder
• Great Crash 1929 – John Kenneth Galbraith
• Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game – Michael Lewis
• Liars Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street – Michael Lewis
• Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President – Ron Suskind
• The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt – Edmund Morris
• Theodore Rex – Edmund Morris
• Colonel Roosevelt – Edmund Morris
• Zeitoun – Dave Eggers
• Case Histories – Kate Atkinson
• A Hologram for the King – Dave Eggers
• Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism – Doris Kearnes Goodwin
• The Circle – Dave Eggers
• My Heart is an Idiot – Dave Rothbart
• What is the What – Dave Eggers
• The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas – Davy Rothbart
• Look At Me – Jennifer Egan
• Made To Stick – Chip Heath & Dan Heath
• Switch: Change is Hard – Chip Heath & Dan Heath
• The Sixth Extinction – Elizabeth Kolbert
1. The most heartwrenching books I read were Look at Me (Egan), Life After Life (Atkinson), and the funeral scene from the third (and final) Theodore Roosevelt biography, Colonel Roosevelt (Morris).
2. Damn, McSweeney’s crafts the best looking books I’ve ever seen. All these years later and they’re still adhering to incredible standards. Each one is like a little artifact.
3. The two “business” books I read, Made to Stick and Switch, have significantly refined how I think about written communication and organizational change. Highly recommended for anyone who needs to improve what they do, how they do it, and how they talk about it.
4. The best book I’ve ever read on storytelling is William Goldman’s Adventures in the Screen Trade. It’s by the guy who wrote Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid aaaaaand The Princess Bride.
5. Davy Rothbart has written two books of stories. The most recent one, My Heart is an Idiot, is fantastic. The first, written about a decade ago, is aggressively mediocre.