Archive for December 30, 2014

My best reading memories of 2014.

December 30, 2014 20 comments

Hello everyone,

2014 is almost over and it’s time to go back to my reading year and do the best-of-the-year exercise.

Gary_LecturesFirst, 2014 has been special for me because it was the centenary of the birth of Romain Gary. I’ve been posting a quote by him every Wednesday from January to May. (Find them all in the Wednesdays with Romain Gary category) and I’ve re-read Lady L and Chien Blanc. Both are worth reading. Fellow book bloggers have been reading Romain Gary along with me and Vishy is probably the one who enjoyed his Gary the most: he read Promise at Dawn. Find all the billets about this event and some more on the Reading Romain Gary page.

For the rest of my favourite 2014 reads, I created personal categories, I hope you’ll have fun.

Best Off-the-wall book: Midnight Examiner by William Kotzwinkle

It’s crime fiction, it’s funny, it’s crazy and the billet’s title says it all: They Read That Post And Rush To The Nearest Bookstore To Buy The Book.


Best Humbook: The Golden Gate by Vikram Seth

For new visitors, a Humbook is a virtual Christmas gift and by extension a book offered by another book blogger. Scott from Seraillon picked The Golden Gate by Vikram Seth for me and it was deep, poetic, fantastic about San Francisco, sad, tought-provoking. Bref, amazing. The title of the billet is two verses

In San Francisco’s snowless winter

The gray weeks rinse themselves away.

Ah, yes, I forgot to tell you: it’s a novel written in verses. Thanks again, Scott.

Best PhD-material book: The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford

It’s a tremendous novel, complex, rich. The characters are deep and rather mysterious is their motivations, the narrator is unreliable and the style is breathtaking.


Best city Book : Manhattan Transfer by John dos Passos

In his song C’est quand qu’on va où, the French singer Renaud sings:

L’essentiel à nous apprendreC’est l’amour des livres qui fait

Qu’tu peux voyager d’ta chambre

Autour de l’humanité,

The most important thing to learnIs the love of books that

Makes you travel from your bedroom

Around humanity

It’s never been as true as in Manhattan transfer. You read Dos Passos and you’re in New York, New York.


Best please-translate-me-into-English book: Eveils by Gaito Gazdanov

Among the books I’ve read this year that are not available in English, there was this little gem by Gazdanov. Please NYRB or Pushkin Press or Pereine bring The Awakenings to English readers.


Best Beach & Public Transport Book: God and I Broke Up by Katarina Mazetti

Beach and Public Transport Books are good but easy reads. Precious books that transform your journeys into a literary feast. Billet can be found under The Linnea trilogy.

I’m sorry to report to fans of books filed under Sugar Without Cellulite that I didn’t read any of those in 2014.


Best LOL Books: How to Be Good by Nick Hornby, Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis and Straight Man by Richard Russo.

I couldn’t choose only one of them and it’s interesting to read Straight Man not long after Lucky Jim. Find my billets here:

Thanks again Guy for picking Straight Man as my Humbook in 2013 and recommending the other two.


Best classic: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

I started to read it when we were driving through Oklahoma. Books have a different flavor when you read them and you’re there, where the action is. The Reasons of wrath is my billet.


Best haunting book: Run River by Joan Didion.

The end of the California of pioneers and the destruction of a marriage, all wrapped in an incisive and beautiful prose.


Thank you for reading my billets, putting up with my mistakes in English, making time to comment, leaving all kinds of recommendations. If one of my billets helped you discover a new author this year, then all this writing was worth doing.

More fun to come in 2015…

A bientôt


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