The Best Books I Read in 2014

by eric

Previous editions: 2013, 2012, 2011.

The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America
George Packer
A perceptive and moving account of the recent history of the United States, told through the experiences of Americans both famous and ordinary.

Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football
Nicholas Dawidoff
A closely observed, richly human story that happens to be about football.  The author spent the 2011 season embedded with the New York Jets, and he draws perceptive and compelling portraits of the coaches and players as they struggle with forces outside and inside themselves, on the field and off of it.

Dad Is Fat
Jim Gaffigan
Only a professional comedian could find amusement in trying to raise five young children in a two-bedroom walk-up apartment in Manhattan.

Want Not
Jonathan Miles
Several intertwined narratives follow characters in modern New Jersey as they attempt to manage the detritus—physical, emotional, moral—filling their lives in a time of cheap abundance.

All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis
Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera
An exhaustive and evenhanded history of the many intertwined causes of the financial crisis.

The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents are Going Broke
Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi
Surveys the unintended consequences of dual incomes on families with children—particularly increased bankruptcies as families overextend themselves bidding up homes in good school districts and cannot recover from unexpected events.

NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children
Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
Summarizes unheralded but compelling recent research related to children: why some kinds of praise can backfire, the problems with giftedness tests for kindergarteners, the roots of lying and bullying, why teenagers arguing is a good thing, and more.

In a Sunburned Country
Bill Bryson
A hilarious travelogue through Australia, rendering clearly the beauty and uniqueness of the country.

Safe Baby Handling Tips
David and Kelly Sopp
Sometimes what new parents need most is a laugh.