评语：【小说类】#7.6【原评】Most people know that the first world war produced some of the finest poetry of the 20th century. A reminder that its prose writers weren’t half bad either.
评语：【文化，社会和旅行】#6.5【原评】A sweeping and absorbing history of the site that UNESCO describes as “the most impressive marine area in the world”, now disintegrating owing to two centuries of human impact. By a historian and social scientist at the University of Sydney.
评语：【文化，社会和旅行】#6.4【原评】Frustrated by constant rebuffs as he tries to settle down to fieldwork in Saudi Arabia, a French anthropologist mingles instead with a group of daredevil motorcycle- riders and learns how boredom, testosterone and cheap petrol gave rise to joyful homoeroticism and petty criminality mixed with Bedouin gallantry.
评语：【文化，社会和旅行】#6.3【原评】The former chancellor of New York’s department of education knows at first hand how much a child’s education is linked to his or her success in life. He has much to say about his nine-year campaign to improve the city’s school system and how it could become a blueprint for reform of America’s education system.
评语：【文化，社会和旅行】#6.1【原评】Asking why fewer people marry, two American legal academics show how, over the decades, economic inequality has undermined the rationality of marriage for many and weakened the family.
【原评】The director of the British Museum follows the debate about the unending and difficult path that Germany has taken to try to come to terms with its past, and shows that it has been shaped as much by what is not remembered as by what is. An important and elegant study in the making of modern national identity.
【原评】Originally published in 1956 in heavily censored form, this novel by a Catalan writer who fought in the Spanish civil war and died in 1983 was the first to tell the story of that conflict from the point of view of the losers. A timeless classic about lost illusions, lost ideals, lost youth, now translated into English for the first time.
【原评】An intense, mesmerising book by the writer of the Chrysler advert starring Clint Eastwood and seen by millions at the 2012 Super Bowl. It uses the intimate relationship that grows up between a flawed social worker and a paranoid survivalist to explore grand themes about American culture, its winners and its losers.
【原评】A dark, funny novel about the hopes and troubles of an Indian family that relocates from Delhi to America, only to be confronted with disaster when the eldest son has a diving accident.
【原评】With a delicate touch, a masterly American writer presents a fictional account of a true story, set in Uganda, about a group of schoolgirls kidnapped by the Lord’s Resistance Army, and asks deep questions about whether innocent human beings can ever recover from being made to inflict pain—or even kill.
【原评】A 70-year-old composer in rural Pennsylvania who tries to make music eternal by sleight of genetic engineering falls foul of Homeland Security. Philosophical musing by a master storyteller whose novels often mine the pecularities of the technological age.
【原评】With insight and seemingly effortless fluidity, Damon Galgut has written a beautiful and funny book that movingly captures the duality of E.M. Forster, one of Britain’s most thoughtful novelists.
【原评】At last, a fine Chinese novel that holds its own as a work that book-lovers with no special knowledge of China will relish. By a former member of the intelligence services, “Decoded” stands out for its pace and for the sheer novelty of the tale it tells.
【原评】The third of Marilynne Robinson’s novels to be set in Gilead, Iowa, and featuring John Ames, a Congregationalist preacher, turns to the story of Ames’s late-in-life wife. A former prostitute and cleaner, Lila, in her new incarnation, learns about grace, joy and love, lessons that are imparted with no trace of soppiness. By one of the finest writers in America.
【原评】A journey of loss and discovery set among the prisoners of war who were sent to build the “Death Railway” between Thailand and Burma during the second world war. Winner of the 2014 Man Booker prize for fiction and replete with scenes that stay with the reader long after the final page, this is the book that Richard Flanagan was born to write.
【原评】With gentle good humour, the Harvard psycholinguist explains that a good piece of writing is like the perfect soufflé appearing in a spotless kitchen at the end of a cooking show: “The messy work has been done beforehand and behind the scenes.” A good read for all ages.
【原评】A thoughtful American doctor, who gave the 2014 Reith lectures, recounts how many of his patients spend their final hours hooked up to machines, under fluorescent lights, surrounded by strangers. Far better to think through the implications and plan for the end you really want.
【原评】A historical study of how fat came to be demonised, especially in America, by a mix of academics, government officials and food companies, and how the few sceptics who dared take on the fat orthodoxy have been much disparaged for their pains. Detailed in its research and eloquent in its argument, this is the year’s most surprising diet book.
【原评】A rich and accessible account of how quantum theory is becoming part of the mainstream in biology as it begins to explain such mysteries as how migratory birds sense direction, how molecules in the air are perceived as smell and how, precisely, tadpoles lose their tails.
【原评】Five previous extinctions wiped out plant and animal life on a huge scale; now a sixth is upon us. Is life resilient enough to withstand mankind?
【原评】A study of the searing 1920s by the founder of a well-regarded financial newsletter. It sheds light on a nasty, but largely ignored, episode and demonstrates that a laissez-faire approach can cure slumps better than the government activism of the 1930s—or indeed 2008.
【原评】An unlikely bestseller by a French economist, who, by looking at historical changes in the concentration of income and wealth, shows that the importance of wealth in modern economies is approaching levels unseen since before 1914.
【原评】A detailed reconstruction of the hunt for Avraham Stern and his small band of “Fighters for the Freedom of Israel”, better known as Lehi. Stern was among the first Zionists to mix religion and nationalism, and Patrick Bishop’s book has important lessons for the modern day.
【原评】An elegant British writer dusts down Homer for a new generation, examining in detail the character of his two epics, from the gore of “The Iliad” to the blindings of “The Odyssey”. A lesson about honour, violence and masculinity.
【原评】The three protagonists saw themselves as “living exemplars of prophetic tradition” and for a fortnight subjected each other to mind-numbing speeches about the rightness of each of their causes. Camp David came to naught, but for a fleeting moment it seemed as if things in the Middle East might turn out for the better.