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Saturday, November 8, 2014

And the AV list of best books of 2014

Readers are responding in droves!

The Antoine Vanner List

His first choice is  Former People by Douglas Smith, a well reviewed history of the Russian people after the Revolution

2. Cactus Throne by Richard O'Connor

3. The Admirals by Waler Borneman

4. The Manner of Men by Stuart Tootal

5. Memoirs of Sir Percy Scott (free online: hit the link)

6. Thackeray's Irish Sketches (ditto)

7. Empress of the Night by Eva Stachniak

8. The Art of Betrayal by Gordon Carera (The secret history of MI6, which looks like fascinating stuff, particularly if you have just seen that brilliant but under-publicized movie, "Page Eight.")

9. 1914: Fight the Good Fight by Alan Mallinson

10. When William Came by Saki  (on Amazon, but a free download)

By huge coincidence, though I thought I had read everything by the immortal Saki (Hector Hugh Munro), I found a new story in a collection I am reading right now, called Stories of the Sea, an Everyman Pocket Classic.  The story is called "The Treasure-Ship," and is a perfect example of Saki's needle-like depictions of the same kind of upper-class greed, maliciousness, snobbery and mannered social manipulation that are so popularly represented today in the series "Downtown Abbey."Others are Ray Bradbury's deathless and always chilling, "The Fog Horn," Doris Lessing's nailbiting "Through the Tunnel," a strange story by John Updike called "The Cruise," a redemption story from Kurl Vonnegut called "The Cruise of the Jolly Roger," and Stephen Crane's classic, "The Open Boat."

Other writers in the collection are Jack London, Joseph Conrad, Herman Melville ("John Marr" -- which is odd, as if I had been the editor, I would have definitely chosen "Benito Cerano"), J.G. Ballard and Mark Helprin.

Quality stuff.

I look forward to the next few entries from my readers.

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