I read 64 novels from 30 countries in 2014, with the most being by Belgian authors (13 - including a Maigret a month), followed by UK (10). This compares to 60 novels from 15 countries in 2013 and 69 novels from 36 countries in 2012.
Eleven novels earned the full five stars, one more than in 2013 and 2012. I gave four stars to 29 books, so I rated two-thirds of my reads as above average!
Based on the the criteria of good writing, strong characterisation, memorable insights and straightforward enjoyment, my Top Five Reads of 2014 were, in alphabetical order of author:
The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton
The Discovery of Slowness, by Sten Nadolny, trans. Ralph Freedman
The Sound of Things Falling, by Juan Gabriel Vazquez
Augustus, by John Williams
The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruis Zafon
Four of these were definites, and I opted for Zafon over Karl Ove Knausgaard's A Man in Love or David Grossman's hugely moving To the End of the Land mostly because it was fun and I read it in the city in which it is set, Barcelona.
The best book by a UK writer was The Farm, by Tom Rob Smith.
My best crime or thriller read was Bloodland, by Alan Glynn
A tough call, but I think Slowness was the best novel I read in 2014, though Luminaries ran it close, and neither could quite match the beautiful prose of Patrick McGuiness's Other People's Countries: A Journey into Memory.