My non-review of the best books of 2010

So all the newspapers have been publishing their end-of-year roundups. Some even started back in November. Here’s why I won’t be doing my own little roundup of the best books of 2010.

Basically, it’s because I haven’t read very many of them.

Don’t get me wrong, I do read quite a lot. But the thing I’ve realised on looking back is that not many of the books were published in 2010. That was surprising for me, because I do read mostly contemporary fiction. The only really ‘old’ books on my list, I think, are Catcher in the Rye, The Golden Bough and In the Castle of My Skin.

But what I realised is that my ‘contemporary’ books are spread over the last decade or two. I just don’t tend to read the very latest books. I think there are several reasons for this:

1. Contrariness. I hate following a trend and buying what everyone else is buying. I’ll read Freedom in a year or two probably, when it’s no longer quite so obligatory.

2. Money. Hardbacks are expensive, and I am not exactly making a fortune from my writing just yet. I tend to wait for the paperback edition, or in some cases wait for the book to come into the library, which means I am not reading a lot of the very latest books.

3. Slowness. I have a ‘to-read’ list about 700 books long, and keep adding to it. By the time I actually get around to reading one of the books on my list, it’s probably been on there for a year or two at least.

All of this means that I am not going to end 2010 with an authoritative article on the best books of the year. I just haven’t read enough of them to be able to make that judgement. But I am probably just about ready to write something on the hottest books of 2007.

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2 Responses to My non-review of the best books of 2010

  1. claire 3 January 2011 at 7:14 pm #

    #2 and #3 speaks for me as well. Although I still would’ve been interested to know which books you loved reading this year, regardless of when they were published. :D Happy, happy new year, Andrew!

  2. Andrew Blackman 4 January 2011 at 8:45 pm #

    Hi Claire,
    Happy New Year to you too! And since you asked so nicely, here are the top 5 books I read in 2010:

    1. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    2. Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida, ed Robert Chandler
    3. Beside the Sea by Véronique Olmi
    4. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
    5. Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande

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