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.