Wednesday, 5 January 2005

Keeping up with The Times

Had to take half the day off yesterday after I came down with a 'viral infection' according to the doctor. On Monday I was fine, but overnight, it seems I caught a fever, a sore throat AND a coLd all at the same time. Only thing missing was a cough, or else I'd have a complete set. Darn.

Am feeling better today though. Well enough to get back to work on those stories my boss is chasing me for. And to blog, of course.

Anyway, I received a list which was The New York Times' best books of the year the Wordup mailing lists, and being the sucker for lists that I am, I checked them out. (No, don't ask me for the list. I can't find it either. And besides, it's too damn long to post here).

Depressingly, I'd only read ONE of the books in ALL the lists - Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (which I haven't even FINISHED yet). I'd not even HEARD of many of the books that were on the lists.

That got me thinking (which is never a good thing).

HOW THE HECK do they compile these lists? Do they have little elves hidden away in their basements, frantically reading EVERY book that is released and sifting through them, eliminating the really bad ones, and finally passing up the say... a few hundred good ones to the handful of book reviewers that the publication employs, who then read THOSE books as fast as they can, and then review them?

On average, I take about a week to read a book, then about another week to finish the roughly 500-1000 word review (that's IF I'm feeling productive, which I'm usually not).

At this estimated rate (which again, considers the fact that I'm being productive), I'd have read AND reviewed around 26 books a year. Also, that is considering that these books are all FICTION books, since I only ever read those. Which means I'd STILL have missed a few.. er.. THOUSAND other good books that OTHER people would be recommending, and reviewing and putting on their 'Best of' lists.

My final conclusion - There is NO POINT trying to keep up to that kind of schedule or pace, just to be able to cover ALL best books of each year.

To me, reading is fun. I don't want it to become a chore, so I shall take my time with each book (which, in the case of The Name of the Rose, was around two years). It's a lot more fun that way.

And the heck with all those books I've not heard of on the New York Times 'Best Books of the Year' lists, or ANYONE'S Best Books lists. I'm sticking to what I like, and so there!

No comments: