Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Recently published? Who cares?

As I'm reflecting on the books I've read in 2012, I noticed that there are about 6 or 7 titles that were published in this past year. This is actually up compared to previous years. I was feeling good about it. Then at Quill and Quire today, they're asking for our favourite Canadian books of 2012. They've broken it down in four categories:
1. Fiction
2. Non-fiction
3. Children's title
4. YA

It's a fine question to ask, but I wonder how many people who are not book industry insiders (including professional reviewers) have read a sufficient number of books published in 2012 to answer such a survey. Again, I'm not condemning the question, I'm generally curious. Is reading newly published books important to you? Reading somewhat recent books is important to me, but I guess I'm more of a follower than a trendsetter. If a book has gotten a lot of attention— through awards, controversy, sales, critical praise, and so on— I'm curious enough to pick it up, but by that time it's at least a year too late.


Unknown said...

It comes and goes for me. There have been years when I spent lots of time with library books, reading all the hot new titles or trying to read the Booker Prize short list or something like that.

This year, it's all been books I own, which lean towards the older, more obscure titles since I usually don't buy anything until it's been around long enough to end up at the second hand stores.

Isabella K said...

I've just done a quick count myself. I'm on my 50th book of the year; 7 of them have been 2012 releases, and only 2 of them Canadian. I read and blog for fun, do not consider myself an industry insider, but read more than your average Jane. So my extensive reading this year touches on 2 of the survey's categories. Being the only 2012 Canadian books I read in those categories, they are also my favourites. I can't imagine who is qualified to respond to this survey.

Sure, I'll pick up a hot book from time to time, but not so many that I'd feel had a fair sampling on which to base responses to this survey. (I note down a lot of titles as they come out, but I don't usually get to them till a year on -- some only stay on the list for as long as the hype.) I'm very curious to see how many responses the survey gets (and secondarily what the top picks are).

John Mutford said...

CB James: I try to keep it balanced, but it's not always easy.

Isabella: I co-judge books for the Northwords Prize, so I have to keep up on newly published books of the Northwest Territories but even that's a challenge and there aren't many NWT books published on a yearly basis!

Anonymous said...

Always well behind the curve here, John. This year I've made an out of character effort to pick up some new releases, but it's not at all a habit. I'd be stuck on such a survey - completely at a loss.

Vintage reads are more me. And I mistrust the hype which new books are surrounded by. After a year or two the really good ones are still being talked about, while the flash-in-the-pan ones have faded away. (And can be found by the dozen in the Sally Ann stacks, if one is still curious.)