Abstaining from best books mania

For some reason this year’s onslaught of “best of the year” lists really wore on me. As a result, I’m not going to do one of those posts for 2013. Instead, I will note that, based on books listed in both of two different compilations of this year’s book lists, it’s again clear I am evidently out of touch with mainstream or even literary culture.

In fiction, the only one I read was Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life — and I gave it two stars. I found it rather plodding and essentially gathering praise because it was “literary fiction” when, in fact, it was a SF/F novel exploring ideas handled far better by genre writers. In contrast, my favorite book of the year, The Humans by Matt Haig, not only wasn’t on the compilations, I don’t believe it was on any year-end list I glanced at.

I do a little bit better when it comes to nonfiction. I read Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital and listened to the unabridged audio of Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief. Both were well-done but struck me as, at best, slightly above average. I doubt either would have made any best of list I did. In fact, the only nonfiction book in my Goodreads year’s best bookshelf was a book first published in 2006.

Plainly, not only am I not a trend-monger, I appear to ignore them.

Sense isn’t democratic. An opinion uttered by 99 people, doesn’t necessarily make more sense than an opposing opinion uttered by one person.

Mokokoma Mokhonoana

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