This is the first time in my life I’m doing this for real: counting books I’ve read and making statistics. Ooh, no, wait, this is not going to be a boring post full of numbers! (I’ve done enough professional reports like these) The great lesson of this experience is: I should have done this long ago. I’d no idea. I’ve been talking baloney for years (I’ve just discovered this expression, let me revel in using it anywhere for a minute, but you’re allowed to correct me if I’m using it incorrectly). Here are some myths in a bad shape:
Myth: I read a book a week. Fact: I’ve read over 70 books this year. Not counting magazines, I promise. Not counting the individual short stories I’ve discovered through A Curious Singularity. Not just browsing through a few pages and dropping it. In fact, I rarely drop a book. Except on the library floor. And I don’t take it home.
- Myth: I read only fiction. Fact: I’ve read over 20 non-fiction books this year. And I love it. I venture into literary analysis provided it’s not too academic. I love travel books by Nicolas Bouvier. Memories and essays by Virginia Woolf, of course. And unclassifiable texts of W.G. Sebald.
- Myth: I don’t read any French literature. Fact: eer… that’s actually true (only 4, and not really memorable, except for Marc Dugain’s An Ordinary Execution), and none of the French bestsellers or prizes.
- Myth: I don’t read much contemporary fiction. Fact: if contemporary is to be defined by post-2000, then I’ve read more than 30 of them! And the books published before 20C make a paltry 10.
- Myth: I love Asian fiction. Fact: well, I do love it, but it doesn’t really show: 5 books only. Gosh, I must work on that next year. (but didn’t I already say that in January 2007?)
Of course, American and British 20C novels make the bulk of it. But I’ve managed to diversify, with several Irish, Canadian and European authors. Now that I have a nice and clean list in front of me (and not just my hazy patchy memory) I can think hard about the best books of the year. In the meantime, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you!