With those extra days’ reprieve for online nomination for the BSFA Awards, I went back to see what I’d read that had been published in 2011. I knew it hadn’t been much. Six novels. Two short story collections.
I vowed I would do better this year.
The problem is, award season is such a distraction because it highlights all those interesting 2011 books I didn’t get around to reading in the calendar year itself, but which I bought, or noted, or for which I put in library requests. I want to finish reading the BSFA award shortlists. I’d like to read A Monster Calls, newly winner of the Red Tentacle at yesterday’s Kitschies. I know I’ll be tempted by the Clarke Award shortlist, the Hugo shortlists…. and it’s not as if one desire precludes the other goal.
Last year’s books are the shiny things I’m reading about right now, not the new ones, the potential winners of next years’ awards, the books which are only just beginning to be read. Last year’s are the ones I have handy already, the ones I know I’ll read at some point anyways, and I could just pick one up now since I already have it in the house….
I know it’ll be easier later in the year, when the awards peter out and novels published earlier in 2012 have had the time to accrue a critical mass of other peoples’ recommendations or reminders, in a way that the award-neglected books of Decembers’ publishings rarely do in time for the next round of award nominations.
There are still the better part of eleven months to go before other peoples’ “best of 2012” lists start appearing. But it sure feels like a betrayal of new resolution to begin 2012 by reading lots of last year’s books.