19 November 2008

Behind the times: My shame and the Publishers Weekly 2008 best-of list.

I can't believe PW put out their list and forgot to tell me!

I did slightly better than last year: I read 2 of their fiction picks (NETHERLAND and, thanks to Marjorie, A PLAGUE OF DOVES), versus 1 in 2007 and 2 of their nonfiction picks (OUTLIERS [which may I say is a bit unfair of them to do since the book only came out today] and THE TEN-CENT PLAGUE) compared to none on last year's list. I attribute this not to any kind of tidal shift in the book industry, but rather that because of my reviewing I probably read more books published this year than I read books published in 2007 last year.

None of the books I reviewed for PW made it, which doesn't surprise me because of the category of books I read for them -- a particular subgenre that does not appear as its own heading on this list.*

For comparison's sake, though, I've read 2 of the top 10 Amazon.com 2008 Editors' Picks (THE TEN-CENT PLAGUE appears on both lists), but 9 out of the top 100.

Last year: PW's New Year's Eve.

*Do I sound vague? Very well then I sound vague, I am large, I contain multitudes.


Elizabeth said...

I've heard of many more of the books on Amazon's list than on Publisher's Weekly's. Is that due a difference of taste? in PR? in categories eligible for the list?

Ellen said...

All of those are probably contributors, but I would say category's a big thing. Without the limitations of picking, say, just 20 mainstream fiction books and 20 nonfiction books, the Amazon list could pack itself with those instead of making sure children's picture books are equally represented.

Then again, I don't know how PW comes up with its list either.