15 January 2012
So much choice....
In the Best Crime Fiction Reads of 2011, 35 contributors mainly suggesting their best 10 reads suggested 364 titles.
Some focussed on books published in 2010 and 2011, some mentioned books published earlier than that.
In any case the 10 books from each is just the tip of the iceberg.
And yet many of us can agree on what is "quality". Titles that will make it into other people's top 10 will be near the top of my list and in the top 20 or so.
Last year I read 160 crime fiction titles, which is quite a lot by most readers' standards. And yet I was nowhere near the number of "best reads" individual titles suggested by just 35 contributors.
That's what makes these reading lists so valuable. Find reviewers whose judgement you trust, whose crime fiction tastes coincide with yours, read their reviews carefully, and then decide whether you will put that book on your lists.
I do know some people won't read the reviews before they read the book - sometimes the fact that a title is getting mentioned by a number of reviewers is enough to have you put it on your list.
If you look at my reading lists for the past 4 years (see the links in the header to this page), you will see that the vast majority have got a rating from me of 4 and above. What is happening is that my choices have already been through a sort of pre-selection process. Even though a number of the titles are the work of new-to-me authors (last year 60 of the 160 were written by new-to-me authors), I still think about whether I am likely to like the book or not.
My overall impression is that while many of the authors I enjoy have become quite prolific, many of them producing a new title annually, so there are new writers joining those ranks, as well as translations of work by international writers already popular in their own country. The end result is an ever expanding smorgasbord which ensures that I am never lost for something to read.
If you are looking for some bloggers who write about crime fiction check out Crime Fiction Journeys which features the home pages of about 100 crime fiction readers.