Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Books of the Year

The books of the year is upon us. Find it hard to understand why the Guardian and the like carry on asking the same old, same old and never find a blogger or two to add a bit of grist to the mix. Not that we'd necessarily add grist, when my favourite novel of the year is David Mitchell's "Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet." How many times will I have to tell you that this is head and shoulders above most novels written this year? The Booker judges may not be idiots, I've not yet read their choices, but they certainly run the risk of being idiots if there really were 6 novels this year better than this one.

Elsewhere, I've a lot of time for not-the-Booker joint winnter "The Canal" by Lee Rourke. Disclosure: I studied with him a decade ago, but when he came up to Manchester in the summer it was the first time we'd met for years. A gentleman and a writer.

My book of the year would be Bruce Chatwin's letters - wonderful to have this filling in the gaps of a life that shows that his facility for writing was there well before he published his debut, and somewhat more illuminating than another (auto) biography.

In poetry... well, obviously I had two wonderful collections published this year, so I can only give thanks to Knives, Forks and Spoons and Salt for delivering these little books to the wider world. I'll be reading on Wednesday 19th January in Manchester, if anyone wants to hear more. Small presses were where it's at, with great books from both those presses, plus ZimZalla, Penned in the Margins and ifPthenQ among others.

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