Seriously, folks, today I got an email from goodreads telling me that the winning book of this year's best mystery and thriller category is none other than (drumroll please) Dan Brown's Inferno. The votes were cast by readers, and Inferno received 29,132 votes. Now, contrast that with Jo Nesbø's Police, which got 6, 821 votes. Frankly, I had a lot of trouble believing this news, considering that a) Police was probably Nesbø's best book so far and b) that (imho) Inferno was DaVinci Code all over again with a change of venue and cast.
I'm seriously not getting how this happened -- not just in the case of Police, but every other exquisite crime novel that's been published in 2013. Claudia Piniero's A Crack in the Wall, for example, should have at least been nominated, and the same goes for a host of other truly wonderful crime/mystery books -- 21:37 by Mariusz Czubaj -- which was listed as European literature therefore not considered a crime fiction novel; Arnaldur Indridason's newest wasn't on the voting list; where the hell was Andrea Camilleri; Benjamin Black? I think not; Tim Hallinan's wonderful Fame Thief wasn't there; I could go on, but my point is made.
I don't consider myself in any way shape or form a book snob or "highbrow" reader (I mean, seriously...I read Inferno when it came out) but jeez! There has to be a point at which people recognize the excellent work being done by not only excellent home-grown crime writers but the international ones as well. Is there some reason that people don't choose to expand their reading horizons or climb out of their reading ruts? I mean, to each his own for sure, but frankly, this year's choice was just a little more than not right.
okay. that's all. I have ranted and now I am finished.
A donkey vote from an alphabetical list?ReplyDelete
I don't think so. There were several nominees; if it had been just an alphabetical list there should have been more good ones on there.Aargh!Delete
Nancy - I couldn't agree more. It's one reason for which there are very few 'best of' decisions that I really trust. Really?!? Really!??!!ReplyDelete
I totally agree...and now we're being bombarded with them a) because of the end of the year and b) more to the point -- it's time to buy Christmas presents.Delete
I agree with you. However, the fact is that U.S. readers rarely read books written by non-U.S. writers. There are exceptions, and Stieg Larsson's books were among them. Harry Potter, too, but well-publicized and well-liked.ReplyDelete
I read a poll a few years ago, which said that 95% of books read by readers in the States are published in the States. Also, take a look at the New York Times Best Seller lists. Nearly all U.S. writers and publishers, and sometimes the titles are just badly written books, by popular authors and people can be distracted from their daily lives by page-turners without much to think about.
I don't know why readers here are so provincial, but look at movies, too. Few people relatively speaking watch "foreign" films, especially with subtitles.
How many readers here are reading crime fiction blogs and reviews written in different countries? How many people just look at best-seller lists or the "new fiction" or "popular" books sections in bookstores? What is visible to those who walk into bookstores? What's up front" Popular U.S. authors, promoted by publishers here and then showcased by bookstores.
And Inferno? Yikes. I read The Da Vinci Code to see what all the fuss was about, and I was quite disappointed, especially at the ending. But some readers liked it. It's on the New York Times best-seller list.
I'm not going to read it, but many people will, including some I know.
There are also some amazing Americans who were left off the list.Delete
These kinds of popularity contests never work unless everyone who votes has read the same list of books. Brown had the distinct advantage from the start of riding on the wave of popularity of the Da Vinci code, which I liked but purely as a fun escapist read. So many more people read Inferno (which I have no desire to read) than any of Nesbo's work. And even then taste takes over. Why are you pies better than anyone else's. All comes down to taste.ReplyDelete