What a year!

Well, I’d hoped to stave off the holiday season for just a few more days—at least until Santa lumbers down Broadway on Thursday morning at the end of the Macy’s Parade. But the Times just released their 100 Notable Books for 2011, so I guess there’s no escaping now…

Of all the year-end best-of lists, I find the Times list the most instructive. Perhaps it comes with being the Paper of Record, but typically they go for the popular, consensus picks of the best in a given year, and so it provides a good picture of what worked, both artistically and commercially. For me as an agent, it’s especially useful to look at the nonfiction list and review the categories that got them excited—lotsa history, lotsa memoir this time out. And, of course, it’s always fun to grouse about the omissions—ahem, cough, Steve Jobs, ahem?

But this year more than any other, the list make me realize just how loooong this year felt. Didn’t Swamplandia! come out a zillion years ago? The Tiger’s Wife? I could swear I was talking about Malcom X with the editor back in 2010…

For sure, having a newborn at home has certainly dragged out the days (and nights). On the other hand, coming to the end of my first full calendar year as an agent, I’ve handled a lot more projects than I did as an editor, and with a much faster rate of turnover, too—so in that respect, news quickly becomes old news, and old news seems that much older.

Hence, for once, I’m actually grateful to the Times for reminding me of books that are way off my radar at this point—and that I won’t be hopelessly out of date if I tackle some of them over the holidays!

Any thoughts on the list? Other glaring omissions? Anyone else feel like 2011 went on forever?

2 Responses to What a year!

  1. I need a YA Fiction specific list; 90% of the 50+ books I read this year were YA. Eventually I’ll get to The Marriage Plot but for now, Stephanie Perkins’ Lola and the Boy Next Door awaits!

  2. I agree somewhat. On the fiction side, I felt more excited about a number of books in 2010, so it feels like that was just yesterday and nothing much has happened this year (although I KNOW that was the case!). When I look at the nonfiction list and see AND SO IT GOES on there, I have the same thought you did about SWAMPLANDIA!–didn’t that come out a million years ago?

    Years are always weird like that.

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