Saturday, November 6, 2010

Top 10 Books at Amazon US/UK with Comments (by Liviu Suciu)

Recently Amazon UK's Top 10 SFF Books of 2010 came out
  1. Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (FBC Rv DC)
  2. Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks (FBC Rv LS)
  3. Against All Things Ending by Stephen Donaldson
  4. The Evolutionary Void by Peter F. Hamilton (Goodreads minireview LS)
  5. The Ambassador's Mission by Trudi Canavan
  6. Kraken by China Mieville
  7. The Passage by Justin Cronin (FBC Rv LS)
  8. The Technician by Neal Asher (FBC Rv LS)
  9. The Black Lung Captain by Chris Wooding (FBC capsule Rv LS)
  10. The Tree of Seasons by Stephen Gately
****************************************************The Amazon U.S. version is here, while the Amazon Top 100 Books has quite a different selection of sff with only few overlaps.
  1. The Golden Age by Michal Ajvaz
  2. How to Live Safely in A Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu
  3. Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord
  4. The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman [FBC rv LS]
  5. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin [FBC rv RT, FBC rv sequel The Broken Kingdoms LS]
  6. The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich
  7. The Dream of Perpetual Motion by Dexter Palmer [FBC Rv RT]
  8. Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
  9. The Fixed Stars: Thirty-Seven Emblems for the Perilous Season by Brian Conn
  10. Kill the Dead by Richard Kadrey (FBC Rv RT soon)
Looking at the two lists and their disjointness, one reason is of course that very few of the Amazon US list books have been published in the UK so far, while conversely I think that at least 7 novels from the UK list have been published in the US.

I actually like both lists a lot - the UK list is core-genre, while the US list is more of fringe genre though there are some core genre ones on it like the Gilman, Jemisin and Kadrey books - so in a way it is not surprising I read more from the UK list, but I think that offering exposure to less well known and more offbeat books in such a popular venue as Amazon is great too.

From the UK list I read #2,4,7,8,9 and Surface Detail is the uncontested top sff of 2010 for me, while The Technician and The Evolutionary Void are also in my (provisional) top 20 sff. I am still stuck around page 200 in Kraken, while of the rest I have no interest in 1,3,5 and have not heard of 10, though seeing that is portal fantasy, it has a very low priority for me since I dislike the sub-genre in its fantasy incarnation, though surprisingly I like it to a large extent in its sfnal incarnation as alt-history with time travelers from the present - whether both ways or stuck there...

From the US list and keeping in mind its more taste-specific flavor, I read #4, #5, #7, fast read #10, decided I have no interest in #2, #3, #8, while I would try #1, #6 or #9 if a copy comes into my hands but I am not sure if I would buy them based on the small samples I saw.

Overall, I think that both Amazon US and UK did a great job with these two lists - of course with the caveat of being limited to books published only till early November.


On the Literature and Fiction side, the UK top ten has also five books read by me, with three of them in my provisional Top 5 non-sff novels of 2010 (and provisional Top 25 overall which has 20 sff)

Sister by Rosamund Lupton
The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson (Goodreads minireview LS)
Fall of Giants (Century Trilogy 1) by Ken Follett (Goodreads minireview LS)
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
Room by Emma Donoghue (FBC Rv LS)
The Distant Hours by Kate Morton (FBC Rv LS soon)
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
Sunset Park by Paul Auster
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell (FBC Rv LS)
The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ (Myths) by Philip Pullman

While in the Amazon US Top Ten Fiction/Literature there is no book of clear interest to me and I browsed many of them, in the Amazon US 100 extended list there are 7 novels read by me and again three of my top 5 non-sff (Invisible Bridge - FBC Rv LS, De Zoet and Room), while The Distant Hours will be released in the US only on Nov 9, so it could not have been there.

Here the clear UK-list bias of mine is also not of a surprise since as exemplified in the list of 15 awesome literary fiction novels (series) I recommended for the sff reader where there is no US author, but 3 Japanese/UK (including an Anglo-Japanese one)/Russian, 2 German and 1 French, Romanian, Chilean and Canadian each, I tend to overwhelmingly prefer international literary fiction over US literary fiction as I do in music and movies for that matter, though of course I much prefer the US in politics, organization of society and not surprisingly the fiction that deals with that, namely sff.

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