Opinions About Books


A kind reader sends a link to Fuse #8, where she is putting together a list of best loved middle grade reader/chapter books.

I must say that due to some ridiculous orneriness/contrariness in my nature, I am somewhat allergic to "best" lists. Which is, yes, all the more laughable and ironic given this blog here, where I opine day and night on the relative merits of books.

So what is the problem? I have no idea, really, except that it all seems so final somehow to make a list. And I always have this feeling that some essential book, as-yet-unread, will be left off because no one knows about it. There's also this nasty little part of me that sees all the books I haven't read and instead of getting that "Wow, a whole bunch of wonderful books yet to read!" feeling I resort to "Yeah, they think they're so great because they've read all these books, but they're not, you know. Or something."

Upon solemn and serious reflection, it is clear to me that my objections are for the most part puerile and useless, and it seems like a pretty great and thoughtful project, so I am going to spend some time trying to convince myself to go ahead  and vote. And maybe you guys too will go over and take a look?

Note: I will, however, forever and for always be opposed to the New York Times list of the Best Books of the Century, which seems to me entirely wrong-headed. But that's a whole other thing.

4 thoughts on “Opinions About Books

  1. And some of the greatest fun occurs in the comments. Like the one about reading The Wicked Enchantment…. đŸ˜‰ Actually I know what you mean about “best” lists. This one does not bother me as much because most of voters approach it from a best loved standpoint rather than of “highest literary merit”.


  2. I love lists of recommendations, because I know there’s always something I’ve missed and would love to read. But “best” lists do worry me, maybe because I always then feel pressured to read them (or get my kids to read them) or I won’t qualify as a good reader. And that kind of sucks the fun out of it. I haven’t followed this link yet, but like the idea of a “best loved” rather than “best” list.


  3. I’m with you on the NY Times list of the century which sent me into a stifled panic at the number of Don Delillo books on it that I had never read. My heart still beats fast when I think about it…


  4. I found my ten-best list for that poll incredibly painful to create. Based on the comments, many other people did too. It was all the books that wouldn’t fit on a ranked list of ten that caused the agony.


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