Lists of favorite books, lists of best books, lists of best-loved books no one else likes -- there are myriad ways to try to praise some books at the expense of others. The response to most of these lists is to decry the books that were not included and thus -- wrongly in the opinion of those responding -- deemed not worthy.
I don't like lists. Amazon has one, the BBC was touting one because it said most people haven't read more than six titles on it. In a sense, even bestseller lists are part of this judgmental system. And all of them have at least one entry that raises questions. For example, romance author Debbie Macomber and Max Lucado on the Amazon list? Are those examples of ham-fisted product placement? Dan Brown on the BBC list? Is that a case of giving non-readers one? Birdsong on both lists? I admit to being underwhelmed by that one and wonder why it gets such acclaim.
One of the ways in which works of literary fiction are compared to each other is in outright battle, as in annual The Morning News Tournament of Books. The works are directly compared to each other and a winner declared, just like the college basketball tournaments taking place this month.
The great part about the Tournament of Books, though, is that between the critique of each judge, the tournament's official commentators and the comments section, the strengths of each work are celebrated. These thorough discussions don't always result in the books I prefer being named to the top, but it doesn't matter because I have had the opportunity to read the reactions of other readers who are well read and communicate their ideas clearly and in an accessible manner.
Because so many people out there in the real world don't read, or, if they do, only read fast-paced fiction or opinion disguised as news, it's comforting to find pockets of intelligent discourse that celebrate literature such as the Tournament of Books.
Do lists and award-winners guide your reading in any way? I do keep track of the Booker longlist because it introduces me to novels I'd probably want to read. And other award nominee lists remind me of books I mean to get to but haven't had time. But, really, I'm at least as concerned to not miss a great book because its fans aren't making as much noise as the big books.
Oh, all right, I'll be honest. I'd like to read them all. Except the Dan Brown.
Readers & Book Lovers Series Schedule:
|DAY||TIME (EST/EDT)||Series Name||Editor(s)|
|SUN||6:00 PM||Young Reader's Pavilion||The Book Bear|
|2:00 PM||What's on Your E-Reader?||Caedy|
|2:00 PM||Bibliophile's Wish List||Caedy|
|Sun||9:30 PM||SciFi/Fantasy Book Club||quarkstomper|
|Bi-Monthly Sun||Midnight||Reading Ramblings||don mikulecky|
|MON||8:00 PM||Monday Murder Mystery||michelewln, Susan from 29|
|Mon||11:00 PM||My Favorite Books/Authors||edrie, MichiganChet|
|TUES||5:00 PM||Indigo Kalliope: Poems from the Left||bigjacbigjacbigjac|
|alternate Tuesdays||8:00 AM||LGBT Literature||Texdude50, Dave in Northridge|
|alternate Tuesdays||8:00 AM||All Things Bookstore||Dave in Northridge|
|Tue||8:00 PM||Contemporary Fiction Views||bookgirl|
|Wed||2:00 PM||e-books||Susan from 29|
|Wed||8:00 PM||Bookflurries Bookchat||cfk|
|THU||8:00 PM||Write On!||SensibleShoes|
|Thu (first each month)||11:00 AM||Monthly Bookpost||AdmiralNaismith|
|alternate Thursdays (on hiatus)||11:00 PM||Audiobooks Club||SoCaliana|
|FRI||8:00 AM||Books That Changed My Life||Diana in NoVa|
|alternate Fridays||8:00 PM||Books Go Boom!||Brecht|
|Fri||10:00 PM||Slightly Foxed -- But Still Desirable||shortfinals|
|SAT (fourth each month)||11:00 AM||Windy City Bookworm||Chitown Kev|
|Sat||12:00 PM||You Can't Read That! Paul's Book Reviews||pwoodford|
|Sat||9:00 PM||Books So Bad They're Good||Ellid|