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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 7:30 AM WAYR? plf515
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


What do book lists do for you?

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