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Quarterly Rhapsody: Book Lists

Quarterly RhapsodyThere’s a list for almost everything. There are lists about the best movies, the best tourist destinations, the best of anything, general interests, eccentric interests, and yes, lists on our beloved books.

What are these lists for anyway? For one, I could say that these lists are out there for recommendations. A reader who’s looking out to venture to new genres could pore through these book lists. In this aspect, book lists can help in increasing the reading activities of a person.

And then, lists bring about healthy, although verbally violent, debates. Which books deserve to make it? Which books should be dropped? Which writer should have a prominent number of works in a list?

These debates call for an understanding of what makes a book really worth it. Is it the style? The plot? The techniques employed? The theme? The appeal to the reading masses? The overall effect? Everything comes into play, so coming up with a list of the top books is a herculean task.

I am a huge fan of book lists. If you haven’t noticed yet, I am collecting nine lists: five award winners and four top 100 lists. There are more lists out there than the ones I am collecting, but if I try to collect all of them, I am afraid I will not achieve my goal of reading all the books in my lists.

Let’s take the 1001 list. The number itself is staggering. If you are a speed reader, fine, go ahead and pursue the goal of reading all the books. The problem is, the list changes every certain number of years. Another one is that the books in the list are not always available. They might even be out of print. So what do we do?

Take only what your cup could hold. I know I can’t read all those books, so I’ll settle for my nine selected lists. It’s not a list I could truly call my own, but what the hey, don’t all these lists belong to someone else?

Which brings me to another point. The book group that I am a member of is recently tackling the task of listing its own 100 best novels. Unfortunately, you have yours truly to blame for this idea.

As one member said, this is an exciting endeavor because it will reflect our literary taste as a group. But coming up with the list that will represent the group’s reading choise is not an easy task. I have made my proposals. I thought of allowing participating members to submit their top books that are ranked in order. Points are given to a book depending on its rank.

However, the pointing system is not foolproof. Think of this: if three members rank Twilight as their number one book, this would be a huge advantage, or disadvantage if you’d like to look at it that way. I am looking at it the latter way. Anyway, another proposed to quash the pointing system to eliminate the complications it brings. Still, another proposed to vote ten members that will come up with an initial list which the members will vote on.

And that’s not all, there are a lot of factors that need to be considered. The genres, the language, the book’s period of publication, et al. Whew. This is proving to be a big, hard, exciting, and endearing task.

I don’t know yet if our group’s goal of coming up our 100 best novels will push through or not. We just started talking about it yesterday. I hope though that it will.


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