Take a minute and look over this list:
How does it make you feel? Like a victor because you have read most of them? Or like a failure, because although most of them were probably assigned to you in high school, you have read less than a respectable amount of them?
I’m not sure who created this list or why, but the idea of a must read list is not unique. In fact, the website this list came from is actually a website of lists:
Best Loved Titles of All Time
Top 25 Fantasy Books
The 50 Best Books for Kids
I could continue, but I have to ask a question:
Who gets to decide what the BEST or the TOP or the MUST READ books are for any given category of interest?
Honestly, to me these lists are a bit ridiculous. Take the specific list I shared with you. Arguably, most of the books listed are adult novels that are major literary classics, but then you have seemingly random ones like Lovely Bones, Charlotte’s Web, or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Really, I love Charlie and the Chocolate factory, but how can you honestly compare it to The Holy Bible, or A Brave New World? Then, what about other classics like Invisible Man or The Scarlet Letter? Those didn’t make the list, but The Little Prince did?
Being one that reads a lot, people are always asking me for lists of books that I would recommend for reading and generally I say, “I don’t know what kinds of books do you like to read?” How can I honestly recommend books to someone whom I don’t know what they like to read? I could easily suggest Divergent or Maze Runner, but if you hate dystopian you won’t like those. I could suggest anything by Sarah Dessen or John Green, but if you don’t like reading about the growing pains of young adults you will find their books a snooze. To me, the books I choose to read go well beyond merely a list. There has to be some connection or interest before I will agree to go on a journey with that author.
So please, for all of you book lists creators out there, I beg you, if you insist on making random lists, please at least give an explanation as to why your list includes what it does. You’ll really be doing the rest of us a favor.
Tagged: Readers Writers Workshop