A customer here at the Gothic recently confessed that she loved this time of year. I assumed her enthusiasm had to do with the impending holidays, but she corrected me:
“It’s because all of the best-of lists are coming out!”
I know what she means. The last couple of weeks have seen the publication of the New York Times’ 10 Best Books List, (as well as its Top 100 List, if you aren’t satisfied with just 10), Three Percent’s Best Translated Novels list, NPR’s compilation of lists from critics and booksellers alike, and Salon.com’s lists of best fiction and nonfiction.
There’s plenty more where that came from. The pop culture blog Largehearted Boy has a terrific list of best-of lists (Not ranked, sadly. I guess that would be too meta.) I can’t get enough of these kinds of things. It doesn’t matter what the category is. I don’t garden, golf, fish, or knit, but I’d read a top-ten list of books in any of those categories, and I’d find it fascinating.
Booksellers, much like the manic record store clerks in Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, are natural list makers. It doesn’t take much to draw us into an argument over which books would make the list of best hard-boiled crime novels (The Big Nowhere, The Underground Man, 1974, Red Harvest, The Long Goodbye) or the best uses of rock and roll in a novel (Perfect Circle, Glimpses, Idoru).
The problem is that we need more categories. We’ve argued all the standards to death. I’m hereby calling on my fellow bloggers (I’m calling you out here, Arthur and Kathy) as well as my co-workers at the Gothic to come up with some new lists for us to waste time debating. We can follow up (read: argue like wild dogs) in future posts.
(Lieutenant Awesome, who is sitting behind me eating Lance Crackers as I type, is yelling out suggestions even now: Best Graduation Books! Best Airplane Reading!)
Here are a few to start us off. As we come up with nominees for these lists, I’ll link to them:
Best Novels Featuring Animals that Talk to Humans
Best Books With Titles of Five or More Words
Best Books Made Into Terrible Movies
Best Time-Travel Books
Best Books (Fiction or Non-Fiction) Featuring 1+ Scenes of Skateboarding
Books Featuring Twins
And, of course: Books of Lists.
Happy List Season, Gothic Shoppers!