Interesting List

Here’s another interesting top 100 list:

Top 100 books in the UK

This struck me as funny because The DaVinci Code has sold so many copies. Do you know what this MEANS? This means that 5 million people sent Dan Brown a dollar thinking that he would tell them where the treasure is. Oh, he knows where the treasure is. 5 million suckers actually bought that book. 5 million people who don’t know where the library in their town is located, instead went out and bought that dull piece of writing. It promises puzzles (of which you could find better examples in Brian Lumley’s Necroscope, by the way), and it perhaps promises a thrill ride which unfortunately never comes, but instead delivers a textbook-like redundant mention of some mysterious and incoherent earth-nymph. I hope you, dear reader, were not one of those who bought in to the sale of the fool’s gold. Anyway, I shouldn’t hack too heavily on Dan Brown, after all he has carved out a nice niche for himself, reinventing his first novel in different ways. He does write well and has good ideas. I just don’t like his market. I prefer books with either a philosophical theme or an action theme, and his don’t seem to have either of those.

Also on this list are the Harry Potter books, which have sold really well, and for good reason. As those books were written and sold, I was a rabid fan and by the end I was ready to claim J. K. Rolling as a fraud if she didn’t do something with one of her characters. I won’t spoil it for any of you who may not have read the books, but I will tell you that she came through in the end, and I can’t say anything bad about her writing or her books now.

Anyway, check out this list (linked above) for some interesting sales information, rather than one person’s idea of what the best books are.

Reasoning for a 100 best books list

It is obvious that I don’t see things the way others see them, and they don’t see it the way I see it. This is a preferred arrangement anyway. Who wants to be stirred in among the clones? And by clones I mean the majority of so-called “100 best books” lists. Here for example are three that, to my eyes, are identical:

Modern Library’s list (which is actually two lists side by side) shows how people making these lists tend to repeat themselves. If you have eyes at all you’ll be able to notice that in these lists the only major difference is placement; the same books appear in both lists only in alternate numbered slots.

Radcliffe’s Rival 100 (which doesn’t rival nearly as much as it emulates) is on the same website, and so why should I think it would be a different list than the others? Maybe because of how it was presented with the word rival in the title. Oh, well, why be bothered with semantics? Har har.

Goodreads’ Top 100 Winner of the most likely to be a clone award. Nothing new here. Same dull stuff. And this is supposed to be picked by “readers”. Let me tell you something. Come closer, it’s a secret of mine. I want you to know how I detect a faker. Anyone who says they’ve read Moby Dick more than once is lying to you in pure unsolicited deceit. Ah, but the world would be very dull indeed without the liars, wouldn’t it? Living in that world would be like living right inside this Goodreads list. And once again, I should point out that lists like these ought to sell books, not turn people away from them.

And then there’s Amazon’s list. Not too bad really, Amazon set out to define their own 100 and introduced a few new ones, including some “children’s” books. I put children’s in quotes here because no one needs to worry about age definitions as set by the shelving order at the bookstore. Why limit yourself, right? Many readers enjoy YA fiction, and not all of these readers are Young Adults. However, the people at Amazon did their job well and inspired me to collect my own favorites in a list, mainly because I was seeing their bad choices. Example: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas? You can’t read that book and enjoy it unless you are on the same drugs described in the book in the same copious amounts. Also, read the first five paragraphs and you’ve read the whole thing because they are repeated throughout the whole book. You get the picture, and I’m not trying to beat down the whole list (only the bad dogs, I suppose), my intention is instead to say I’ve seen enough of these lame choices in all of the lists to make my own list without the lame choices. Whether I accomplished that or not is surely debatable and I’d be an ingrate if I didn’t share this quote by Greg Zimmerman:

“But, when reasonable minds prevail, these lists are a TON of fun to think about. What makes a great Top 100 list, in my view, is one that includes four criteria: 1) Plenty to agree with. 2) A few wild card picks that make you think, “Ah, yeah, good call, I wouldn’t have thought of that, but yeah!” 3) A few that are sketchy at best, or that you’re reasonably sure you can make an argument against, and 4) A few that make you mad.” ~Greg Zimmerman of Book Riot dot com

I think he’s mostly right with those criteria. His number one is perfectly accurate in my view, and that is why I absolutely had to make my own list, because I could not find that “plenty” with which to agree.