A New “Best Of” List…

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One of the many book blogs I read mentioned recently that the only thing readers, namely readers that blog about books, love more than a good book is a good book list. I’m of the mind that this is entirely true because we uber-readers tended to have been those children that loved Summer Reading lists in school. Now there’s no one to assign us books to read (unless you’re back in school like MEEEEE!) so we go searching for lists of books, guidance in the overwhelming world that is a bookstore — and when that bookstore is Amazon.com and there are millions of titles, it’s downright scary. Plus, what if you pick up a book that is terrible? You need guidance right? I do anyway. When someone, somewhere, offers a Best Of list, we latch onto it, knowledgable that if we don’t like a book on that list, there are greater forces at work here. For my part at least, I know that there are certain book lists I will pay attention to and some that I will not (Sorry, Stephen King, but I just can’t get behind most of your book recommendations in EW).

 The Millions is one of those sites though that makes me sit up and take notice when they put together a list. This week they launched their “Best Fiction of the Millennium So Far” list, a reaction to the fact that “When The New York Times named ‘The Best Work of American Fiction of the Last 25 Years‘ in 2006, none of the finalists was younger than 69, and the most recent publication date was 1997.” This excites me. As someone who buys and reads new releases by and large over older books — backlist titles if you will — I was supremely thrilled to read a list that focused on the last 10 years of publishing. Of course the ego in me wanted to know how my list would stack up to theirs. Their panel is extensive [Sidenote: I've been reading The Millions for a while now, and just realized that one of their contributors is a girl that I went to college with. Trippy.] and well-informed. Most are authors or book critics and many of them are people I admire greatly. The first five on the list went up today, and they will continue to post five a day this week, until Friday when we get to #1.

The list:

#20: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
#19: American Genius, A Comedy by Lynne Tillman
#18: Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link
#17: The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
#16: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

I’m seriously ashamed, guys. Of these five, I’ve read exactly one: Middlesex. I’ve only ever heard of one other, Gilead.

If I weren’t entrenched in school work and marathon training, I might suggest a new challenge…

Keep checking The Millions site this week for the complete list. I’m sure I’ll be posting about it too :)

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Comments

  1. I looked up the New York Times’ best fiction of 2008 and attempted to read some of those choices. It didn’t go well. I also have only heard of Middlesex and Gilead, none of the other books. Honestly, any title that sounds ‘Old English’ automatically turns me off.

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