professornana (professornana) wrote,

making lists and checking them twice (or more)

You know how I feel about lists. I make To-Do Lists that I then convert to Ta-Da Lists as I check items off. I need lists to help me stay focused on the job(s) ahead. But for the past few weeks, my lists have devolved into lists of questions for the doctors and nurses and lists of test results. When I get a burst of energy, though, I take a look at the lists I see offered on Facebook such as this one which proclaims to be the 30 best young adult books of all time:

I will admit that, in the pst, my colleagues and I would conduct this type of mental exercise about best books lists. I have tended over the past years, though, to simply keep lists of the books I have read. One reason for this is the idea that I cannot always know the book which will become the gateway book for a reader or the book that might open a new world of reading for another student or the perfect book that changes a reader's world. That does it mean I cannot delineate a literary marvel from the stacks of books I read. However, trying to come up with a best books of all time list seems almost an impossible task.

To be sure, I have read all 30 books on this list. They are all wonderful stories. Many appear on my required reading list for YA literature courses. However, there are still some quibbles I have with the books. A few of the titles are, technically, not YA. Some were published for adults (House on Mango Street) and quite a few for children. The list is heavy with newer books. I prefer lists that chronicle the history of YA a bit more.

What I do like about this list is that it is more representative of the forms and formats beyond the usual. Plus I appreciate the inclusion of diverse books as well.

Are there titles missing for me? Yep. THE CHOCOLATE WAR has been on my required list for 25+ years now. I doubt I will ever drop it. I also wonder about the absence of Chris Crutcher and Francesca Lia Block whose books changed the course of the YA novel in significant ways. Of course, limiting the list to 30 means there are some tough choices. I would find it difficult to even do a top 100 list without second guessing myself tie after time.

So, I will keep on keepings lists of books read. I will consult lists of others to make sure I am not overlooking the next great book. And I will continue to have the discussion with others about books they loved and I did not. As I have said so many times, there is not such thing as a one0size-fits-all book or even a book list that could accommodate the needs and preferences of all readers.

Next on my To-Do List: a nap. That will be a lovely Ta-Da for today.
Tags: lists
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