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Monday, April 12, 2010

Musing Mondays (4)

Musing Mondays is a meme hosted by Rebecca at Just One More Page...! Just go to her blog to find her topic of the week.

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about the ‘best’ books'.
There’s been some discussion on my blog this week about what should or shouldn’t make a ‘best' books’ list. What elements do you think lands a book in that ‘best’ category? Think of your top 5 best books and tune in next week to see the collated list.

I don't know if it's just me, but this question is really kind of difficult. I mean, the books that are "best " to me may not be considered the best for someone else.

I run into this all the time when we are given the ALA best books lists and such. I mean, they're great books (most of the time)... but there are times that those books just aren't popular with teens. And we all know that sometimes the most popular things are a bit... smutty. Or not that well written. I'm not going to name any of those for the sake of my sanity.

But I guess my own criteria for "best" books are things like...
* Characters that are believable/people I would like to meet
* The writing is so seamless, you don't even realize you've been sitting there for hours
* Concepts that are really original.

And I think there's a certain feeling that a great book gives you - almost something I'm not sure I can put my finger on. I guess it's those that you finish them and think, "wow. I need to give this to ___ and ___ and ___. They will love it." It's also the books that you don't relish the idea of starting another book after them - because you're still soaking it in. I love that feeling.

Unfortunately, I think my "best" list changes all of the time. Either because my perspective changes... or my definition of great changes... or something like that. So, I'll try to list the ones that I've thought amazing things about recently. I suppose this is why there are best lists every year - so these are my 2009-2010 picks :).

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Weird. Looks like mine are all fantasy/sci fi. Go figure. And I apologize to all those expecting classics - they're just never my favorites. :)


Emidy said...

Interesting choices! For me, the writing style plays a huge part. It can't be too overwhelming, but it has to be effective.

By the way, you've won an award on my blog!

Lori said...

I havent read any of these. It is interesting to see what people think are he best. Some are choosing classics, and other modern epics it kind of neat to see where someones preferrence goes. Me? I couldn't chose, it was like trying to decide what child I like better. Couldn't do it. [Here's Mine].

Christina T said...

I have a hard time sometimes putting into words why I like a book. There are some books like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows or The Hunger Games that are easy to call "best". I like your criteria but for me it is very hard to define what makes a book worthy of the title. Maybe I take into account how I felt about the book as well as the positive reviews it got, almost like I can't trust my own judgment on it. I don't know. I have a hard time. I did make a list of my "best" books of 2009 but it took a long time and it was a long list.

I agree with you about how the "best of" lists are sometimes out of touch with how teens feel. Some of the biggest examples have been the award winners like the Printz award. While librarians were raving about The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing or Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson it is a hard sell to get teens to read books like that. They're more likely to read titles found on the Quick Picks list.

Great post! By the way, happy National Library Workers Day.

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