Book lists are one of my favourite things. I keep lists of books I’ve read and want to read. I check lists to see what is new. How smug I feel when I discover I’ve read one of the books on the Macleans Bestseller list! The Globe and Mail produces a bestseller list and so does the New York Times. Book clubs have lists of what they have read and will be reading throughout the year. A daunting task for them is producing the list for next year! What should be on it and how will we decide? People keep lists of recommendations other people have made to accompany them to the library or the bookstore. This is exciting stuff for book lovers! 🙂
Right now there are people taking a quiz called the BBC Book List Challenge to see how many books out of a hundred they have read. If you want to participate you can get involved on facebook or just google it to find the list. It all started with a Big Read book campaign in the UK in 2003 and seems to still surface once a year or so. I only scored 35/100. 😦
Our family has this book at home and we all initial books we have read. Whenever one of us is in the family home, we pick it up and see if we can add an entry. Some of us even read intentionally to be able to get closer to 1001 – a striking reminder of our mortality and how hard it is to keep up with all the books we want to read. In our house it’s right next to the other bucket list book: “1000 Places to See Before You Die”. We can’t do it all folks! We have to make choices and not be bothered by what we don’t get to!
What intrigues me the most is who makes these lists and how are the choices made? Should we be letting other people decide what is important to read?Should it be the old classics or the latest and greatest? These are rhetorical questions, we won’t get an answer. But here’s a interesting one where we do know who made the list and why. Every two weeks since 2007, Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi, has sent Stephen Harper a book with a letter. The books are short because Steve’s a busy guy but they are meant to edify the leader of our country and “expand his stillness”. Check out the website. Click on a book in the list and you can read Martel’s letter and any response he’s gotten from the PM. Not many if any! 🙂