I like lists a lot. Although I think it might have to do with my need to be in control of my life, there is nothing more satisfying than creating categories and subcategories. As New Years approaches and the end of the first decade of the 21st century, there have been more lists than usual. My friend Andrea listed her Top 22 Songs of 2009 (I highly recommend you take a look – she always does her musical research) and 3hive has their Top 9, where they gave a bunch of musicians free reign to list music or the best Norwegian food or whatever they felt like posting. There have been lists of the best financial articles and the best food trends of the year.
I usually gravitate to the book lists first. There also have been the usual annuals, like Slate’s Best Books of 2009. Then there have been lists like The 10 Essential Penguin Classics which incite us to actually cross those items off our lists.
As any good English major, I have a list of classics I should read and haven’t (another reason why I’m still battling my way through Portrait of a Lady – since it was written in serial form, I feel like I’m already ahead of any reader who might have had to wait for its daily (?) installments). But Penguin’s list seems like it’s a better marketing scheme than anything else. I don’t think anyone buys a Penguin Classic unless it is for a class, or they have a strange literary prowess, and actually know what the difference is between each publisher. Oxford Press, Cambridge Press, Harvard Press, they’re all sooo academic. But to be fair, after seeing the Penguin Challenge, I was slightly upset. There are several books on their list of the top 10 that I don’t think should be there – like John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. And who chose Thoreau over Emerson?
So in honor of all of this, I have decided I need some lists. In fact, I think that’s the only reason I have a blog at all.