So let's wander over to Just One More Page and see what interesting question Rebecca has for us this 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.
Oh, this may take some thought...
I admit I like these "Best Books" lists. I don't always agree with them, but I still like them. I think they make for some interesting discussion. Now I must also admit, if the Da Vinci Code or the Twilight books or Harry Potter are on the list, I just disregard it. No doubt some fans are raising their voices in protest but come on folks...they may have sold a lot of copies and they may be popular, and they may be fun, but the Best Books of all time...please. Let's be honest, my dear reader. Sometimes we just like to read something that is a little junky or a little trashy or a little mindless, but just because a lot of us did that, does not make it "great".
What makes a book one of the best? Well, it must be well written, it must have great characters, an engaging plot and, maybe most of all, a timeless element. It must be a book that can speak to people today, a hundred years ago and a hundred years from now. It is a book that can speak to us on several levels, that has an element that is addressed to each of us, that we recognize regardless of our race or gender or age or nationality. It is a book that stands the test of time.
But I think perhaps that there is no perfect, objective criteria. In large part, it is a very subjective choice.
But what the hay, I will give it a go. As an aid, I will consider an imaginary scenario. Someone, an All Powerful Figure, comes to me and informs me that I am to be spirited away to some distant place and can take with me only 5 books to read. Those are the only books I will have for the year, so they better be books I will want to read again and again. Now I might be tempted to take very big books, or books I have never read, but that would be a dangerous choice I think. No, I will go with some of what I think are the very best. This is a hard choice and another day I might pick another 5, but The All Powerful Figure will not wait, so here we go.
For this exercise, I will stick to fiction...and I will not included the Bible, although if I only could take one book, that would be it.
- Lord of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien- Long and great. It has it all.
- Death Comes For the Archbishop by Willa Cather- I was tempted by my other Cather fav, My Antonia, but the Bishop Wins out.
- Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh- A classic story of love and family and faith...and some great dysfunctional characters.
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee- Simply a great story, great characters. The image of Gregory Peck in the movie will comfort me too.
- The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer- For something a little different. Another books that has it all..I laughed, I cried...I could read it over and over. And it sounds great read aloud, which may keep me company.
But I am curious what you, my dear readers, might pick.
Any of the 5 you agree with, any you totally hate?