June 24, 2008

I always thought I might end up with a website some day, rather than a blog, if only for the reason that I keep having the sorts of ideas that can only be implemented on the internet.  For instance, I can imagine a complete personality profiler made up of answers to either-or questions:  Miracle Whip or Mayonnaise?  Sandals with socks, or sandals without socks?  Serif or sans serif?  I know there are quiz sites but I was imaging something more lengthy and random.

I was also telling my husband I could work out a social site that matches up likely conversation partners according to a list each person submits of their 100 favorite books.  My husband replied that most people don’t have 100 favorite books, even people who like to read.  This is true; people differ in their reasons for reading, their levels of choosiness, and their willingness to consider (or admit) that a book is a “favorite.”  So I would change that to a list of 100 Most Enjoyed Reads.  The situation surrounding the reading of the book can tinge your enjoyment, and that would add an interesting wild card to the matching.  It would also make the lists more likely to include obscure books.

Obviously, the built-in first factor of compatibility would be that everyone using the site was the kind of booky person who believes they would have more in common with a stranger on the internet who can rattle off their 100 favorite books than, say, a hipster stagily reading a copy of Man and Superman at the local coffee shop.

So I got curious.  Do I have 100 Most Enjoyed Reads?  I am list-maker by nature, so I keep a lot of lists of authors I want to remember or recommend to other people, but I have never just tried to make a list of books I loved reading.

Once I started, I realized I needed more parameters.  Further rules for the 100 Most-Enjoyed Reads:  1) Only one book per author.  So, if there is an author you really love, just pick out either your favorite book by that author, or a good specimen of enjoyability.  2)You think you would still enjoy the book if you read it again.  For myself I added: 3) Only fiction and memoirs.

The results were a little embarrassing.  I read more widely than my list suggests.  Apparently, the books I enjoy most intensely tend to be fantasies or speculative fiction or novels marketed for young adults (I do not apologize!).  Not much science fiction made the list, although I do read it.  Neither did much contemporary literary fiction for adults; most of which is in my head and right out again because it feels very flash-in-the-panny.  I tend to get bored with the protagonists’ banal struggles and, well, contemporaneity.  Or, in the case of historical characters, their anachronisms.  I read contemporary literary fiction the way I would watch TV if I watched TV.

We do watch plenty of DVDs though, and . . . *whisper* anime.  (There!  Now I’ve done it!  The most stigmatic genre-admission of them all!)

If you want to see my book list, click right over there to the side.  I’ve added it as a separate page.


7 Responses to “Booky”

  1. Cally Says:

    Wow, 100 is a pretty long list – I’m not sure I would have the stamina to think it through! Several years ago I saw a “100 greatest books of the 20th century” or something like that at the New York Public Library. I remember being disappointed that they hadn’t included Cry, the Beloved Country, so I guess that would have to be one of mine.

  2. Barb Fessler Says:

    I don’t know about 100 most enjoyable reads. My most enjoyable read is the book I’m reading or listening to at the time. Good think question.

  3. Suzan Says:

    Light or dark chocolate? “natural” or punky colored hair? Nose piercing or no? red or white wine? This could have promise, Trapunto.

  4. trapunto Says:

    Good ones, Suzan!

    If I were making a “Greatest Books I’ve Read” list, Cry the Beloved Country would be on it. Unfortunately it doesn’t go on my Most Enjoyed Reads because I read it for a college course. It also happened to be the vociferously-praised favorite book of Someone Difficult I Knew. Just think how many people have had The Scarlet Letter spoiled for them by having to read it in High School (in the U.S. anyway).

  5. Wow, I never thought of making a list of my top 100. I used to keep a journal, with ratings, of all the books I read, but that ended around the time my son was born. I love a lot of the titles on your list — I didn’t know Dodie Smith’s “I Capture the Castle” was a book — I loved the movie. And, of course, my favourite Austen is P&P — where did you think my Lizzy came from?!

  6. Cally Says:

    Ah yes, the school effect. Over here we were recently treated to a BBC dramatisation of “Lark Rise to Candleford” but, much as I love a costume drama, I couldn’t bear to watch it. At 14 it was the most BORING thing I had ever been forced to read. It’s lucky for me that C the BC wasn’t on the curriculum or the captivating prose would have captivated me for entirely the wrong reasons.

  7. trapunto Says:

    I keep a book journal too! In the last several years it has turned into a list of titles and dates. I leave a blank page underneath each entry so I can go back and add my notes later, but I very rarely do. Now there’s such a back log, I’m afraid I’m just wasting paper. There is a funny part in Daphne DuMarier’s autobiography where she describes the book list she kept in her teens, shaking her head over her lackadaisical teenaged assessments of the classics. For one of the Bronte novels, she had written simply “a pretty story.” (I believe that was the phrase.)

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