PBS begins a quest this evening to find “America’s Best Loved Novel” with the Great American Read.
The series will look at 100 books with conversations with their ardent fans and scholars. I took a minute to look over the list of the top 100 books and I’ve got to admit I’ve got a couple of exceptions with it (as will most readers, I assume).
I wasn’t honestly expecting one of my favorite books, Lake Wobegon Days, to make the list. And while it’s nice to see Stephen King represented with his tome, The Stand, I’ve always felt like The Shining is a stronger novel. (And it’s also about six-hundred pages shorter).
I will admit I’m perplexed by some of the more recent choices on the list. Look, I’ll admit that Gone Girl was a great read, but I’m not quite sure it’s been around long enough to declare it one of the best 100 books ever written. Sure, it’s ignited new interest in a the unreliable narrator niche, but I’m still not sure it’s one of the best books ever published.
I’m not quite sure how The Twilight Saga or Ready Player One made the list, unless it’s an ardent fan base that voted a lot for them. Look, I fully accept that the Twilight novels aren’t for me, but I did read them a couple of years ago (OK, I listened to the audiobooks) and, quite frankly, I found them to be less than stellar. The first half of Twilight is a good book, but once Bella falls for Edward and she sublimates her entire personality and world to worshiping the sparkly ground he walks on, I lost interest quickly, wanting to reach into the audiobook and smack some sense into her.
And while Ready Player One was fun eight years ago, re-reading it for a book group showed it hadn’t really stood the test of time (at least for this reader).
All that said, I’m curious to watch this series and find out more about all the books. But if the Twilight novels win the best book ever, I may have to call shenanigans on this whole thing.