It’s my experience that bookish folk tend to be list-makers. Not all, Bookman is definitely not a list-maker in spite of my twenty-three year effort to convert him, but most are. We are driven to it really. We quickly learn that there is no way we can afford to buy all the books we want to read, at least not all at once, so we start making a list. Before you can say Jack Robinson, the list is a mile long and continuing to grow at an exponential rate. Thank goodness for computers and their large storage capacities! It can get really depressing but bookish folk, thankfully, also tend to be rather optimistic. Or maybe it’s just denial. Either way, we keep adding to the list knowing, deep inside, there is no way we will ever be able to read half the books even if we never added another title to it.
Besides making our own lists, there are few things we like more than to read the lists of others. We like to compare, don’t we? You mean, you’ve never read that book? Oh, you have to move it to the top of your list! Or just as likely, that book is on my list too!
Then there are the best of lists. Best novels of the twentieth century. 1001 books to read before you kick the bucket. Neglected books that deserve more attention. Best books in translation. It goes on and on. We get our pencils, we compare, we check off ones we have read and we perpetually come up short. No matter how well read we are there will always be at the very least a few books on the list we have not read. We might go read those few of the best classic scifi books or mysteries or fill in the blank and then the next list comes out and there are different books on it and *gasp* more we have not read! It’s enough to make you completely understand how Sisyphus felt pushing that rock up the hill every gosh darn day.
Well, sharpen your pencil, get your tissues to dry the tears, your aspirin to dull the headache, and the smelling salts to keep you from fainting, because now there is a meta-list of the ten best top 100 book lists. Oh yes, it hurts us Precious, but bookish folk are also gluttons for punishment. Someone could do a dissertation or scholarly article on the masochism of avid readers. Could probably even get a grant for a major study. The line to volunteer to be a subject in that study starts here.