Thursday, December 23, 2010

I DREAD END OF THE YEAR LISTS

Mom and Dad, circa 1950.


I know everyone likes to make them and the Internet has made it worse, but I dread end of the year best lists. Anyone else feel the same way? It's like asking a mother who her favorite child is. And when it was just a few newspapers doing it, it wasn't so bad. Now writers, movie makers, etc can see their book or film or whatever overlooked a kajillion times by anyone with a blog if they search it out.
I guess I will always like games where everyone wins.

18 comments:

David Cranmer said...

I like reading them but I don't enjoy creating them (for the reason you mentioned). And I've been asked to do a couple and agreed. Sigh.

Jerry House said...

Patti, can you give us a list of lists to avoid? Or does that just defeat the purpose?

Charlieopera said...

I'm doing one for my blog today/tomorrow ... they're as subjective as any "award" ... not to be taken too seriously for sure ... and who the hell can remember back to January of last year? Not me.

Hopefully I make a few people feel good with mine and I don't offend those I forget ... and I'm sure I'll forget something I enjoyed over the last year.

But before I forget ... have a great Christmas/holiday season and, of course ...

Go Lions!
Go Bills!

K. A. Laity said...

I hate hate hate them! They seldom mean anything other than what one can recall off the top of their head in time for a deadline and skew toward the more recent rather than the actual "best" -- and too often comparing apples and oranges. Worse, they just feed into critics well-known biases, so there's seldom any surprises (Jonathan Franzen topping NYTimes lists?! Shock!).

It's lazy journalism, making lists and regurgitating previously written material (she says from personal experience) when the holidays beckon.

Anonymous said...

I like reading them. With books I'm often shaking my head, thinking, "What are these? How come I've never even heard of half this list? Am I that out of the loop (certainly possible) or is the person making the list just trying to be pretentious?"

And if the person is naming authors (I won't be specific here) that I wouldn't read if you paid me I can dismiss him/her as without taste and move on. And if the person has 2-3 titles that really srike a chord with me I'll be more likely to pay attention to the rest of the list for future reading.

With movies there is probably a better chance I'll have an opinion even if I haven't seen it yet. I'm probably more likely to know the reviewer's taste and whether or not we're in agreement. If it's a guy who likes to see his name in ads (CATS & DOGS 7 - "one of the best movies of the year!") I wonder, how does he narrow it down to a 10 best when every movie is a rave?

Jeff M.

PS - Yes, it's tough (usually) to make 10 best (or 10 favorite) lists but I think it's good in that it makes you look back at what you've read this year and which books really stand out, in your mind.

Anonymous said...

Patti - I know exactly what you mean! If you want, though, I could list the best lists of 2010 - just kidding ;-).

Dan Fleming said...

I'll be doing some year end lists, but I refuse to rank them. I know what I like, but choosing the best is purely subjective.

Charles Gramlich said...

I don't mind 'em, although they are kind of out of hand these days.

I'm reading Discount NOir now.

Fleur Bradley: said...

I'm finding everything in December winds up overdone: lists, food, commercials, shopping. I may sound like Scrooge, but January will be a bit of a relief.

sandra seamans said...

I love year end lists. I think of them as a celebration of the good things that we've read or done in the last year and I like reading the lists to see what I missed. and since everyone has different tastes, there's always something new to find.

Richard R. said...

I have no problem with them, though I don't read many, and half of those I disregard after seeing what's on them. They are certainly not a guide to what I will read, see, eat, do or want.

Rob Kitchin said...

I don't think it's like asking a mother to say which child is their favourite. None of the books I'll do in my list was my creation, so I have no vested interested in satisfying everyone. I feel if I've read them and reviewed them, that it's no great shakes to create a top ten of my reads for the year. Sure it's subjective, but so what? I'm afraid we all like some things more than others, and we all express opinions, so why not which books you liked best in the year? I do like these lists and I've bought some great books based on the recommendations of people who comment here and on other blogs, and no doubt I've avoided some howlers as well. Does it hurt the authors not on the lists - probably not as we all know only a few get on them; does it help the authors on them - no doubt to a small degree, and depending on the list and circulation perhaps more so. Now if we're doing our worst books of the year, that's a different kettle of fish.

Ron Scheer said...

I'm not interested in best-of lists, but I do like knowing what blog friends (and other writers especially) remember from the past year. I will try a book that someone I know liked, even if it's way outside my usual interests. It adds to the pleasure of reading the book and helps me feel that I know that person a little better.

Despite the forewarning, Patti, I'll be putting up some top-10 lists of my own next week. They are books and films, recent and old, that I read/saw for the first time this year and want to acknowledge.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I wish I could share most of your sentiments that such lists help writers. I am going to work on seeing it like that.

Todd Mason said...

I don't take them very seriously, as indicated no doubt by my ranking of all the films I saw in a theater this year (so far) in the comments section of my recent blog post about a sizable chunk of them (I splurged about three weeks ago and saw three in eight days. Fantasies of luxury, that this should happen regularly).

Far less pernicious, such lists, than such ceremonial awards as the Oscars or the National Book Award or the Pulitzer, which folks try to pretend are very meaningful and thus often have significant commercial significance. If someone manages to recommend something someone hasn't read/seen/heard before, and it turns out to be valuable, more power to us all.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I've never felt the need to do them, and now that I have no memory cells left I can't. So, no problem. I do keep a yearly reading list, but I don't pick out any favorites.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

I hate them and won't do them.

kathy d. said...

I like reading other people's "Best of" lists, but would not want to write my own list.

If I see books on several lists, or on the websites of blogs which I frequent and like, I'll note down a few for the TBR list.

Have gotten several good book ideas this way. I use the library mostly, so if I don't like a book, I just return it...nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say.