The end of another year brings the usual frothy and arbitrary accounting of the “best” this and the “most” that. But might it also be an opportunity to look back, reflect, and share? We hope so, and so, for a seventh year, The Millions has reached out to some of our favorite writers, thinkers, and readers to name, from all the books they read this year, the one(s) that meant the most to them, regardless of publication date. Grouped together, these ruminations, cheers, squibs, and essays will be a chronicle of reading and good books from every era. We hope you find in them seeds that will help make your year in reading in 2011 a fruitful one.I love this idea. They have asked interesting people to reflect upon their year and pick the book they read which most inspired them. This is so much more interesting than talking about the best book they read. Without a forced publication date requirement, the past years' projects are also worth a look. You use the same link to read the past five years of lists too.
As a readers' advisor, I am constantly trying to get to the heart of why my patrons are drawn to certain books. This is a very hard notion to articulate to the librarian, and, even if the patron can express this deeper appeal, it is also tricky to match it with a similar book. You cannot find a patron's personal appeal on the book jacket.
This is exactly why I spend 4 full weeks at the beginning of each semester working with the students on these issues. A new semester will begin in 6 weeks and I will have a lot more to say about this issue then, but for now, I am going to enjoy these "Year in Reading" lists. I think I will also try to find a way to incorporate them into my Spring 2011 class.
By the way, I will have my year end list of the best books I read in 2010 in the week between Christmas and New Year's, but I may also consider doing a separate post similar to the ones The Millions is running. The idea is intriguing. I wonder what book I will pick as the single title which meant the most to me in 2010?