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text 2018-04-10 19:42
Lists!
Horror: The 100 Best Books - Stephen Jones,Kim Newman
The Top 500 Heavy Metal Albums of All Time - Martin Popoff
The Great Movies - Roger Ebert,Mary Corliss
Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads - David Morrell,Hank Wagner
Fantasy: The 100 Best Books - James Cawthorn,Michael Moorcock,James Cawthorne
Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels: an English-language selection, 1949-1984 - David Pringle

In case you haven't noticed, I'm a bit of a geek. Like many geeks, I love lists; reading them, making them, debating them or flat disagreeing with them, I love it all. As such, I have quite a few books that are, basically, "best of" lists. I love these because they point me at good stuff I haven't experienced yet.

It struck me that there are many different ways to compile such a book, each with it's own benefits and drawbacks. So, here are a few different ways of doing it, with examples.

 

1. Utterly Subjective, Single Author

 

Example: The Great Movies - Roger Ebert,Mary Corliss  The Great Movies - Roger Ebert,Mary Corliss  

 

This style is probably the simplest: You list your favorite examples of a thing and explain why. This is the style I employ on this blog, and the style Ebert employed in his Great Movies series.

 

Benefits: Ease of writing, pleasantness of experience, enthusiasm, easy to organize.

 

Drawbacks: No data to fall back on, personal exposure, not authoritative.

 

You don't have to watch, read, or listen to anything you don't want to, but people can attack you for your opinions (risky in the internet era). Still, it's a lot of fun to just gush about the stuff you love.

 

2. Attempted Objective, Single Author

 

Example: Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels: an English-language selection, 1949-1984 - David Pringle  Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels: an English-language selection, 1949-1984 - David Pringle  

 

Here, the author makes their best stab at an "official" list, compiling examples because of importance, influence, quality, or other criteria based on their own judgement.

 

Benefits: More comprehensive and authoritative, helpful creative/critical exercise.

 

Drawbacks: "Why this one and not...", exposure to works that one finds unpleasant, "important" works that don't hold up.

 

This kind of list is great for the author in two ways: They have to step outside of themselves, and it's a chance to dig into classics they haven't gotten around to (and any purchases are tax-deductible, because it's "research"). Still, they have to slog through some works they don't like, and will still be open to accusations of bias. Hell, they will be biased, no matter how hard they try to avoid it. This will also affect the passion in the writing. And they still don't have concrete data backing them up.

 

3. Subjective Take on Objective Data, Single Author

 

Example: The Top 500 Heavy Metal Albums of All Time - Martin Popoff   The Top 500 Heavy Metal Albums of All Time - Martin Popoff  

 

Gather data from various polls, interviews or other outside sources, compile a ranking, and then express your opinion of the various works, their placement, etc.

 

Benefits: Opportunities for snark, exposure to new works, not having to dredge your own brain.

 

Drawbacks: Frustration, works you may find awful/offensive, disappointment when some of your favorites are low on the list or absent altogether.

 

This one is just too much work for me, although it would be interesting to, say, watch and review every Best Picture winner, in order. Watching Crash again would be a chore, though.

 

4. Utterly subjective, Multi-Author

 

Horror: The 100 Best Books - Stephen Jones,Kim Newman   Horror: The 100 Best Books - Stephen Jones,Kim Newman  

 

Get a bunch of people to talk about their favorite works. What could possibly go wrong?

 

Benefits: Less writing, lots of discoveries, high enthusiasm.

 

Drawbacks: Logistical nightmare, missed deadlines, explaining the concept repeatedly.

 

Now I just need to find 100 people in the field who have enough time to write a piece, make sure there are no double-ups (two people picking the same subject), editing each piece, communicate with various agents/publishers, etc. If you prefer organizing to writing, not a bad choice, but keeping your ducks in a row can be a bear. Plus, there will be classics/"essentials" that no one picks, but you can blame your contributors for that.

 

5. Attempted Objective, Multi-Author

 

Fantasy: The 100 Best Books - James Cawthorn,Michael Moorcock,James Cawthorne   Fantasy: The 100 Best Books - James Cawthorn,Michael Moorcock,James Cawthorne  

 

You and a cohort come up with a list of classics, then divide and conquer.

 

Benefits: Lessened workload, interesting conversations, a united front.

 

Drawbacks: Arguments, resentment.

 

Doing an SF list but hate Heinlein? You can have your friend write that piece while you review that Ellison collection. Great, but what happens if one of you has a personal crisis? The other has to step up, leading to a potentially unbalanced workload. And the hashing out of the actual list can be both fun and frustrating, while dealing with each other's criticism of your writing styles just might suck. Just kidding, it'll be fine!

 

6. Subjective Takes on Objective Data, Multi-Author

 

Example: Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads - David Morrell,Hank Wagner   Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads - David Morrell,Hank Wagner  

 

Gather the pertinent data to compile a list, then get other people in the field to discuss their favorites from said list.

 

Benefits: Enthusiasm, less writing, hard data.

 

Drawbacks: Logistical issues, unpicked subjects.

 

Here, you have the same issues as #4, except you're backed up by data. But what if nobody really wants to write about something on the list? That falls to you, and can lead to some entries having all the verve of a high school book report.

 

 

Anyway, thanks for reading this list about books of lists.

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photo 2017-12-14 14:04
SYMBIOTE: Coming December 25th

Symbiote: Book #2 of The Peradon Fantasy Series
is due for release on December 25th.


 

To save the one you love, be prepared to risk it all. Five years have passed since the fateful day that led to her husband’s demise. Violetta prays that her daughter never learns the truth, but that’s not the only thing she hopes never rises to the surface. With a mysterious storm blanketing Peradon, Violetta, Lord Jork, and Xyhoni set out to uncover its source.

The last thing they expected was for her young daughter to vanish. As troubling rumours swell, Violetta reaches her wits end. Now she must journey through the four realms to find answers and recover her daughter before it’s too late.


Be sure to pop in at our launch event (online- Facebook) on December 23rd,

from 10 am to 5 pm GMT.

 

Symbiote Facebook Launch Party (Dec 23rd.)


A
lso, be sure to check out our fantastic giveaway below:
Symbiote Official Bookish Giveaway

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review 2016-05-22 01:06
The Handmaid's Tale
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

I enjoyed this quite a bit, though I'm not sure I found it quite as revolutionary as it has been painted. Much of this is probably that it is a modern classic--I'm sure ideas from this have trickled down as time went on, and we are looking at a 30-year-old book. Despite that, it has aged well and is absolutely worth the read.

 

Part of the reason this works so well, given the plotline is really quite basic, is the way the information is presented. We get bits and pieces of things as we go along, all filtered through our narrator Offred, who does not always know herself what is true and what false, who to trust and who is lying.

 

I admit I have a huge soft spot for books where I have to piece things together. I require them to be done well (If I get the idea the author doesn't know where things are going, I'm out), but provided they are, I'm absolutely hooked.

 

I've always felt that with dystopian novels, you have to make allowances to accept the society, and this is no different. If you go into this with the mindset that how this society managed to form and evolve is going to be clearly explained and seem to rationally follow the state of the world...well, either you're going to be upset here, or you are a very glass-half-empty kind of person. I fully admit I don't buy the premise as something that really could ever happen (too fundamentalist-religious in some places, nowhere near fundamentalist-religious in others, though I also admit to being a glass-half-full person), it's a fascinating thought exercise, and once I had accepted the society, everything flowed smoothly enough from there.

 

This is a dark world, and Atwood does a fantastic job of making you feel Offred's fear and paranoia (is it paranoia when everyone really is out to get you?) throughout. It reminds me a bit of 1984 in that way, honestly; you're quite sure someone is going to crack down eventually and it is not going to be pretty, so you wait with bated breath for it to happen.

 

I'm glad I finally got around to reading this and I'll probably pick it back up again at some point, but this is something that needs to sit for a bit before I'm ready to dive back into it.

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text 2015-10-18 05:49
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

And down goes book number 3! I'm having a really great day of reading, here. Been reading a bunch of stuff that I've been putting off for absolutely no good reason that I just knew I would love. I was totally right. :) 

 

How is everyone else doing on their reading road (reading rainbow? Is that too ridiculous sounding?)?

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photo 2015-07-05 20:24
Come see the cover designed by J. M. Rising Horse Creations

 Cover reveal for The Reluctant Sacrifice is on July 31. Don't miss it. 

 

 

‪#‎indieauthor‬‪#‎reluctantsacrifice‬ ‪#‎kdempster‬ ‪#‎coversthatrock‬

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