Day B of the 2013 Blogging from A to Z April challenge. Today’s topic: Best, as in, trying to determine how and if something is the best – best song, best book, best ice cream flavor, etc.
Do you ever have a night where you open someone’s link to a YouTube video, and then click on something recommended, and click on something recommended, and three hours later you’re listening to songs in some northern European language where they reference Don Draper and dance in leotards, watching German industrial horror videos, thinking that yes, Taylor Swift does sound much better with goats, and wondering which Primus CDs to get your dad for his upcoming birthday?
My dad loves music, and because he used to play the bass, I thought he might enjoy a couple Primus CDs for his birthday, since I can’t afford to get him a dishwasher (namely because I hate doing dishes) like I really want to. But which ones?
I turned to Google for an answer, but I couldn’t get anything definitive. Some lists were based on sales; others on the listmaker’s opinion, and some on a vote limited to just a few chosen or self-selected fans and critics. Some gave reasons (great bass playing, crappy lyrics), and some just proclaimed their choice as infallible law.
Books are the same way. What makes one the best?
Sales? 50 Shades of Gray sold a kajillion copies, and we all know the writing is barely proficient.
Endurance? Moby Dick is a classic that won’t die, but trying to read it puts me to sleep.
Lists? It depends who’s putting it together. Is it literary critics who automatically disdain anything commercial? Is it a specific demographic who’ll therefore lean towards a specific genre, plot device, or setting?
What criteria would you use to pick the best book? Using your criteria, what do you think the best fiction book is, and why?