Thursday, March 01, 2007

World Books?

Do you know, I'd really rather not talk about this:

The World Book Day poll for the ten books the world could not do without.

Anyone familiar with this blog will know that the Bitch hates lists, that they bore her stiff and that she has a constitutional aversion, rooted no doubt in ancestral trauma (those peasants, servants and slaves still floating about in her genes, those relatives who failed the eleven-plus), of anything which smacks of EXCLUSIVITY or COMPETITION, or choices made by any select few, most especially a self-selected few.

And she's sick of saying these things, but guesses they need to go on being said:

I'm all for schemes and ploys which draw attention to books, but I would venture that polls like this may even be counterproductive: they do nothing to encourage a spirit of inquiry about books and to broaden the canon. Time is the best critic, said Martin Amis earlier this week, and the Guardian suggests today that this list proves it. But look at all those childhood favourites and school staples turning up on the longer list, and 'time' turns into 'nostalgia' and a lazy reliance on the status quo. And the 'top-ten' list which emerges is not only the result of this impulse rather than of any true test of literature, but offers a closed conclusion, a tiny section of the spectrum of literature, beyond which, it could be implied, we need not look, because it is the definitive best.
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