Monday, May 05, 2008

The NBCC's "Good Reads" List for Spring

The NBCC "Good Reads" list for spring is out, and, not surprisingly, people are up in arms. The comments on the NBCC's Critical Mass blog run the gamut from supportive to vitriolic (and really self-righteous). We all know I've been critical of these lists in the past, so I'm sure you're all waiting to hear what I think of the lists (I imagine everyone in the NBCC offices huddled around their computer waiting for the Google Alert to come up), so let's get to it.

The Fiction List features a few "usual suspects," such as Lush Life by Richard Price and Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri, but I was pleased to see the list branching out a little bit. It sent me off in search of a few books I hadn't heard of (including Brian Hall's Fall of Frost and Roxanna Robinson's Cost), and considering I work in an independent bookstore, that's got to be a good sign.

The Non-Fiction List offers fewer surprises, but I think still represents a great selection of books on a variety of topics. There's a memoir, a work of criticism, and a few histories thrown in, as well.

Are these lists perfect? No, of course not, but I would say they show an improvement from the previous efforts, which championed the same three books at the top of consecutive lists. I suppose we'll have to see if the summer list is the same as this one before pronouncing the process fixed, but this is definitely a step forward, regardless of what a few of the commentators think.

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