Why I Don't Give a Top Ten List of My Favorite Books of the Year

It’s that time of the year when bloggers are faithfully posting their top ten reading lists for the year. Some of my readers have asked me to do the same. I didn’t come through last year and I won’t this year either. I don’t do it for the same reason that I hate giving a star rating on my Amazon reviews (of which I would post more if they didn’t make me do this!): it is entirely subjective.

images-13You wouldn’t expect me to give you a list of my ten favorite friends this year, would you? How could I do that to my friends? Where would I even begin? They are all so beautiful in their own ways. Sure, they have flaws, but I don’t want to start rating them against each other. Each relationship points me to Christ in its own, special way.

And the stars…each time I do this I feel like some creep sizing up a guy and giving him a 7.5. It seems so cheap. And yet authors are at the mercy of the coveted Amazon review like the poor Harvard girls posted on the infamous “Hot or Not” that started Facebook. With the way that the market is changing for books, readers are looking online for their clues on who to date. And bloggers are becoming the online dating services for readers and their books. Authors ask me to post my reviews on Amazon because that rating beefs up their sell. And we know that any Tom, Dick, or Harry could plummet their score by giving their subjective one or two stars. Combat that with the authors who stack the deck with plastic, positive reviews, and you see the need for honest and careful reviews on Amazon.

Which leads me back to my list of favorite books for the year. Who the heck am I? I’m just a housewife living in West Virginia who happens to get a good bit of reading in on the side. People always ask me how I find the time to read so many books, but it really isn’t that many. Think of how many books were published this year. Let me help you. It’s estimated that this year is putting out fifteen million books (with self-publishing now in the picture). I mainly read the narrow genre of reformed theology. Occasionally, I spice things up with some fiction here and there. But even with my modest stack of reads for the year, I can’t bring myself to give you my ten favorites. By what standard do I even pick from? The ones that were the most doctrinally sound? Or the most entertaining, compelling, original? And for some reason, what I would gather for a list of  “don’t bothers” seem to be some of the “hottest” on Amazon.

But I do love recommending books. And I try to share what I read by giving reviews, or maybe offering a reflection that an author led me to think about. You can browse my “Categories” to the right of this page and see a heading for “Book Reviews” and “Reading Reflections”. I try to be fair, respectful, and discerning. Take a gander.

8 Comments

Well, I suppose one could say

Well, I suppose one could say that even blogging may make it seem like I think I'm more important than I am; that's a conversation my husband and I have had frequently. Blogging, by nature, asks people to read. Anyway, I wanted to encourage you! Being asked what your favourite books are is a compliment to you!

And yeah, the whole "just a housewife" thing if a sensitive issue to me. Believe me, it's not easy being a housewife with no kids at home. People think I'm lazy, stupid, or both, despite the fact that I see it as my vocation, still.

Thanks for your kind words,

Thanks for your kind words, guys.

I like your reasoning. You

I like your reasoning. You already commented on the books you read. We could probably sift through them if we wanted. It's not like there are 100.

I could give you the 'ten books I read this year.' Not because I don't read a lot, but because when one of them is Calvin's Institutes and another is a big book about the Institutes, you don't read a whole lot of others. Boy has it been great though.
Jeff

Perfectly put, Luma.

Perfectly put, Luma.

You love Jesus, and you love

You love Jesus, and you love learning how to think about him rightly. That's all I care about. :-)

"You wouldn’t expect me to

"You wouldn’t expect me to give you a list of my ten favorite friends this year, would you?" I rather appreciate why my friends don't make top ten lists of their friends, Aimee. It would pain all those people to perpetually see my name at the top of everyone's list. But enough of my unwarranted narcissistic hubris.

I value your opinion not only on books but your take on theology and family and life and more. This article today gives me even more reason to do so.

Tim

P.S. Speaking of reviews, I am reviewing Keri Wyatt Kent's Deeply Loved today at my place. Hope you can take a look.

Thanks, Kim. I hope I'm not

Thanks, Kim. I hope I'm not offending housewives with the "just". My point was that I don't want to think myself more important than I am. Someone else could have put it "I'm just a reporter, teacher..." I don't want to belittle my role as a housewife, I happen to love the gig, but I am one of many great readers.
You make a good point about influence. That is why I try to be careful in my reviews. And that's another thing that bothers me about the top 10. The ones that don't make the list automatically become rated as not good enough by default. That stinks.

Who the heck are you? You're

Who the heck are you? You're a woman about to have a book published, for one. It kind of comes with the territory, I think, when someone who reads and write and gets noticed, that others want to know what you enjoyed this year. I think you are likely more than "just" a housewife living in West Virginia. We are a world of comparison and competition; having "best reads" is just part of it.

And personally, I think it ought to be illegal to use the adjective "just" in front of the word "housewife."

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