Saturday, May 11, 2013

Reaction - Best Book of the Decade: 1900-1909

Okay, this is a beginning of a new series of blog posts for me. There is a feature on where you can make lists of what you think are the best books in certain genres. I've been perusing these lists and picking my personal favorites out of each list made, and some of the results I am just a little surprised by what is one there. So! - I am writing down the reaction I have for the ones voters number one by readers and giving you my two cents as to why its' there or what should be there instead. Anyway, it should be fun.

Today, I am reviewing the list : Best Books of the Decade 1900. That means all the books on this list were first published between the years 1900 through 1909.

They picked : Anne of Green Gables

My reaction --- What? Okay, I have never personally read any of these books; although they have been long on my to-read list since I'm an assistant out at the youth desk. I'm just not sure how out of everything that this book is competing against why this one won. Yeah, it's a growing-up story and we tend to be very fond of those ... see other growing-up classics : Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Little Women, David Copperfield, etc. But why does this one take the cake? I have no idea. I think the only reason it is on the top of the list at all is because people have fuzzy warm feelings when they think about it. The same fuzzy feeling I get whenever I read something like The Poky Little Puppy. It's not ohmygoshthebestbookintheworld but it's one from my childhood that I remember reading and liking and reading with my parents, etc. Sure, it brings back good memories for a lot of people, but that doesn't make it the best in my opinion.

I pick... The Jungle

Why this one? ---  If you notice, I didn't rate this book very highly. I don't like the novel itself, but I do love, and I'm sure you all will once I'm through, the huge public outcry this book made about the food-processing industry - in particular, meat. While the book was really supposed to enlighten folks about the horrid working conditions of the poor immigrants that worked in these meat-packing plants, everyone became enraged and disgusted about the process and neglect in the meat-processing as it was. We're talking about vermin and feces commonly mixing with meat and inhumane butchering of animals. All sorts of health code violations. In fact, this book is one of the reasons that the health code exists at all. People were so alarmed by these things that end up in their meat that it sparked a revolution in America's food industry. While the conditions that the immigrants were working in were certainly cleaning, they remained just as miserable and hazardous. To think that the book made such an impact makes me have to, despite the fact I don't like a lot about it, give it the Swick Award for Best Book of 1900 Decade.

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