Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A New Book List!

You KNOW I love a good book list! I've posted about this here and here. As a librarian who trained before computers took over the universe (Gosh! that makes me sound REALLY old!) I learned to love bibliographies (i.e. book lists) as much as a reader's guide as for their research value. Today I stumbled upon a list new to me: The American Library Association's Young Adult division's reading list for the College Bound. "Yawn," you say? "Been there, done that," you say? Not so fast!! This is not your high school Literature teacher's lists of classics. This is a list designed to expose the college bound to a new world:

"The books on this list offer opportunities to discover new ideas, and provide an introduction to the fascinating variety of subjects within an academic discipline. Readers will gain an understanding of our diverse world and build a foundation to deepen their response to that world." (website)

I must say it is without doubt the most politically correct list I've yet encountered (not that there's anything wrong with that, you understand). I went thru the different sections of the list to "grade" myself on how aware I am of what's considered good to be exposed to today before going off to college. I got a high D. Here are the one's I've read--only one of those I read in college and frankly I was STUNNED to see it receive spot on any list, let alone this one!

Here are the books I've read from this list in the order they appeared in the list:

The Red Tent
Year of Living Biblically
Annotated Mona Lisa (I have not read EVERY page of this--yet)
(Complete Perespolis)
Maus: A Survivor's Tale
(Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-time)
Rosencrantz and Gildenstern are Dead (the one from college)
What Color is Your Parachute (admittedly I read the 1983 version)
Three Cups of Tea
The Glass Castle

That's a very short list! The Secret Life of Bees and The Book Thief have been on my to-read list for a while. They also mention the Kite Runner, which I have not read, but I have read the author's Thousand Splendid Skies so I felt a little better about myself! NOTE: titles in ( ) are ones I gave up on.

This got me thinking--what books would I want to add to that list? In creating MY list I ignored those classics that make it on every such list and focused on books public since 1990. To make it more challenging I only picked books I've read cover-to-cover. Here goes! (I've used the categories the original list uses--as best I could since they overlap a bit here and there).

Arts & Humanities

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Ann Lammott

History & Cultures

Havana Real by Yoani Sanches

Nothing To Envy: Ordinary Life in North Korea by Barbara Demick

Village of Waiting by George Packer

Literature & Language Arts

Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Wingshooters by Nina Revoyr

Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Science & Technology

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology by Eric Brende

Fruitless Fall: Collapse of the Honeybee.... by Rowan Jacobson

Social Sciences

Columbine by Dave Cullen

Horse Boy by Rupert Isaacson

Life on the Color Line by Gregory Howard Williams

Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose

I doubt this list is complete and I may repost it as I recall other titles that should be there. It is interesting to note that I found myself drawn only to titles that would fit within todays PC rubric. Self-censorship is often unconscious.

[Note: I am not a member of the American Library Association simply because it deals more with public libraries and with school libraries. I am a past member and state officer in The Special Libraries Association and am currently involved in a faith-based librarians association that is relevant to my current job.]


dstb said...

Okay, here is what I have read:
The Red Tent (just this summer)
Water for Elephants
The Worst Hard Time
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Kite Runner
Secret Life of Bees
The Book Thief
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Tuesdays with Morrie
Three Cups of Tea

The Devil in the White City - in my TBR pile.

New Found Land - We were supposed to read this in the kids book group 2 years ago, but the group decided not to after all. I recently donated my copy. Figures.

I don't think I have read The Tipping Point yet, but I have read Outliers.

Hungry Planet - fascinating book that I am using with my son in our geography study. We are also using Material World. Highly recommend both.

Colleges That Change Lives - on TBR pile

BTW, I count my TBR pile as anything I currently own plus anything I have out from the library, so it is quite a BIG pile!

This list is intriguing. Thanks for sharing it. I was looking at the list of books I have read this year to see if there were any I would add, but many were written more than 20 years ago.

I did enjoy the book "Life is So Good" about a black man from east Texas who learns to read at the age of 98! His story of growing up in that area is very interesting.

I'll have to share the list with my oldest. He's a voracious reader, but is mostly interested in fantasy.


Leonie said...

It does seen a very, well, modern list. I've read some and definitely feel they should be on the list. Others I wonder at the inclusion. And at the exclusion of some more enduring classics.

dstb said...

I looked at the older lists from 1999 and 2004 and they definitely seemed to have more classics. Some of the books from the older lists are carried over on to the latest one, but many are dropped.


Hopewell said...

"Life is so Good" sounds like something I should read and I have seen the Geography book and did find it interesting, just haven't read it. Thanks for your list! I love to see what others have read and get new insights into books I may have thought I could/should skip.