Saturday, July 18, 2009

Best of Blog Blackout Excuses

Whoopsies. I had such a good stream going there.

I'll tell you what got in the way. Here's the culprit: Lists of Bests.

If you sign up for a free, spamless account, you can keep track of all the Great Books you've read, the movies you've seen, and the music you've heard. You can even create as many of your own checklists as you please.

I'm right up there with most of the planet in objecting to the "authoritative" best-of lists of world literature, since somehow it seems to be only WASPy men writing originally in English who dominate every single one of those lists.

But come on. Objections aside, who out there doesn't adore a little checklist action now and again? All you Ravelry fanatics?

It just so happened, however, that a sudden wave of reading lust overcame me when I learned that I've only consumed 26 percent of the MLA's 30 Books Every Adult Should Read Before They Die list (note the ungrammatical heading, can you spot the error?) and 15 percent of Penguin Classic's 101 Best Books Ever Written list. So I tore through Pride and Prejudice, finally finished Alan Moore's Watchmen, and have just begun Zadie Smith's White Teeth. Not a lot of knitting going on.

I did however rebuild my knitter's self-esteem after frogging the attempted triangle. Might just come back to it yet.

Let me know if you go nuts on the best-of lists like I did. I'd love to compare!


Richard Cobbe said...

Re: grammatical "error". If it was good enough for Shakespeare & the King James Bible, it's good enough for us.

Seriously: the "rules" that high school English teachers attempt to inculcate into their students are, at root, arbitrary. A far saner strategy, in my opinion (and that of many linguists), is to look at how language is used by writers who are widely admired for their use of language actually use the language.

So: Shakespeare & the KVJ commit this grammatical "error" all the time. Further detail available at Language Log -- specifically here, here, and here, among other places.

Clumsy Knitter said...

Reading more is a good excuse for putting anything off, in my opinion. :)

Where can we find this MLA list? I found a couple of blog mentions about it, but is it published anywhere online? Thanks!

Elizabeth said...

Follow the first link in the post. It will take you to all the lists.