Best literature ever written?

For the Mainstream/Lit workshop, and writing of same in general.
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Best literature ever written?

Postby crit24694ab » Tue Oct 05, 2010 12:31 am

Just testing the new forum here, but for the obligatory on-topic content :) here's a topic... I have a reader's poll going over at http://critters.org/bestpoll for people to vote on the absolute best stuff ever written. Take a look, and I'm curious to know, what do you think about the results? Are the best-ever top vote-getters the best ever? Vote there, but discuss here...
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Re: Best literature ever written?

Postby crit24423 » Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:07 pm

I always have trouble giving linear scores to complex items. When someone asks about my favorite book or movie or even food, I always draw a blank--not because I don't have preferences, but because I evaluate such things on several different axes, and that makes the question of "favorite" seem meaningless to me.

Judging from how other people react when I tell them this, I realize mine is a minority opinion. :-)

--Greg (Also trying to help test the forum)
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Re: Best literature ever written?

Postby crit1 » Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:16 pm

I know what you mean about linear ratings, though there is a little more complexity in the poll since one is doing relative preferences of each book against the others. I imagine if like you're sorting your bookshelves, and placing #1 favorites on the shelf labeled "10", then when it's full the next most favorite go on shelf "9", least favorites and, er, dogs, go on shelf 1, etc. One needn't rank one favorite higher than the other, just ahead of ones you know you don't think are quite as good (for whatever inexplicable reason). :)

Sort of like saying, if I was going to read these again, which would I read first, second, third, etc... which would I consider selling as used... which ones should never have been published. :)
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Re: Best literature ever written?

Postby crit24810 » Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:05 am

I doubt I could ever come up with a definitive list of 'faves'. My favourites depend entirely on my state of mind and that changes from moment to moment.

also testing.
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Re: Best literature ever written?

Postby crit24810 » Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:08 am

That's odd my identifier has me as Manda Benson, who she?......................................
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Re: Best literature ever written?

Postby aburt » Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:38 pm

crit24810 wrote:That's odd my identifier has me as Manda Benson, who she?......................................


That sure looks like a bug! I'll look into why it pulled a wrong name. Weird.

Meanwhile, you can change the name in the User Control Panel link up top, in the Profile tab. Here, I'll try putting in a direct link to the page: http://newnewforum.com/ucp.php?i=164
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Re: Best literature ever written?

Postby crit24717 » Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:24 pm

the Manda Benson thing happened to me too...
--Bree Mcpherson

"Too much sun makes a desert, or so the Arabs say." -- Vincent
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Re: Best literature ever written?

Postby aburt » Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:58 pm

Yeah, I think I found why it was doing that. Fixed that bug, but it only applies to people signing up after I fixed it. Anyway, it's easy to fix one's name to be whatever if you don't like being Manda. :) :)
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Re: Best literature ever written?

Postby crit24449 » Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:41 pm

I agree that the whole ranking system thing can seem a bit artificial, but for the sake of being contrary I'm going to say that it isn't all bad.
It is is simple, since not too much thought is needed to grade a book (so long as you've read more than one book in your life :D ). This is both a strong point and a negative one. Anyone can express their views in it, which is good and bad depending on how inclusive and friendly you feel like being on a particular day.

It might be possible to construct a more complex survey with multiple lines of enquiry. You could have a poll asking which books have the most creative background, show the most ingenious use of language, contain the most interesting and versatile characters, have the most engaging conflicts, the most insightful observations about people... you get the idea.
It would be a bit complicated, although it could be done. Some people might be turned off by the length of time it took to fill out the form but that would be the cost of business.

Of course going to an extreme some people don't like quantifying anything, especially creative works; to which I would admit that surveys are only rude approximations - but they are the best we'll get.
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Re: Best literature ever written?

Postby crit4889 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:46 pm

I could probably give a list of top five movies I've ever seen. Not books. Partly because I've read entirely too many books. Plus they can be good in different ways, in part depending on the age of the reader. If I were recommending a book to a fifteen year old, I'd suggest Catcher in the Rye. Not to a 30 year old. When I was 15, I tried reading V. Woolf. Bored. Picked up To The Lighthouse when I was 30 and couldn't put it down.
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