Time has recently released two new top 100 books of all time, one for young adults and one for children’s books. I hate that they’ve got 100 books in a slideshow, and I was able to find the YA books in an alphabetical by author file. Of course, any time you try to claim “the best of all time”, there’s going to be controversy and this list is no exception.
There’s an argument about the lack of diversity, and another about the audience the books is meant for. I found an excellent description of what makes a book a middle grade vs. young adult vs. adult book from the Young Adult Library Services Association:
Currently, young adult literature is defined most often as being written for teenagers from 12-18 years of age. These are often coming-of-age stories, where characters come to an understanding about not only themselves, but their place in the world. They can be dark and gritty, and when appropriate, contain violence and sex. In contrast, middle grade fiction, aimed at readers 8-12, focuses more on character’s relationship with self and family, spend less time on self-reflection, and almost always end on a hopeful note. And of course, young adult fiction differs from adult fiction, not only because the protagonists are teenagers themselves, but the voice and style of the narrative is more immediate, while adult fiction where teenagers are the main characters often have a reflective tone.
Regardless of whether the one hundred books are actually the best of all time is highly debatable, but I like book lists. They show me books I wasn’t aware of that might be worthwhile looking up. I also like to see how many I’ve read (44 of the YA books, and 58 of the children’s books). Perhaps I can get Mr. Curiosity or Miss Adventure to try some of the books on the list they haven’t read. I was reminded that I need to read Miss Adventure The Phantom Tollbooth. I’ll do that after we get done with the Dark is Rising and Anne of Green Gables series we’re currently switching between. So many good books, so little time. Guess I better make sure to read to the kids tonight!