We will be the first to admit that “Best Books” is a way to have our cake and eat it too. On one hand we love books, and anyone who puts time and effort to help bring awareness of them, is fine by us. On the other hand, clickbait is the absolute worst. Somehow a lot of the “Best Of” lists end up looking very similar to all the others.
There is a reason these lists are created the way they are, because they work. We click on them, look at every book mentioned and agree or disagree and then move on to the next.
With our “Best Books” section, we set out to aggregate as many of these sites and lists together as we could and see if we could come up with an ultimate list of books on a subject.
We are very informal about the gathering of information, simply using as many of the top lists we can find when searching in Google (in incognito mode with all search preferences turned off).
There will be sites and articles we will miss for each post, but if we searched through every website and Tumblr blog for every list that existed on a subject, we would never post anything. Instead, we try and aggregate the top lists a regular Joe or Jane might happen across when searching online. Since we do go by Google search, you will see article sources from larger publications as well as personal blogs. We don’t favor one over the other, because in the end they were both probably written by a regular person. The larger publication might have paid for the article, but the personal blog was from someone who cared enough to make that list in their free time with no guaranteed compensation for it. So who’s to say which one is a “better” source.
Unfortunately, websites with good SEO (search engine optimization) and larger audiences will pop up higher in the search field then lesser know websites. This means that pubications like buzzfeed, flavorwire, and bustle will show up on several lists. We do try and find at least 10 article sources for each list, so lesser known sources will mix with larger ones.
Typically we will avoid:
- Goodreads lists
- Book seller sections for books
- Other social channels
- Lists that only cover a single year or author (unless that is the intent)
As for the ranking of each list, we simply give one point to each book or item for every list it appears on. Books that appear in more than one article usually make it on our top book lists where they are ranked by the number of total articles they appear in. The books that appear in only a single article are listed below the top books at the bottom of the page. The article sources are also listed at the top of the page.
These lists aren’t intended to be the end-all authoritative piece on the subjects they cover. In fact, when researching and putting together the lists, we are sometimes surprised by books that aren’t mentioned at all. Most of the time we will leave these omissions be, but if we’ve personally read a book we wish was included we will add an “Editors Pick”.
Like everything else on the internet, these lists will become irrelevant as more books are published. The best possible outcome we can imagine from the creation of these book lists would be for others to see what has already been written about a thousand times and instead dive down deeper to find lesser known books that deserve to be highlighted.