The Driftless Area Review begins a new feature this week: Top Three. Unlike my long-form essays, these will be short mini-essays of a more personal nature. Over the course of the week, I will be counting down my “Top Three” in various topics. In book reviewing and literary criticism, I was aiming towards an ideal reader or working towards preserving a kind of objective distance from the thing I examined.
With Top Three, my aim is more personal and subjective. This feature will act as a platform to talk about things I like. But is also an opportunity to discuss things you like. Book reviewing and literary criticism maintains an atmosphere of intellectualism, but Top Three is purely emotional. This is a feature about life-long loves, guilty pleasures, and personal obsessions. In a short paragraph or two, I’ll tell you why I like a specific book, TV show, album, etc.
Part of criticism is an evangelical component: “I read this book! You should too!” Top Three also has this component, but without a mission to convert the reader. What do you like? Why do you like it? How is it similar or different than what I like? The Comments Section should become a lively conversation about the week’s Top Three. Smart and civil is the key.