The New York Times Book Review has named, based on a poll of 125 notable authors and critics (although really: what the hell is Curtis Sittenfeld doing on that list?), Toni Morrison's Beloved as the best American work of fiction published in the last twenty-five years. Beloved received fifteen votes, which, as Times critic A.O. Scott points out, doesn't sound like much until you consider the thousands of eligible titles. (Upon reflection, it still doesn't sound like much.)
Now, one camp of children's literature enthusiasts is probably going to carp that no children's books are among the twenty or so (Updike's Rabbit books and McCarthy's Border Trilogy are counted as single titles) that received more than one vote (again, this exercise gets limper and limper the more one thinks about it). Not me. I certainly haven't done enough reading of adult books of the last twenty-five years to fairly judge the field, but I have read the children's books of that timespan, and I would be hard put to think of a title that belongs on that top-twenty list. Maybe one: Holes.
P.S. Blogger spellchecker weighs in: it wants me to replace Morrison with moroseness.