Monday, December 14, 2015

One of the Best Books I Read in 2015: Lists of Note: An Eclectic Collection Deserving of a Wider Audience by Shaun Usher

Lists of Note: An Eclectic Collection Deserving of a Wider Audience by Shaun Usher is an enjoyable and engaging book of 125 lists (pros and cons, wish lists, to-do lists, and others) that starts off with what I think is one of the most famous lists in pop culture: a list of “Things to Do Today” by Johnny Cash which includes “not eat too much”, “go see Mama”, and of course, “kiss June” and “not kiss anyone else”. It’s filled with fun lists like “The Fifty Dwarves” which shows the names Disney writers considered for the Seven Dwarves before choosing Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, and Sneezy. Some names that didn’t make it are Chesty, Flabby, Jaunty, and Sappy. It also includes serious lists like “How My Life Has Changed” by Hilary North, a woman who should have been on the 103rd floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 except she stopped to vote and was late to work. It’s a moving list of things she will never be able to with her coworkers who perished on that day, including things like “I can no longer smile at Paul”, “I can no longer confide in Lisa”, and “I can no longer take my life for granted".

One of the appeals of the book is that some of the lists are photocopies of the originals so you get to see the handwriting of people like Thelonious MonkDavid Foster Wallace, and Thomas Edison. There's even a list, possibly a shopping list or recollection of past meals, by Michelangelo with illustrations of food. Even if some of the lists don't interest you, there are so many to choose from, you're sure to find one that makes you smile or inspires you to make one of your own. It's a fascinating look at something we all do and shows how a list can show a small part of your personality.

~Aisha, Adult Services

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