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Lists of Note: An Eclectic Collection Deserving of a Wider Audience Hardcover – June 16, 2015
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" Just as wonderful a read as Letters of Note, Lists of Note will intrigue you and likely get you to start making some of your own lists, if that isn't already your habit. I know I'm inspired."
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Holiday Gift Guide Pick "...the perfect gift for the book collector in your life who likes to explore the humanity behind people and things in life. This not only makes a great coffee table addition, where house guests and friends can skim selections and converse about them, but it's also a must-read from cover to cover!"
"beautiful and immensely satisfying"
- Observer (UK)
"Quirky and light-hearted"
"Dipping into it, with Usher's interesting notes and asides an amiable companion, is fascinating."
"An excellent gift for the list-maker in your life."
"Lists of Note: 1. Splendid. 2. Addictive. 3. Sumptuously produced with interesting photos and facsimiles of actual list."
The follow-up to the Sunday Times bestselling Letters of Note - this time editor Shaun Usher turns his hand to lists --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The book contains some very intriguing notes as follows: (1) Bill of Mortality which tells of the kinds of ailment English people of the 17th century died from, (and the reader will be surprised to find that one of the common causes of death was abscess); (2) an ancient Egyptian worker's notes on his absences recorded on a limestone; (3) Leonardo Da Vinci's notes on what he would need to research for the anatomy of a man, Michaelangelo's notes on a list of food he wanted to eat with adorable pictures accompanied during his traveling to and from Pietrasanta to extract marble used for the Basilica of San Lorenzo; (4) Sir Isaac Newton's list of notes revealing his peevishness with his mother and father, striking his sister and servant and neglecting to listen to a Sunday sermon in church.; (5) Mark Twain's list of note showing all the food he wanted to eat at home upon his returning from a long European trip; (6) Marilyn Monroe's resolution to attend her new acting class without fail and to enroll in an English Literature class; and Jack Kerouac's note to his friend for writing tips in which he asserted free writing without grammatical, syntactical, and literary inhibition. These are just a few notable excerpts from the book, and the reader will have no time for boredom in reading this book.
This is a quick read which one can enjoy without having to analyze the contents of the notes. The only foible about this read in Kindle version is that the original script of some of the notes are not clearly shown due to a mechanical aspect of the device. For this reason, it will be better to own a hard copy of the book as the notes are pictured in their entirety, so that the reader can see clearly the writing styles and discern the personalities and characters of the notetakers to a certain extent. The reader will realize that the act of note-taking, however simplistic and insignificant it may seem, is in fact a way of sketching the flow of thought from the world full of things assorted and flowing without a sense of purpose for composite significance.
This is a great book to leave out for guests to peruse. These lists are mostly by notable figures from a while ago -- public domain maybe?
There are great curiosities. and chances to see a mind at work, such as Walt Disney's list of 50 possible dwarf names, including Dirty (!), Neurtsy (?) and Shifty -- what horrible dwarves! There's also Edison's list of names for the phonograph (sphygmophone!) and Coppola's list of possible actors for The Godfather -- Peter Falk as Sonny Corleone!?
Some are charming, others intriguing, like Edison's to-do list. There's a list of workers' absences from 1250 BCE, and there are lists by Marilyn Monroe and Albert Einstein, Whitman, Thoreau, Galileo and Thelonious Monk, Darwin, Vonnegut, David Foster Wallace Sid Vicious and many others.
Often an image of the original artifact is included, so you can see the handwriting, and each entry has a paragraph or two of backstory. The book concludes with an adequate index.
I expect to write in this book, and hope guests will too.
I'm not sure why other reviewers are complaining about it being a coffee table book, because that's clearly what it's meant to be, and it's one of the better ones I've ever seen. I spent quite a while flipping through the pages, sitting in front of the wrapping paper like a dummy instead of wrapping the book like I was going to, just because it was so interesting.
If you like history and need a good coffee table book, this is a great one.
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