Yet another

In the wake of the shooting of Daunte Wright on April 11 2021 in Brooklyn Center Minnesota, adding yet another name to a list that should not exist, our hearts are broken, and we think of a list in Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book Between the World and Me. It appears in the course of his recounting the killing of Prince Jones (9/1/2000): “And the plunder was not just of Prince alone … Continue reading “Yet another”

Literary Lists: Lists of and in Books

by Eva von Contzen

Alex Johnson’s A Book of Book Lists is a treasure hoard of reading lists, lists of books to read and lists having to do with reading. It contains to-read lists, inventories of bookshelves, collections of library slips, and book recommendations by writers, pop stars, presidents, and terrorists; there are prospective, fictional, metaphorical, and impossible reading lists. We learn from a list of possible titles F. Scott Fitzgerald drew up that we might have known the story of the ‘Great Gatsby’ as Among Ash-Heaps and Millionaires, or The High-Bouncing Love. There are many surprising finds: Marilyn Monroe’s private library contained an edition of Elizabethan plays. Queen Mary owned a doll house that had a library, which featured works only written for this specific usage, such as Poems: Abridged for Dolls and Princes, by Robert Grave. Art Garfunkel keeps a list of every book he has read since 1986 (https://www.artgarfunkel.com/library.html). The most recent one (entry 1299, from 2019) is Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale. Oscar Wilde’s Reading Goal bookcase included The Prioress’s Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer (why exactly this one, I wonder, of all the Canterbury Tales?), Goethe’s Faust, and a paperback on Egyptian Decorative Art by W.M. Flinders Petrie.

Continue reading “Literary Lists: Lists of and in Books”

“Piles of most beautiful bacon”: Lists of Jettisoned Goods on the 1849 Oregon Trail

by Leslie Myrick

In a previous post, I examined outfitting and provisioning lists compiled by travelers in preparation for their trek along the northern route to California in 1849, the opening season of the rush for Californian gold. Those going by ox- or mule-drawn wagon (as opposed to by pack mule) were particularly prone to overpacking, and thus overburdening their stock. Guidebooks and previous travelers to the west recommended a load limit of 2500 pounds per wagon, but the exigencies of travel over muddy or sandy roads and unbridged rivers made the lightening of loads necessary, sometimes as early as the first day out of camp. Continue reading ““Piles of most beautiful bacon”: Lists of Jettisoned Goods on the 1849 Oregon Trail”

List Disturbance: An Interview with Carly Cappielli, Author of Listurbia

Carly Cappielli’s award-winning novella Listurbia, a story told in lists, opens with a list of “common cognitive biases” along with their definitions: Pareidolia, The von Restorff effect, The Semmelwies reflex, The Peltzman effect, Parkinson’s law of triviality, Travis Syndrome, and The Zeigarnik effect.[1] Cappielli takes some license with the definition of this final effect, making list writing one of its symptoms:

Continue reading “List Disturbance: An Interview with Carly Cappielli, Author of Listurbia”

Outfit for California: Two and a Half Tons of Essentials for the Overland Trail

by Leslie Myrick

The electrifying news of the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in the winter of 1848 compelled an estimated 80,000 adventurers to pack their bags for California in the following months. How they prepared for the journey—aided by the compilation of lists of provisions and outfitting equipment—depended on their intentions: whether to join the vast majority of travelers who went as itinerant gold hunters, leaving their families at home, or as settlers, picking up and moving with their families, in order to ply their own trade in the land of bonanza, e.g. as doctors or merchants. Continue reading “Outfit for California: Two and a Half Tons of Essentials for the Overland Trail”

Enlisting Allies

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Montgomery Alabama
photo by Soniakapedia

by Amanda Gerber

George Floyd, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Dion Johnson, James Scurlock, Manuel Ellis, Ahmaud Arbery. These names are only an abbreviated list of Black lives brutally stolen by police or vigilantes during the past few weeks, a list that only includes names that rose to public attention and omits those routinely oppressed and over-policed. Continue reading “Enlisting Allies”

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