Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How to Start an Argument: Books of Lists

Anyone who has read Nick Hornby's High Fidelity (PR6058.O689 H54 2000) or seen the John Cusack movie based on the novel (DVD 595) knows that people obsessed with music like to make lists, particularly rankings. And any ranking is likely to incite argument; a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly ranked the 100 greatest of each entertainment media, and a letter to the editor noted that they finally wrote something guaranteed to anger every reader.

Books of lists can be discussion starters or sources of trivia. Browse the shelves at ML156 an you'll find lots of graded lists of songs and albums. But elsewhere in the library you'll find more specialized books of lists, some with extensive extensive explanations of what they've compiled on given topics.
  • Hang the DJ: An Alternative Book of Music Lists edited by Angus Cargill (ML156.4.P6 H36 2009
Sample list: "Lo, The Downcast Shall Be Exalted! Ten Reputedly Worthless Albums that Will One Day Be Recognized as Rather Nifty" Sample list: "The Song Titles: Country Music Best-Known Addresses"
  • The Official Punk Rock Book of Lists by Amy Wallace and Handsome Dick Manitoba
Sample list: "6 Great Moments in Puking"
Sample list: "A Nasty Hobbit: 15 Metal Bands Who Got Their Names from J.R.R. Tolkien"

What's your favorite list, or which one cause you the most outrage?

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