This companion to Shaun Usher’s Letters of Note (2013), his beautifully compiled bestselling book of famous correspondence, applies the same formula to lists.
Where letters are often quite considered, offering insights into the characters of correspondents, lists are (mostly) throwaway affairs, scribbled in haste without an eye on posterity. As a result they can offer insights of another kind: a simple list of verbs used as a working blueprint by Richard Serra throws light on his art; a list of unwieldy names for a new car (“Utopian Turtle-Top”, anyone?) commissioned from poet Marianne Moore shows an unusual approach by Ford Motors.
Elsewhere there are Marilyn Monroe’s new year resolutions, Johnny Cash’s “To Do” list and Galileo’s list of parts to build a telescope. Sure to be a hit Christmas gift.
Lists of Note, by Shaun Usher, Canongate, RRP£30, 336 pages
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