Lovely lists

And so today I got to thinking about lists, and series and things, having seen a blog which listed all the books that the blogger had read in the past five years… What a project! Could this be a holiday task (amongst essay writing, and cooking, and going to the ballet – as well as the usual frantic relative visiting and general Christmas cheer-making) for me? It would seem to be a gargantuan task: the children’s books would go on for miles; the university reading list (although shorter than it should be) would stretch to several pages. The BBC published a list in 2004 (bit slow on the uptake, there), however, which asks you to embolden those titles you have read in entirety, italicise those you have read some of, and leave the rest in standard format (one of those Facebook procrastination notes). Although I was glad to format more than the predicted six (!) titles out of a hundred, it was all horribly depressing… How much out there hasn’t been read? How much will I read in a lifetime? How much will remain untouched, or worse, not looked at in as much depth as it deserves?

It gets even worse if you think about Jasper Fforde‘s idea from The Well of Lost Plots : what happens to all those books which don’t get published? What happens to all those books that were thought of, but not written down? What about all of those books which haven’t even been written yet? Or those which have been lost through time?

Physics students should pipe down – English is more mind-boggling and never-ending than one is inclined to believe…

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