Holiday Reading – Lists Of Note

I love a list.  I always have, especially ‘things to do’ lists and the satisfying sensation of crossing off the items as you go.  Every time we go away, even if it’s just for one night, I always write a list of what I need to pack so I don’t forget anything, even though I have almost identical lists in the same notebook from previous trips.  And yes, I know that is very sad.

Also technology doesn’t do it for me, I’ve tried to write lists on my phone but they don’t feel quite right, I like to see things written down.

And now I have a whole book of lists.  From the same person who compiled Letters of Note there is now Lists Of Note.  Shaun Usher has trawled the archives and come up with a great coffee table style book packed with lists which go back to ancient times right up to present day.  It’s brilliant.  Although I do have to admit that much like its predecessor it isn’t technically ‘holiday reading’ as it is huge and heavy.

book cover

Lists Of Note book cover

From poignant lists including one from Hilary North, a lady who on September 11th 2001 stopped off to vote on her way to work, which meant she wasn’t in the World Trade Center’s South Tower when it was struck by one of the hijacked planes.  Her list entitled ‘How My Life Has Changed’ begins each line with ‘I can no longer….’ and then goes on to detail some of the things she can no longer do with colleagues who perished.  It’s so simple and ordinary and that is probably what makes it so upsetting to read.

There is a lovely letter from Rudyard Kipling to his 12 year old daughter Elsie who was soon to be travelling to London.  It’s called Simple Rules For Life In London and includes pearls of wisdom such as ‘Never stop a motor bus with your foot.  It is not a croquet ball.’


Rudyard Kipling’s list to his daughter (taken from Lists Of Note, Shaun Usher)

A timely list is from the 1920’s and it could be argued is still relevant today.  It’s from a group called the Anti Flirt Club, an organisation of ‘young women and girls who have been embarrassed by men in automobiles and on street corners’.  As with any good club there is a list of rules although personally I think some of them are a bit miserable, ‘Don’t flirt: those who flirt in haste oft repent in leisure’

I quite like this one though

One of the Anti-Flirt Club rules (taken from Lists of Note by Shaun Usher)

One of the Anti-Flirt Club rules (taken from Lists of Note by Shaun Usher)

In keeping with the books theme here is my little list as to why you should read it:

1.  It will make you cry

2.  It will make you laugh

3.  It is a perfect book for anyone with not much time on their hands to read as you can dip in and out of it

4.  It might inspire you to write a list of your own

5.  It looks good on a coffee table/bookshelf


If you enjoyed this post why not try a couple more of my holiday reading posts.

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