Books About Lists

If you’re a list maker like I am, or just enjoy a well curated list, here are some books about lists you might enjoy.

The Book of Lists: The Original Compendium of Curious Information by David Wallechinsky
This is a fascinating non-fiction collection of trivia and interesting stories broken down into the following chapters: People; Movies; The Arts; Food and Health; Animals; Work and Money; Sex, Love and Marriage; Crime; War, Politics and World Affairs; Travel; Literature; Words; Sports; Death; and Miscellaneous.

Here are some of my favourite lists from the book:

  • 8 Memorable Lines Erroneously Attributed To Film Stars
  • 10 Famous Insomniacs
  • The Cat Came Back: 9 Cats Who Travelled Long Distances To Return Home
  • 15 Famous People Who Worked In Bed
  • 11 Most Unusual Objects Sold on eBay
  • 29 Words Rarely Used In Their Positive Form
  • 16 Famous Events That Happened In The Bathtub

The Book of Lists contains a wide variety of interesting tidbits and obscure trivia and is bound to make you laugh.

The List of My Desires by Gregoire Delacourt
Written by Grégoire Delacourt and translated from French, The List of My Desires is set in a provincial town in France. Jocelyne is the middle-aged mother of two adult children and runs her own dressmaking shop and faces a turning point in her life when she wins $18M in the lottery.

The unexpected windfall forces her to reflect on what she really wants in life so she writes a list of her desires, hence the title. This is a lovely contemporary fiction novel and when Jocelyne re-writes the list at the end, it’s quite interesting to see what’s changed.

Lists of Note bShaun Usher
This book contains lists from a variety of people, ranging from Leonardo da Vinci, Charles Darwin, Roald Dahl and Marilyn Monroe to 9th Century monks. The book contains 125 lists with brief descriptions for each, including:

  • A shopping list written by two 9th-century Tibetan monks
  • The 19 year-old Isaac Newton’s list of the 57 sins he’d already committed
  • 29-year-old Marilyn Monroe’s inspirational set of New Year’s resolutions
  • Einstein’s punitive list of conditions imposed on his first wife (this needs to be read to be believed).

    This is a great read for list lovers.

Getting Shit Done List Ledger by Calligraphuck
Finally, if you want some stationery in which to write your own lists, you can’t go wrong with the Getting Shit Done List Ledger by Calligraphuck.

It would be remiss of me not to mention Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally and there are an infinite number of Bucket List books available for every kind of reader.

Are you a list maker? Do you have any recommendations?

YA Books Told In Love Letters, Notes, and Emails

Books tell amazing stories in all sorts of formats. Sometimes they use prose or poetry, illustrations or photographs. And today? We need to talk about books told in love letters, notes, and emails! Because writing is arguably the best way to learn about someone. It’s often easier to confess a secret or be venerable on paper and these books underline that fact!

If you’re looking for a book featuring letters? LOOK NO FURTHER. I have you covered.



This is an absolutely beautiful, but bittersweet, tale of two teens who are dealing with extreme levels of grief. They begin writing to each other on accident. Juliet leaves letters at her mother’s gravestone and one day Declan, who’s working in the graveyard on community service, picks one up and writes back. They begin first an angry communication and then develop friendship through grief and confessions. It’s a relief to both of them to talk anonymously to someone who understands. But as they realise they also know each other in real life, they are worried the other won’t like the “real” them. It’s an absolutely poignant story of heartbreak and being judgemental of people who’s stories you don’t know.





Simon has met the most amazing boy online and lives for their frequent email exchanges. Except one day he forgets to log out of the school computer and a bully discovers his emails. He blackmails Simon — threatening to out Simon as being gay. And Simon isn’t ready for that yet.

It’s a super, super cute story featuring two boys emailing back and forth. The story isn’t wholly told in messages, though, so you get to follow Simon in his everyday life of friends, awkward first love, Harry Potter obsession, drama class, and Oreo appreciation. It’s about being true to yourself and it’s the most heartwarming and special story!




This is a sci-fi action story told solely in emails, messages, reports, and photos! It’s absolutely brilliantly formatted and the visuals totally take the book to the next level of special. The story is basically about a rogue company destroying a planet and the survivors end up on a damaged ship floating through space. The enemy is closing in and they’re trying to get the ship’s Artificial Intelligence up and active to fight for them. Except there’s also a virus sweeping through the refugees. And the AI is possibly planning to wipe out all threats — which could very well be the people it’s supposed to protect.

You will most likely be clinging to your seat through reading this with heart pounding. The action doesn’t stop and the plot twists are phenomenal.




This is a story of two teens after high school: Cath has headed off to college and Scott is stuck working in his family story after he bombed his highschool finales. They’ve been best friends all their lives, so they write avidly to each other as they explore the world of just-becoming-adults. The letters are packed with so much complexity and meaning and even though the entire book is just told in epistolary format, you get to know the characters so well. And you can’t help rooting for them to stop living in denial of their feelings for each other and to follow their dreams and live the kind of life they hunger for.

A Glorious List of YA Apocalypse Books

I have a deep love for all books about the end of the world and the apocalypse. It’s exciting! I love the speculation of what could happen. Because zombies could totally happen. Or angels. Or destruction by walking trees. WHO KNOWS.

Today I have a list of Young Adult books about the apocalypse and the end of the world. Some are entertainingly far-fetched but others could totally happen. I love books like these because they make you think and speculate and be grateful for that survivalist horde of peanut butter hidden in your pantry.



While I didn’t find this the most fast paced book of ever, it really intrigued me because it could totally happen. It’s more about the psychology of human reactions during the End of the World. The earth is slowing down, days and nights are all messed up, and people are getting sick. Oh, and it’s a coming-of-age story about Julia becoming a teen. She has a crush. The world is ending. Her mother is hoarding peanut butter (not a bad plan). People are dying. It felt so realistic.




This is probably my all-time favourite apocalypse story! It focuses on “what if water was precious?” which is an excellent point because humans just don’t do well without water. It’s about Lynne, who has a pond, which is like gold, and she has to protect it or lose it. I adored the blunt, crisp writing style too, and Lynne was tough as anything.




This is an excellent Australian end of the world story and, like The Age of Miracles, it’s so realistic! I could totally imagine things going down like this if nuclear warfare started. It’s really gritty and oh it’ll pull at your heart strings. Also it’s about two brothers trying to find their parents and survive and stick together. I’m such a sucker for sibling stories so this is an insta-win for me.



But we totally need a moment for zombies…oh don’t look at me like that. It could totally happen! And how better to speculate than to read a zombified book about a teen pretending the entire apocalypse is just a computer game — to get his little brother through it without panicking. (See?! I told you I love sibling stories!) It has a computer game vibe and it’s very emotional and the characters are so intensely amazing.



Angels and demons ruling the earth is also totally plausible. (Do not doubt this.) I particularly love this trilogy because it’s really dark and gritty and doesn’t shy away from how the depraved the world could become with no rules. It features a meltable romance between a tough, sensible protagonist (Penryn) and a wingless angel (Raffe) and it’s full of snark and sass.




And of course I need to finish up with this iconic apocalypse novel set in rural Australia. It’s about a group of teens who go camping in the bush…only to come home and find their hometown has been taken over by foreign soldiers. It’s about guerrilla warfare and how war changes you.


5 YA Books You Can Read In A Day

Reading an entire book in a day is basically living the dream. And while I’m quite the reading hooligan and often read a book a day, I particularly like books that I can whip through in a few hours. (I don’t know about you, but gargantuan books terrify me. Holding a 600-page weapon in your hands? Um, pass.)

So I have constructed a rather delectable list of Young Adult books you can get through easily in a day!


F18163646ALLING INTO PLACE by Amy Zhang

PURCHASE ~ Page count: 304

What’s it about? Basically a contemporary where a mysterious narrator details the life of Liz and how she ends up in a potentially-fatal car accident. It’s about repercussions and friendship. And the WHO of the narrator is downright unique and fabulous. But shush now, I will spill no spoilers.

Yes, 300-pages doesn’t seem like nothing. But! It explores a really outstanding writing style. The chapters are crispy and the sentence are short and bitey. Which makes a book super easy to gobble in half a heartbeat.


9781471404566PAPERWEIGHT by Meg Haston

PURCHASE ~ Page count: 304

What’s it about? Beware. This’ll probably break your heart. It’s about eating disorders and a treatment centre and a sad secret. It’s told in back-flashes and features origami. (I am an origami nerd so THIS book is glorious.)

Again, it’s 300 pages, but it’s super easy to get sucked in. It tackles such dark and tough subjects though, so possibly snuggle down to devour this one with a packet of tissues or perhaps recruit a small kitten to cuddle while you read.


9780385741262WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart

PURCHASE ~ Page count: 227

What’s it about? This is one of those mind-twistery books. We have an unreliable narrator talking about her summer when Something Mysterious and Bad (?!) Happened and OH MY GOSH THE REVEAL IS INCREDIBLE. It’s so hard to talk about without giving spoilers so all you need to know is this: READ IT.

It’s so quick to get through because it’s partially written in verse. The chapter are tiny and the writing is really sparse, so you’re never wading through boggy details.

9781925240160ADRIFT by Paul Griffin

PURCHASE ~ Page count: 240

What’s it about? Talk about a wet roller-coaster thriller! It’s about 5 teens who get trapped in a boat in the middle of the ocean and TERROR ENSUES. It’s a real psychological thriller. (I mean, how long would you last with no food, minimum water, and no hope of rescue?? Hmm??) And seriously it is un-put-down-able.

This one has a teeny page count, and it has a real pull to keep reading because WHAT HAPPENS NEXT??! You get very concerned these kids are going to bludgeon each other with oars and feed someone to the sharks.

9781250062987SECOND STAR by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

PURCHASE ~ Page count: 272

What’s it about? It’s a Peter Pan retelling! If…Peter was a surfer and Wendy’s brothers had run away from home, and Hook was a drug dealer. You know. Normal stuff like that. IT IS INCREDIBLE. It’s the favourite childhood classic reinvented and modernised, and totally tugs at heart strings.

It’s more of a summery, lazy book, so the pace doesn’t rocket along. But at less than 300-pages, you’re half finished in a blink! And it’s bittersweet. And clever. It’s super fascinating to see how the author incorporates elements of the original tale into a modern setting. OH THE CLEVERNESS OF THIS AUTHOR. (Yes, that was a JM Barrie quote reimagined. Appreciate this.)

Feel free to share any books-you-could-read-in-a-day suggestions in the comments and I hope you enjoyed my list!

More Ladies-Doing-Well Lists, Please

WildI’m frustrated that we require ‘women who did well in their respective fields’ articles and blogs, occasionally even allowing myself to wonder how much we still need them or how useful they are any more.

But then our ‘prime minister’ and, worse, ‘minister for women’ (and yes, I’m using those rabbit ears extremely deliberately—I called it at the time and didn’t and wouldn’t ever vote for that turkey) went and said his greatest achievement for women in 2014 was repealing the carbon tax.

Boxing Day or maybe the day after, a report was released that confirmed what we all already knew: Abbott has a woman problem. (In truth, I think he’s got a human problem, but semantics.)

His achievement-for-women idiocy was the first thing I saw when I woke up that day and I’ll not deny I fair nearly combusted. Thankfully, some smart lady or lad came up with #PutYourIronOut, which was the whole farcical insult’s saving grace. Here’s the contribution Randall, one of my adopted ex-battery hens, made to it.

Randall put the iron out. She'd rather you worry about factory farm-exacerbated climate change (and cruelty) than a pithy $550. ‪#‎PutYourIronOut‬ ‪#‎operationchooken‬ ‪#‎chookens‬
Randall put the iron out. She’d rather you worry about factory farm-exacerbated climate change (and cruelty) than a pithy $550. ‪#‎PutYourIronOut‬ ‪#‎operationchooken‬ ‪#‎chookens‬

The other saving grace is that while social media continues to bring me our politicians’ outrageous stupidity (I’m based in Queensland where Campbell Newman and Clive Palmer fight Tony Abbott for the fool limelight), it also brings me heartening, inspiring news.

These include Bustle’s collated list of writers who happen to be women (see what I did there—they’re writers first and foremost) who in 2014 hit it out of the park.

And you know what? Reading Bustle quoting Cheryl Strayed saying female writers had a ‘banner year’, I was dubious. As the stats the article quotes note: as recently as 2013, women both weren’t hugely being hired as reviewers and their books weren’t hugely being reviewed. So to have a bust-out year just 12 months on? Yeesh, that’s a big call.

But scrolling down the list, I saw what they meant. 2014 was, indeed, a decent year for female writers. I was even more chuffed that I’d either read said writers’ 2014 works, or some of their oeuvre, or they were at least on my to-be-read radar.

Amy Poehler: tick. I’ve even blogged about her fabulous book. Donna Tartt: tick. I’ve read her other works and have The Goldfinch on my shelf, even if its content heft is currently intimidating me into not reading it until I have aeons of time.

The Goldfinch(I’m not afraid of long books; I’m only afraid of not having enough time or brain space to read it and instead Game of Thrones-ing it. That is, putting it down and picking it up so many times I’m, like, who is Algernon Whosamawotsie again, and why is he important to the story?). Bonus points for having blogged about it too.

Alison Bechdel is a cartoonist and all-round clever and impressive lady. Her graphic novel/memoir is progressively being bumped up my to-be-read list. I actually remember my friend raving—absolutely raving—about Fun Home back in 2006, and I still haven’t gotten around to reading it. Gah. She was also just, like, named a genius. As in a proper genius, not the term we loosely bandy around.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is also on Bustle’s list. She’s one of those writers I keep coming across and whom I keep adding to my list of writers whose books—plural—I really must read. I’ve heard her speak a few times (via the interwebs, but I’d love to hear her in person at a writers’ festival here in Oz) and she’s impressed me inordinately. I can only assume her books will do so too.

So, while I’m sad we have to have the lists at all, I’m all for more ladies-doing-well lists and less ‘ministers for women’ touting his carbon tax fails.

The Lists Of Lists

ListographyThe need to plan out, hand write, and tick off ‘to do’ lists is a pastime that I’ve furtively indulged in for as long as I have been able to write. I say furtively, because I’m only too aware of my OCD-ness and am acutely embarrassed should anyone discover the extent to which I keep lists.

I’m also only too aware that writing, checking, and then cross-referencing my lists is one giant procrastination tool. Sometimes I need to clean my room before I can concentrate on anything. Mostly it’s that I need to rewrite or mark off items from my list.

Admittedly, I’ll occasionally add items I’ve already completed just so I can cross them off. And sometimes my list contains the task of revising and updating my list, which needs to be completed and checked off as the list-making, list-checking, list-ticking cycle continues…

Of course, as the pleasure I get from creating and completing such lists is almost unequalled, I did some mental high-fives when a fabulous friend sent through a link to the brilliantly conceived, fantastically executed Listography. Judging from the positive reaction I’ve gotten from everyone I’ve now thrust these gems at as presents, I’m clearly not alone in my compulsive need to create lists.

And awesome lists they are.

Love ListographyNot just traditional, bread-and-butter inventories of items to be actioned, Listography lists are, as author Lisa Nola says on her website, ‘time capsules’ that help you capture your autobiography. I tend to think they’re diary-like, but bite-sized and potentially more quirky and fun to pick up and read. Within the various Listography books, which include whimsical artwork, and which span such subjects as friends and love, you’re invited to catalogue such topics as (in no particular and non-exhaustive order):

– three people you would beat in an arm-wrestling match

– whose house you would pillage and what treasure you would steal

– which friends would win a best-dressed award (contentious but don’t tell me you haven’t already worked this one out mentally)

– three things no one knows about you

– friends and their special talents

– crimes/sins you’ve witnessed friends committing (the question is whether they should be committed to paper)

– friends and their best physical attributes

– what animals friends remind you of (but think hard about whether you want to actually tell them)

– your most memorable injuries (and I say special mention to older siblings who inflicted them on you)

– who you would choose if you could be friends with anyone

– why you wouldn’t date yourself (youch)

– things you’d want written in to your wedding vows (could be funny; could be very, very bad).

Truthfully, I have so much trouble containing my ‘to do’ list habit that I don’t need any encouragement from Listography. But given that they extend my list-making habits (I am, in truth, a mostly ‘to do’ list kind of girl and these ask me to think outside traditional list-making bounds), I think I can make an exception. The question is probably more whether it’ll be safe to leave such lists lying around…