Tuesday, January 11, 2011

List Lovers Rejoice!

Book Reviewed: Inventory: 16 Films Featuring Manic Pixie Dream Girls, 10 Great Songs Nearly Ruined by Saxophone, and 100 More Obsessively Specific Pop-Culture Lists, by the writers and editors of the AV Club.

Over New Years weekend, I ended up with a nasty sinus infection. With a high fever and no desire to move, I couldn't concentrate on books with plots or involved writing. Luckily, a friend had just given me the AV Club's Inventory as a Christmas gift just a few days earlier. I could not have read this book at a better time. Lists of bizarre and hilarious pop-culture topics were the perfect thing for my fevered, list-loving mind.

It's no great secret here that I love the AV Club and will read anything they publish. This book actually came out at the end of 2009, but my library didn't have a copy and the big book seemed a little too inconsequential to buy with my hard-earned money. That's why it was a perfect gift: something I'd like but wouldn't buy myself. Inventory is a book for people who know a lot about insignificant things. It's a compilation of lists about specific pop-culture subjects, a collection of the Iventory feature that the website runs every Monday. Lists about things like songs that hate on specific cities, movies too brutal to watch more than once, and books with strange plots make this book a blast to read. Seriously, I had as much fun reading this book as I might have had actually seeing any of the movies listed in this book.

Some of these lists went a bit over my head, talking about bands or foreign films that I have very little knowledge about. But some were just pitch-perfect, making me laugh or think in equal measure. A few of my favorites include "Tell Me a Tune: 26 songs That Work as Short Stories," "Peter Parker Had It Easy: 18-plus Truly Tough Superhero Adolescences," "Superdrunk!: 10 Film Alcoholics Who Sober Up to Save the Day," "Noises Off: 15 Movies with Great Dialogue-Free Scenes," "Night of the Killer Lamp: 22 Ridiculous Horror-Movie Adversaries," and many more. But without a doubt, my favorite list is one that also doubles as the AV Club's memorial to Kurt Vonnegut, "So It Goes: 15 Things Kurt Vonnegut Said Better Than Anyone Else Ever Has or Ever Will." It's a surprisingly moving and wonderful list, one that makes me miss Vonnegut's writing and personality very much. Great job, AV Club! I doubt I've ever read a list that brought tears to my eyes like this one did.

Side Note: Apparently being sick makes me crazy for lists. The other thing that kept me occupied while I was stuck on the couch was VH1's five-part series on the 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s. This list kicked some major synth-laden ass. I've been listening to selections from it on Grooveshark ever since.

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