The Love of Lists

Giverny

Monet’s Window

 

I love lists.  Ah, the moment I check off a task with an exaggerated flourish, there is an immediate sense of accomplishment.  Efficient, effective and documented, checklists give significance to the small, seemingly trivial actions that fill up our days. The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande is an excellent illustration for the merits of using this tried and true technique.

There is only one area of my life that I have difficulties with lists: books.   Here’s my problem. My reading lists are long – very, very long.  Every year, I add more books to an already over-burgeoning list from the previous year. I still haven’t made my list for this year and here it is February.

I am taking a different approach this year. I’m choosing books based on a theme that sparks my curiosity.  This year my thoughts turn to artistic endeavours, which I confess covers a huge area.  It all began when I read Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O’Keeffe by Laurie Lisle.  Art records the events of history, the progress of technology, the dialogue of philosophers, and the social and cultural norms of a particular time.  Locked in the paintings and held within the words of a poet, are the stories of our civilization.

A happy thought is that there are so many books – we will never ever, ever, ever run out of lists.

Happy reading…

 

18 thoughts on “The Love of Lists

  1. I SO identify with your love of lists! I make lists about everything, about groceries, about daily chores, about short-term and long-term goals. So far, though, I haven’t made any reading lists. I have so many books (and so many of them are still unread) that I often just start reading one because it’s near the top of a pile by the chair, and then, once started, it’s usually finished (eventually) unless very boring or badly written. Right now I’m on a Russia kick (partly because I want to write a memoir on a couple of trips to Russia), and am concurrently reading three books, each of which looks at Russian history from a different perspective. That exercise has been fascinating!! Thrown into the mix is Elizabeth Warren’s latest book (A Fighting Chance) I’m reading for a local book club. Maybe I should start making reading lists and organize all those books begging to be read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love the Russian theme – what a great idea, especially if you are going to write your memoir. Keep me advised as to your progress in this regard. I have already looked for a Fighting Chance. I have been following Elizabeth Warren over the years and admire her courage and audacity. I wish you the very best on your reading lists. This year I’m going to update my “Goodreads” book lists and celebrate all that I have read. Life is so good when shared with good books and the best of friends. Thank you for your comments – so very much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I understand the value of lists. Crossing off one of the items gives a certain satisfaction. But, one of my important lists is the written grocery list that I compile before leaving to shop. I have learned too many times from experience that I forget the most important items if I try to remember them –in my head–!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Without that all-important grocery list, I come back with items that would never have made it on any list that I would create. (Those donuts were quite delicious) The mind is capricious when it comes to memory. And I have found that I never shop for groceries when I’m hungry. I have tried to use technology to create my lists, but sometimes the tried and true pen and paper is the best option.

      Like

  3. I love lists too, and a book about lists sounds fantastic haha! I have a friend who makes a list of what she has done that day and then crosses everything off. Her reasoning being that we so often do important things during the day beyond our “to do” list that we don’t always give ourselves credit for but we beat ourselves up over what we didn’t do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with your friend! We are always on to the next thing and the next thing – we never stop and look back and celebrate what we have accomplished. Many times, we consider daily tasks inconsequential. Consider if we didn’t take out the garbage? Or check the tires on our cars? Or remember to pay our telephone bill? The list goes on… I have just decided to add to my daily list: look back and celebrate. By the way, the Checklist Manifesto is quite interesting. I have had a brief overview and have heard Atul Gawande interviewed. I think you would like it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have always felt that it’s the very small things, such as a thought by a person of you or a flower, maybe a rose, which make your every day life more beautiful. In this , less can be more. I wish you, dear Rebecca, all the best with your endeavours.🌺

    Liked by 1 person

    • My dear Martina, you are one of those people who share joy and happiness in our blogging community. Your thoughtful and compassionate presence is truly inspiring. Have a wonderful day – thank you for making mine beautiful!!🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Many thanks, dear Rebecca, for your kind words, but as you wrote on your post, sometimes one also has to evaluate whether the time has come to change something in our behaviour such as starting to look back!🙂 I wish you also a very satisfying day. Cari saluti Martina

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Atul Gawande is one of my heroes, although haven’t read his books. I simply like to listen to his talks/interviews. My book choices are not based on lists or themes, but moods; my moods. Sometimes the mood produces a theme as a by-product. It’s a haphazard way to read but it suits me.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am convinced that books and reading have unique characteristics; and it would be presumptuous to curtail the fun of exploration. I enjoy reading the perspectives of others – the reviews, the takeaways, the calls to action. We will never be able to read all of the books we want to, but I find that thought very comforting. We owe a great debt of gratitude to writers – they give us endless enjoyment, even those who challenge our closely held values. I like the idea of “moods” – you have given me something to think upon as I begin Reading Year 2016.

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.