Monday December 11, 2017
Jane Farrow on why lists are anything but trivial
more stories from this episode
- How hockey helped Karl Subban tap into his family's potential
- How The Golden Compass enchanted singer-songwriter Banners for years
- Jane Farrow on why lists are anything but trivial
- Claire Messud ponders the frailty of childhood friendships
- Hannah Alper on why you're never too young to change the world
- 8 books to give the young readers in your life
- Full Episode
In 2005, Jane Farrow helped create the first Canadian edition of The Book of Lists. She returns as the co-editor, alongside CBC producer Ira Basen, for the 2017 version The Book of Lists: Revised and Updated and Even More Canadian.
"The Book of Lists is a classic. One of the best places to encounter it, in my mind, is the washroom because you have time to contemplate the genius of these little micronarratives. There are other books with lists, but the original by Wallace Wallechinsky writing team is about a tightly focused narrative. It's not just a 'best of' or 'favourite' list."
For the listless
"We had to think, 'What do we have to bring to the table now that BuzzFeed is all over this and listicles really prevail?' Back in 2005, the internet was in its infancy and it was pretty new to get a list. Now they are everywhere. There are fantastic chapters that combines this with my interest in words and literature — chapters like Gregory Scofield's 'five favourite Cree words' and Margaret Atwood's '10 annoying things to say to writers.'"
"What we were looking for in a list was something out of the ordinary. That's what defines this book — lists of cats that came back hundreds of miles and fascinating facts about beavers. We also incorporated lists from individuals who had an enticing take on the world like Becky Mason's '12 favourite rivers to paddle.' The book is a collection of lists that have an edge."
Jane Farrow's comments have been edited and condensed.