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Fragments and Shrapnel – Lists of Lists

This week in Fragments and Shrapnel, I expose my inner Virgo to give you lists of EVERYTHING. If it’s out there, it’s on a list somewhere and I’ll find it!

Last week MENSA released their 2010 list of the top 50 websites. MENSA members were polled and the results were whittled down from 280 websites to 50.  I was surprised by some of the sites and not by others. Rest assured, many of the sites on the list will show up in F&S in the next few months when I am at a loss of material to give you. Did I say that?

Next on my list, is a series of blog posts from NPR’s Monkey See Blog.

Writer Linda Holmes and contributor, Marc Hirsh agreed to read Twilight together and discuss their findings in what they called the I Will If You Will Book Club. What follows is the most intelligent skewering of Twilight I have ever read. Except for The Oatmeal’s review which I hold near and dear in my heart.  I LOVE U WEREPIG!  Where was I? Oh yes, the blog.

In the first discussion,  Linda and Marc hash out the finer points of Twilight including poor writing and editing choices. Dust moats and traitor tears be damned, you will howl with laughter reading these posts. In the rest of the series they discuss whether Twilight is really meant for teenagers, the disturbing and co-dependent love story, and character profiles.  These articles are very well written and worth taking a few minutes and reading. I obviously enjoyed it, but I’m a cynic.

Cynical or not, I do love me a good book and good bookstore. Earlier in the week, I was showing a librarian friend around town and any trip to Portland requires a trip to Powell’s Books. She walked into the store, and like most people on their first visit, stood in the entrance with her eyes wide and jaw slack.  She didn’t know where to start so I took her on a tour while she ooohed and aahhhed. When I finished the tour, she told me she had to get out of the store before she spent all her money. I remember hearing NPR’s Scott Simon once calling Powell’s Books his own personal Mecca.  So, I was quite happy to learn Poets and Writer’s Magazine was doing a behind-the-scenes series on independent bookstores. The second article in the series is an interview with Powell’s Books founder, Michael Powell. I’ve read many interviews with Powell but nothing that opens the doors to the warehouses and lets you peek through the Staff Only doors for a glimpse into the day-to-day operations. This insightful and well-researched series is worth following if you care about the fate of Indy bookstores.  The series kicked off with a profile of Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi.

I saved the best for last and it is a website called The Top 13. Readers and special guests take turns ranking everything from sports to music to current events to well…anything! The site is updated at least 3 times a week and participation is encouraged. My favorite lists were Acting Performances by a Musician (Think: Dolly Parton in 9-to-5) and the best hidden tracks on a CD (Nick Cave covering a song by The Dirty Three). You remember hidden tracks, right?

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About Anna Alexander

I am a freelance writer and producer living in the Pacific Northwest. My husband and I live with our cat Grendel who lets us pay his mortgage.

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