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Culture & Religion

Why We Love Lists

For some, a list of 1001 books you "must" read is no mere suggestion. Jeremy Dauber explains his addiction to lists and why he thinks they are a cultural boon.

Lists fight a rigorous holding action in the battle against cultural entropy and chaos. In this magpie cultural age, texts are presented in a dizzying array and are hard to get purchase on. Context is of course available—via Wikipedia and a panoply of other internet-based resources—but such sources are themselves often contextless, floating in the crowd-sourced ether. A well-ranked list, however, can have all of the intellectual heft of a graduate seminar without the pain of that final paper, and at a much cheaper price.


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