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80+ Bookish Lists You Wish Existed

Kelly Jensen


Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She's the editor/author of (DON'T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen.

This giveaway is sponsored by Lists of Note by Shaun Usher.

lists of noteLists of Note gives us an unexpected glimpse into history. Over 125 entries from a list of people that are as eclectic and intriguing as the book’s contents span the centuries. These wish lists, to-dos, inventories, resolutions, best-ofs, pros and cons, and more reveal hopes, priorities, and musings in a most engaging and entertaining way.  Included here is a list of murder suspects scribbled by John F. Kennedy’ secretary just hours after the president’s assassination; Johnny Cash’s ‘Things to Do Today’ (plus one thing not to do); Albert Einstein’s demands of his estranged wife; a litany of reasons (some surprisingly familiar) given by Ancient Egyptians for missing work; and many more. Facsimiles of the lists themselves, artwork, and historical commentary are woven throughout this handsome volume. Offering intimate perspectives on public and private lives, Lists of Note is a trove of discovery – and a testament to the human urge to bring order to, poke fun at, and find meaning in the world around us.


The internet doesn’t lack lists of a bookish nature, from round-ups of amazing author homes to gifts all Harry Potter fans would love. But there are some lists we’re never going to get as long as we’re lacking Time-Turners and/or the ability to get into our favorite author’s heads. A few I’d love: Joan Didion’s favorite sunglass brands. Dostoevsky’s top 5 ways to deal with a bad day (I assume #1 would be moodily walking a darkened St. Petersburg street). Jane Austen’s favorite smart-ass comebacks disguised as polite and appropriate remarks.

We asked you to share with us the sorts of bookish lists you wish existed, and, well, you answered. Some are serious, some are funny, and some are thought-provoking in and of themselves. Here’s a look at over 80 of the types of lists you would love to see, broken down into some rough categories of interest because WHY NOT?:

What we want from Hermione Granger:

  • List of books Hermione Granger has read
  • Hermione Granger’s Summer Reading List
  • Essential Reading According to Hermione Granger-Weasley
  • Hermione Granger’s favorite book in the muggle world
  • Hermione Granger’s list of life hacks


What we want from J. K. Rowling or the Harry Potter world:

  • J. K. Rowling’s plants she’d want to plant from Prof Sprout’s herbology lessons.
  • J. K. Rowling’s favorite places to write
  • A list of Dobby’s fashion dos and don’ts
  • J. K. Rowling’s list of magical food that didn’t make it into the Harry Potter books


Drinking advice or insight from authors who enjoyed one or two or ten:

  • Ten Best Authors to Drink To (While Reading)
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald’s favorite drinks
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Favorite Book/Cocktail Pairings
  • Ernest Hemmingway’s favorite drinking spots


Life and social advice from famous authors:

  • I can’t top Jane Austen comebacks. I WANT THAT.
  • Career advice from the Bronte sisters
  • Ernest Hemingway’s List of Favorite Fish
  • Edith Wharton’s list of ways to survive a dinner party
  • Life advice from Fanny Price
  • Sherlock Holmes’ favorite superior comebacks to presumptuous policemen
  • Zelda Fitzgerald’s Christmas card list
  • Jennifer Weiner’s Top Ten Things She’d Like To Throw in Jonathan Franzen’s Face (I am #TeamJennifer all the way!)
  • Louisa May Alcott’s list of the Top 10 Worst Dinner Parties she’s ever thrown (there’s gotta be some inspiration for all of Jo’s mishaps.)
  • A list of everyone Virginia Woolf insulted
  • Kafka’s top 5 ways to kill a roach
  • Emily Dickinson’s 5 Happiest Thoughts
  • 10 Best Rebuttals From the Women in John Donne’s Poetry
  • Hemingway’s favorite bull-fighting outfit designers, ranked
  • Stephen King’s favorite amusement parks
  • Shakespeare’s favorite insults
  • Hanya Yanagihara’s list of places to visit with attractive monarchs
  • Neil Gaiman’s best spots to travel to in England


Writing and reading inspirations:

  • Hanya Yanigahara’s five favorite quotes
  • List of best music for writing inspiration
  • Each US president’s 10 most influential books
  • Mark Twain’s favorite funny books
  • Top 10 ways to convince Donna Tartt to write a novel sooner than every 10 years
  • Tolkien’s Top Ten Priorities When Creating a Fantasy World
  • List of famous authors’ favorite childhood books
  • A List of Lewis Carroll’s favorite books
  • Charlotte Bronte’s favorite couples in history
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald’s inspirations
  • Philip K. Dick’s Sci-Fi Life Lessons
  • Authors who inspired the Bronte sisters


The ideas that didn’t quite make it:

  • Poe’s Rejected Poem Titles
  • Da Vinci’s list of random ideas for inventions that he never mad
  • A list of all the working titles of classic books before they were completed
  • Titles of unpublished/unpublishable novels by famous writers
  • A list of books that authors thought about writing, but never did
  • Stan Lee’s failed superhero names


Advice, reading lists, and food-themed lists from authors and people of note:

  • Charles Dickens’ favorite ghost stories
  • Margaret Atwood fictional businesses
  • Books read by America’s Founding Fathers
  • Dr Seuss’s list of imagined ice cream flavors
  • Shakespeare’s grocery list
  • Ray Bradbury’s Top Five Dinosaur Species
  • Books my grandmother read at my age


Authors in life and in death

  • List of literary circle overlaps–members and their literary besties/nemeses
  • List of curious author deaths


Pop culture:

  • All the books mentioned and seen in the West Wing
  • Video game/book pairings (if you liked this game: read this)
  • Because you like Rat Queens, a list of books and comics filled with badass women characters
  • Reads for fans of Fargo



Science fiction and fantasy reading lists:

  • Books with a unique religion (a la Butler’s Parables series)
  • A list about all the different faery courts in books
  • A List of Books with Unique Magic Systems
  • Feminist space operas with queer main characters
  • Best weird science books


Historical reading:

  • Top 10 books on ancient Greece
  • Historical Romances featuring POC
  • A list of books and scrolls that were in the Library of Alexandria


Reading lists for very specific feelings:

  • Poetry collections for people who are afraid of poetry
  • Books that will keep a person reading way past bedtime
  • A list of books where nothing sad happens
  • Books Most Likely to Cause a Book Hangover
  • Top books that will scare people


Miscellaneous “book lists with books we want to read” lists:

  • Best Boarding School stories not involving vampires, witches, fairies, etc.
  • 10 Books You Wish You Had Read As A Child (And You Can Still Read Now)
  • Books about kids in foster care
  • Books About People Who Love Books
  • Top Adult Books Narrated by a Child
  • Top 10 Books About The Making Of A Film
  • The best novels that still need to be published in the US (and translated into English, if that is necessary)


And finally, as an almost life-long glasses wearer, I felt this deserved its own category:

  • Heroes/heroines with glasses