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Lists of Note by Shaun Usher

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Humans have been making lists for even longer than they've been writing letters. This book features 125 lists with facsimiles or illustrations, including: a shopping list written by two 9th-century Tibetan monks; a handwritten list of the BFG's favourite words by Roald Dahl; and Galileo's list of parts needed to build his telescope and more.


Lists of Note by Shaun Usher

Humans have been making lists for even longer than they've been writing letters. They are the shorthand for what really matters to us: our hopes and aspirations; likes and dislikes; rules for living and loving; records of our memories and reminders of the things we want to do before we die. Just as he did with Letters of Note, Shaun Usher has trawled the world's archives to produce a rich visual anthology that stretches from ancient times to present day. From a to-do list of Leonardo da Vinci's to Charles Darwin on the pros and cons of marriage or Julia Child's list of possible titles for what would later become an American cooking bible, Lists of Note is a constantly surprising A-Z of what makes us human. In its pages you'll find 125 lists with facsimiles or illustrations, including: a shopping list written by two 9th-century Tibetan monks; a handwritten list of the BFG's favourite words by Roald Dahl; the 19 year-old Isaac Newton's list of the 57 sins he'd already committed; Galileo's list of parts needed to build his telescope; Einstein's punitive list of conditions imposed on his first wife; 29-year-old Marilyn Monroe's inspirational set of New Year's resolutions; Martin Luther King's advice for black people starting to use buses; Johnny Cash's list of 'things to do today'; Michelangelo's illustrated shopping list; and Advice for 'chick rockers' by Chrissie Hynde And many, many more...


'Funny, tragic, brilliantly incisive, historic, lyrical, romantic and studiedly offensive, this stupendous compendium of letters ancient and modern is my book of the year. You will never tire of it.'


'A gloriously presented compilation.'

- Financial Times

'Open the pages of the anthology and the appeal is immediately obvious.'


'It is inspiring, and often sad, funny, and occasionally quite surreal.'


'The literary equivalent of a box of chocolates - bite-sized and pure addictive pleasure ... The result is beautifully produced, with photographs and colour facsimiles of much of the correspondence.'

- Sunday Times

'Quite literally the most enjoyable volume it is possible to imagine. Every page is a marvel.'

- Spectator

'A wonderful collection of magical missives.'

-Evening Standard

'It is hard to see how Letters of Note could ever be surpassed.'

- Mail on Sunday

'The volume is so well-produced it could become an heirloom, passed down through generations.'

- Huffington Post

'A truly extraordinary reading experience.'

-Big Issue

'Witty, tragic, educational, inspirational.'

-The List

'This wonderful volume features letters for the great and the good, including Mick Jagger, Roald Dahl - and the Queen, with her personal recipe for drop scones! Some are witty, some are wicked and others will move you to tears.'

- Bella

About the Author

Shaun Usher is the writer and sole custodian of the popular blogs and As a result, he spends much of his life hunting down letters and making lists of things he'd like to share. His first book, Letters of Note, was jointly published by Unbound and Canongate to widespread acclaim and became a top ten bestseller in the UK. It is now being published around the world. Shaun lives in Wilmslow, Cheshire with his wife Karina and their two sons.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st October 2014


Shaun Usher

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Canongate Unbound an imprint of Canongate Books Ltd


336 pages


The Real World
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Anthologies (non-poetry)



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