The dictionary. The encyclopedia. Mystery books by Sue Grafton. What do they all have in common ? Something quite basic, some would say even boring: they are all organized alphabetically. Sounds like a technique as good as any I suppose: not much thinking involved, and a fairly universal, common, neutral way to sort through a motley collection of almost any data. In fact, so many of the lists we encounter in our daily lives (think class rosters, phone directory lookups, library rows – even airline listings at airports) are all arranged alphabetically to ensure that no aspersions of bias are cast on those responsible for creating those lists.
One of the most interesting and enjoyable books I have read is A.J. Jacob’s “The Know it All”. It chronicles the author’s attempt to read the entire Encylopedia Brittanica in one year. The book is a great read for you can read it as little as half a page at a time without losing any context or enjoyment. Is is also truly witty and clever, an irreverent, in parts touching and obviously personal commentary about some of the fascinating , archaic and trite entries the author encountered while perusing that motherlode of known human knowledge.
It also made me think: why not have a blog series that is simply organized alphabetically ? My (admittedly nascent and infrequent) musings are not about any topic that is time sensitive. And what better way to share my thoughts with you about truly random topics than pick something simply because it is after P but before R (I was thinking of “Quidnunc” in case you were wondering 😉
So for the next 26 times, I will be picking a topic starting with A and going through the alphabet, one letter at a time. If you enjoy reading this, I welcome you to submit nominations for topics. Ciao for now: I have an A to chase down !
(ok, I won’t make you Google it: Aeaea is an island in Greek mythology and zyzzyva is a South American insect :))