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Lists in the Wiki Age

I know the purpose of these lists is to troll for arguments, but seriously, Business Insider? The Most Famous Book Set In Every State and the Arizona book is The Bean Trees? Amazon Best Sellers Rank 105,267? Worldcat shows 4,443 libraries holding it… that’s not bad, actually. My immediate reaction was that Waiting to Exhale was much, much more famous, but Worldcat only as that at 3,600 libraries and Amazon ranks it at 144,034. On the other hand, Waiting to Exhale was a bestseller and had a number one movie; I’m inclined to call that one for Terry McMillan.

Except that there’s The Andromeda Strain. Bestseller, movie, miniseries. And, I think, more instantly recognizable than either. And a higher Amazon rank. So I think that about wraps it up.

The thing is that I got The Andromeda Strain from a Wikipedia list of Novels Set in Arizona; I had forgotten that the town wiped out by the satellite crash is in Arizona. Much of the action is in Nevada (or in outer space), but the whole set-up is in the Grand Canyon state, so it should count if The Bean Trees does.

And here’s the thing about Wikipedia—I figured they would have such a list, and they do. It’s not comprehensive, but the most well-known books will be on it, and that’s what Business Insider was going for in the first place. Which makes their list not only wrong, but trivially wrong, almost uninterestingly wrong. It’s like a lmgty situation, isn’t it? The most well-known novel set in Arizona? Why bother coming up with stuff, it’s on Wikipedia.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,