Matias Viegener (author); 2500 RANDOM THINGS ABOUT ME; Les Figues Press (Nonfiction: Autobiography & Memoir) 15.00 ISBN: 9781934254356
Byline: Daniel Coffey
The sheer number of lists that are featured in popular magazines and websites speaks to a cultural fascination with the enumeration (and often, qualification) of all sorts of things -- twenty ways to balance your budget, the top ten foreign films of 2010, etc. Lists have become prevalent in the realm of social media as well, particularly on Facebook. Users are often subject to pleas from friends to list their top 10 favorite books or 15 albums that changed your life. In 2500 Random Things About Me Too, Matias Viegener explores the nature of the Facebook list and its potential (or lack thereof) to tell a story.
Viegener's book, as the title suggests, consists of exactly twenty-five hundred listed items, divided by twenty-five into one hundred chapters. The items that comprise these lists are memories, observations, questions, factual statements, and abstract sentences seemingly devoid of context. Much of Viegener's writing in these lists deals with the nature of the lists themselves. Self-reflexivity abounds, and the reader, who naturally looks for a narrative pattern, is constantly tripped up in an enjoyable way by Viegener's refusal to adhere to a narrative structure, as in the following two items: "There's nothing very random about these lists. I edit them, though, to seem random," and "They are randomesque."
While Viegener's book has its predecessors in list-driven memoirs like Joe Brainard's I Remember, Viegener refuses to grant his book the status of memoir. Every item in every list was initially written as a status update on Viegener's Facebook account, and at a certain point they were collected by scrolling in reverse and grouped into lists of twenty-five items. Viegener is every...