Inventory: 16 Films Featuring Manic Pixie Dream Girls, 10 Great Songs Nearly Ruined by Saxophone, and 100 More Obsessively Specific Pop-Culture Lists
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Inventory: 16 Films Featuring Manic Pixie Dream Girls, 10 Great Songs Nearly Ruined by Saxophone, and 100 More Obsessively Specific Pop-Culture Lists

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  769 ratings  ·  59 reviews
Each week, the writers of The A.V. Club issue a slightly slanted pop-culture list filled with challenging opinions (Is David Bowie's "Young Americans" nearly ruined by saxophone?) and fascinating facts. Exploring twenty-four great films too painful to watch twice, fourteen tragic movie-masturbation scenes, eighteen songs about crappy cities, and much more, Inventory combin...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by Scribner (first published September 21st 2009)
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I like lists, but not the ones that go

1. Take cats to vets for vaccinations
2. Sort out problem with drains
3. find receipt for broken dishwasher

No, the kind of lists I like are "obsessively specific pop culture lists", of which this book is full. Now there are a few really silly ones in this amusing book such as -

20 not so good movies based on good books (surely these AV guys know that you can make a great movie out of a not-great book but hardly ever a great movie out of a great book, it's a rul...more
I love books of lists, especially lists of stuff that I am likely to know about. While a book of lists featuring obscure 19th century European novels or popular algebra equations might not fire me up as much as one, which features movies & music, I'd still probably like it well enough.
In honor of the format, I present my own totally random list of why I liked this book:

1.) Rather than just being a collection of lists, there is a cornucopia of worthlesss trivia you can annoy your co-workers with (Kurosawa, Eastwood, Altman and Sidney Lumet all made well-regarded films after they turned 70, Risky Business and Titanic had alternate endings, say--Judgement Night did have a good soundtrack, thanks for reminding me.)

2.) Snark has become so omnipresent its almost more clever to be s...more
I picked this book up on a whim, from a remainder table at Powell's City of Books. Some of my favorite reads of the last 10 years have come from there. This isn't one of them.

If you read the Onion at all, you're probably familiar with the A.V. Club, their features on media and pop culture. Those pieces, like the rest of the Onion, are usually entertaining. This book is a collection of lists, most of which include commentary on each item, explaining its inclusion. Some of the lists are interestin...more

If you like the Onion AV Club, specifically their Inventory feature, you'll love this book. If you've never read their stuff or the feature, well, they make an inventory. Ridiculously specific inventories, like "Films that are greatly improved by reading the book they're based on" or "Products for Lazy Americans" and so on. The serious lists can be quite interesting; the comedic lists can be quite funny. The only real downside is, this is Onion AV Club groupthink at it's finest, so expect a lot...more
This book probably would have been slightly better had I not read it cover to cover AND as an e-book. It's the kind of book you leisurely pick up and read a list while "doing your business". It's entertaining in spots, but at times seems redundant even though it's a completely new list. Because it's by the editors of The Onion's A.V. Club, it tends to lean towards some obscure things at times, most especially when they talk music.

Most disappointing are the contributions by celebrities. Complete...more
Another clever offering, funny but usually right in its satire, from The Onion (or in this case, it's spinoff The A.V. Club).

So many funny lists here: I particularly liked the lists of ways you can be sure a sitcom is bad, the best rude noises in the cartoons of Mad Magazine's Don Martin, and the Dr. Seuss characters that sound like sex toys. I guess this just brought out the teenage boy in me, but my wife enjoyed it too.

Sometimes the pop culture references here are too new and uber-hip for my t...more
Gretchen Alice
I did not get anywhere near finishing this book, but it's not really the sort that's meant to be finished. It gets four stars simply for accomplishing what it sets out to do, which is write obsessively specific pop culture lists. Written with all the verve and snark you'd expect from the A.V. Club (and its parent, The Onion), Inventory relies on the OCD-like mindset of us pop culture junkies. Did I really need a list of "16 Film and TV Characters Who Know Exactly What They'd Like To Eat"? No, bu...more
Syntactical Disruptorize
I mostly read these columns in the original. Some of the lists are overlong and the authors spend too much time establishing their hipster cred, but overall it's an amusing look at various cross-sections of music, film, and literature.
I think the best way to read this book is in front of a computer with Google at the ready. I think that's how Inventory as a blog post works best, as they can embed clips and links. So as a book, some of the fun is lost in print. Then again, maybe I'm just not "with it" enough to know all the often obscure(ish?) music, movie, book and TV references.

However, I still had a lot of fun flipping through this book, and I can definitely say I've expanded my pop culture media knowledge. Not sure if tha...more
I am a huge fan of many features of the Onion AV Club, and Inventory is one of them. So it's no real surprise that I really enjoyed this book. Some of them I remembered from the website, but many were new. There are some guest lists - some kinda stupid, some, like Weird Al Yankovic's brilliant entry rivetingly detailed - but mostly it's a lot of the Onion's usual stuff. I check out a lot of new-to-me music from these lists, and occasionally get some other direction for pop culture consumption.

Juan Rodríguez
In this new online world, we are used to reading lists. But these go normally as "best of", "worst of" or combinations. The people of the AV Club list them as "songs about the Apocalypse", "lame horror movie foes", "literary gimmicks" and such. Each page is a discovery, and it aches you for more. I love it.


En esta era en línea, estamos acostumbrados a leer listas. Pero ellas normalmente son del tipo "las mejores", "las peores" o una combinación. La gente del blog AV Club tiene listas como "ca...more
Tim Cusmano
Entertaining coffee table fare. Nothing special, hence the 3 stars. If you love pop culture, worth getting for cheap.
DeAnna Rigney
This is a fun and quirky book of lists, which as the original Ms. Listy Borden, I can’t help but adore. These are not average lists but as the title tells us they are “obsessively specific pop-culture lists.” Some of the lists included are as follows: 8 great films made by directors after they turned 70, 22 great songs inspired by heinous crimes, 16-plus books based around odd literary conceits, etc. There are even guest lists from the likes of Amy Sedaris and Zach Galifianakis, as well as other...more
Amar Pai
The Onion AV Club's pop culture lists are always entertaining. But their first book is disappointingly slim. Given the immensity of the AV club inventory archives, why such a paltry offering? It could have been a slam dunk had they taken the time to publish a longer, denser tome. Instead what you get is an unsatisfyingly quick read that doesn't come close to the fun of browsing their online archives.

Also, the book suffers a lot relative to the website due to lack of embedded mp3s/videos. Turns o...more
Jen Johnson
i don't know what it is with me and books of lists lately, but i think i'm about burnt out! this one is mostly referencing movies and rock music, but some of the list subjects were pretty funny and specific, and i made my own lists of new books to read or movies to see. there are also a few 'guest lists' from folks like amy sedaris and zach galafianakis (hope i spelled that right).
entertaining and slightly informational, but i think it's the last of the list-type books that i will be readig for...more
Lots of fun ... I guess I didn't completely read it, since I couldn't bring myself to finish the list of Great Movies Too Painful to Watch Twice (too painful for me to read once)... but read the other lists, all of them interesting. The book was great and exposed me to a wide range of information about pop culture. I realized (as I already knew) that I have very little depth of knowledge about music...
A great book to flip through and enjoy.
I don't regularly read The Onion, but saw this at the library and figured I'd give it a try. I wouldn't sit down and read anything like this straight through. It seems like it's better for flipping around in until you see something you're interested in and can skip over other stuff. Noting earth shatteringly awesome, but entertaining for the hour or two I spent flipping around it and reading it aloud to the other person in the room.
Seriously funny. This book has made everyone in my family (each with their own varying pop culture tastes) laugh out loud on multiple occasions. Plus it provides me with endless additions to my movies to watch/books to read/albums to listen to lists.

The AV Club's website is incomparable when it comes to witty and irreverant writing on pop culture, and this captures the website's sensibility and content perfectly.
Ok. So this is a book you just have to own. Maybe the lists are online. Doesn't matter. Buy this book. It's brilliant. It deserves to be read and reread. Plus, sometimes it is late at night and you can't sleep … so you flip it open to a random page. And then you stay up all night reading it and it doesn't matter that you didn't sleep because you read this book and you are happy.
This was a cute quick read that contained lists of various pop culture ideas. Some of the lists had very odd topics such as Movies That were about People who Tried to be Funny. There were a few lists I did not enjoy because I didn't know any of the subject matter. Overall, a good read but its very hard to compare this to a full blown novel.
It's not life-changing or anything, but it has a great mix of serious list and silly ones. And some very funny guest lists. The writing quality is a little higher than the average ones posted to the site as well, since they can't rely on video or audio clips to get their point across and have to lay out an explanation. Good stuff.
Jennifer Patrick
I love a list so this automatically appealed to me. I have added loads of fun facts to my repetoire of usless and innane factoids that I can spew out randomly. Only real nerds seem to enjoy it sadly. I particularly enjoyed the list of "15 ridiculous lies perpetuated by John Hughes movies."
It was a good idea for a book, but most of the lists were either dull or interesting but hardly 'obsessively specific.' The quest writers weren't used effectively either.
The Kurt Vonnegut quotes section was probably the best part of the book, but then again, hardly obsessively specific.
Absolutely love this book. I've an unusual love for anything in the form of lists. You must be fluent in obscure pop culture and know your classic movies (both good and bad.) but a quick read and overall entertaining book.
Benjamin Sobieck
The AV Club is known for these kinds of specific lists. This isn't a book you can sit down and read through in a day. It's better for reading in bits and pieces. Perfect for trivia buffs, pop culture geeks and hipster wannabes.
Great fun to browse through. Lists range from 1 to 4 pages, making for easy dip in and out when you're short on time. It's also easy to lose track of time and find yourself laughing out loud as you read it cover to cover.
This book is awesome and not just because I and a lot of my friends helped write it. It's just generally great if you love pop culture and laughing and fun and life. You like those things, right?
Joseph Eddy
If you like lists (and I do) and pop culture (check), then you'll LOVE this book. If nothing else, it has introduced me to good music that I likely wouldn't have had contact with, otherwise.
Awesome and inspiring fun... just wish I'd read/seen more of the books and movies referred to. A great book to pick up and thumb through for some silly, scathing, snickery good times.
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