June 25, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Super Pop!

Super Pop! Pop Culture Top Ten Lists to Help You Win at Trivia, Survive in the Wild, and Make It Through the Holidays
By Daniel Harmon
Available now from Zest Books
Review copy

I love pop culture lists. You can bet I read A.V. Club's Inventory every week (and own the hard copy book).  I knew I'd love SUPER POP! as soon as Daniel Harmon praised Inventory in the Introduction.  (Okay, it was even earlier, when the Acknowledgements noted the new canon of the Criterion Collection and NYRB Classics.)

SUPER POP! is divided into five sections: Be More Interesting, Get Smart(er), Stop Doing It Wrong, Find Happiness, and Survive the Holidays.  Despite the books subtitle, I think the only bit that will help you survive in the wild is the note that you can sort of learn how to build an igloo from Nanook of the North.  But that's okay.  You'll definitely win at trivia.  Harmon's writing about each item on the lists is detailed, interesting, and funny.

Best of all is what's on the lists.  I have so much I want to watch, read, listen to, consume.  Every time I disagreed with an entry, there were two more I agreed with completely - and more often than I expected - one I'd never heard of.  Harmon doesn't limit himself.  There are podcasts and twitter feeds and YouTube videos  and apps mingling with experimental films and classic literature and Stephen Hawking's A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME.  Also awesome, there's a real range of creators.  This isn't just pop culture of white dudes.

I don't recommend reading all of the lists at once.  It would be overwhelming.  But each list is a wonderful, intelligent introduction to a slice of pop culture.  Harmon makes unconventional choices, and the juxtaposition of the expected with the results is wonderful.  And my movie queue definitely hates Harmon because it was already pretty long.

I do recommend SUPER POP! to anyone even slightly interested in culture.  It's quick, engaging, and shows just how crazy and broad the world of art available to us is.  There's some good educational choices too, particularly in Get Smart(er).  I didn't realize I was missing out on fun linguistics and physics lectures. 

Thanks to Zest Books I have a prize pack to give away that includes SUPER POP!, a SUPER POP! button, and some Zest Books swag.  Just enter in the Rafflecopter below.  Be sure to check out the other tour stops and a few excerpts at the link.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This book sounds so cool! I'm glad to hear it's a diverse group of creators and I am a huge fan of lists (pretty much the only reason I hit up Buzzfeed every day). This book sounds full of win! Thanks for sharing :-)

    1. Buzzfeed does have fun lists.

      Lists are just the best, aren't they? Fun in and of themselves and they point you to cool things.

  2. I'm definitely looking forward to this one! I am a bit of a trivia fiend, and one of my weaknesses is pop culture. Thanks for the tip on not reading it all at once - I hear you about being overwhelmed.

    1. I love trivia too, but never win Trivial Pursuit. Darn that sports section.

  3. This looks so cool! Pop culture tends to be my best subject in trivia but it never hurts to get more ammunition to crush people in trivia games ;)

    1. Maybe you, I, and Cecelia can team up to crush people at pub quiz!


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