50 best cult books. I think a definition for cult book should be that it is inherently not a bestseller, well-known, or well-regarded by critics. Cult books should be like cults–inspiring fanatical devotion by the few and derision from the mainstream. Take for instance Star Trek, the works of Joss Whedon, or Neil Gaiman. These nerdy and fannish topics might make them cult, but because so many people know of them, they aren’t. Besides, the mere appearance on some list in a major publication immediately renders the listed books un-cult.
I also recently watched two documentaries: Wordplay and Helvetica. Although both of them talk about words, the tone of each is vastly different. Wordplay, a film about The New York Times’ crossword puzzle editor and other crossword enthusiasts, reminded me a lot of Word Wars and Spellbound. Geeky and charming, it’s easy to get sucked into the crossword mania that famous and non-famous alike indulge in. As for Helvetica, well, the documentary as a whole was very stylish. I thought the history bit on Helvetica’s development was interesting. But those interviews with graphic designers–oh geez. Whether they were ranting about Helvetica’s conformity and “pro-war” image like streetside preachers or waxing poetical like enraptured lovers about the typeface’s simplicity and modernity, I just heard pretentious babble. What about the opinion of the average person on the street? Oh right–I got the impression from those designers that they think that regular people just blindly use the default because they’re totally ignorant of art.