What is the meaning of this expression in the context:

To write about somebody else's life is to give up your own, to spend your time with his friends and associates, to pore over his mail and bills and laundry lists.

Thank you
A laundry list here is a trivial or mundane detail of the biographee's life (as are the mail and bills, for the most part).
I'm pretty sure it just means that the person writing the biography would have to get very close to the subject, and that it may help to get to know their daily routine.

I don't think, however, it is to be taken literally; it's more likely there just to emphasise how dedicated one has to be to take on a writing project about something so personal.

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Thank you both. I have to translate it and I found it mens an item by item list. So you think I definitely shouldn't think of it as literary laundry list?
Definitely not.
Thank you very much.
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Well he does mean it literally. A laundry list is a laundry list. The irony is in his saying that one must pore over it. He's just trying to emphasise the lengths to which one must go to know a person.

I agree with Nyarlathotep - in this example, I think it really means a literal laundry list, which would be a list a person makes of the items he takes to the laundry, so he can be sure he gets everything back. In other contexts, it can just mean a detailed list. ("Hitchhiker has a laundry list of bugs to be fixed in the new version of English Forums."

There's a science fiction classic called A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller Jr., about a post-nuclear-holocaust religion in which monks study "holy relics" of Saint Leibowitz, including his (actual) laundry list.
Thank you both
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