1,227 QI Facts To Blow Your Socks Off by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson and James Harkin
|1,227 QI Facts To Blow Your Socks Off by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson and James Harkin|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: The first book in what has become a brilliant trivia series, now repackaged and in lovely paperback.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: May 2016|
|Publisher: Faber and Faber|
|External links: Author's website|
Sweeping statements are brilliant. Well, they certainly provide the best way to deliver trivia. There are no rivers in Saudi Arabia is all you need to know. Casanova was a librarian would suffer from editorialising. The inventor of 'best before' dates, originally for milk, was Al Capone's brother, Ralph may be longer, but dammit it's just as great to know. This book – and the whole series it spawned – is full of things that are great to know.
It's worth knowing, too, that some of the entrants are quite infuriating – this book alienates on page one, and only alerts the writer of rash buyers' reviews that all the sources and derivations for the facts can be found online on page 310. The series, in my mind, has only got better – even if more and more facts have been used as it has gone along it hasn't dried out – for the simple reason that now the pages provide some weirdly wonderful poetic link from one bizarre subject to another. Here there are relevant compilations of facts (things to do with 8s on page eight, and so on) but I don't think the flow ever got us through all the four paragraphs that every page holds.
That is it as regards formula – a generally witty and petite introduction, hundreds of pages of material for the trivia buff, the detail of where to go for evidence, and the dense index. Here some of the trivia is known (especially the one about Thomas Cook is, if you live within a day trip of Leicester), some relies on the names of those very weird phobias and suchlike that it seems anyone can devise for their own amusement, some is unsavoury (of the toothbrush up penis kind), and I dare say by now some of this, by dint of being four years old, is out-dated, but a lot is worth remembering. The fact remains I haven't got a cat in hell's chance of remembering half of what I want to, which is why these books are such good fun to browse, share – and keep. There is enough value in any of the books in this series to make them seem as new every time you turn to them.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
1,234 QI Facts to Leave You Speechless by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson and James Harkin is the fourth and at time of writing most recent volume in the series.
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