1,339 QI Facts To Make Your Jaw Drop by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson and James Harkin
|1,339 QI Facts To Make Your Jaw Drop by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson and James Harkin|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: We know John Major didn't succeed in his intention to become a bus conductor, but if the very fact he tried in the first place was new to you, this book will be a novel surprise.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 368||Date: May 2016|
|Publisher: Faber and Faber|
|External links: Author's website|
A spermologer is a collector of trivia. Just that sentence tells you a lot – we're once more in the realm of the curt, succinct approach to the world's information and oddities. It says more, however – beyond the weirdness of the word is the obvious necessity for the word to exist – without people that could be called collectors of trivia you would not need the term. And rest assured, there are currently few people that stand as better spermologers than the chief QI elves.
If you haven't come across it before, you can rest assured that this series of books (of which this is two out of (at time of writing) four) is of a very high quality. And so it should be – of course, trivia in the best of hands is nothing like being trivial. It's vitally important to some, and exceedingly relevant, depending on where and how you live. So 80% of front-page newspaper articles are written by men may not impinge on all our everydayness, but it's pertinent to the world in general and some people specifically. In 1980, Saddam Hussein was awarded the key to the city of Detroit is a snapshot look at just how bizarre history can become. When he died, Dr Atkins (of the best-selling Atkins diet) weighed over 18 stones is a salutary lesson to us all.
As usual, there is a small sense of the book being able to become out of date, although a lot of this book is of the blunt George IV had a pet giraffe style that won't need revising. It has to be on record here that this was first published in 2013, and is one of a range of paperback reissues the whole series is getting. What was surprising was how much seemed to echo the first book, often seeming almost to contradict the older volume. It's probably my ephemeral memory, but the introduction here does point to this book being slightly built on the rubble of what formed the first. But to the merit of these pages, that does mean the whole thing has been finely crafted, where possible, to link everything in salient fashion, disguising the random nature that it could have had, and that the universe demonstrably has. It even has a full page detailing trivia concerning its own, random-seeming, title number.
Once again there is a website listing all the sources – it shows a double-page replica of the book but with none of the contents, only live links to the Internet. As a result of browsing that some people will scoff at seeing a certain open-source encyclopaedia being one of the references (a certain open-source encyclopaedia that gains six new articles every second), but the authority of these books is to my mind sterling. That may well make me a spermologer – although if there's a specific collector of trivia books, I'll settle for that.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
Beat the chance of these books being out of date with the latest.
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