Any Question Answered by AQA 63336

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Any Question Answered by AQA 63336

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Category: Trivia
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A selection of the questions sent to AQA and their answers covers a variety of subjects with wit and elegance.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 160 Date: November 2007
Publisher: Profile
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1846680823

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Did you know that if you have a question, any question, you can text AQA on 63336 and their team of dedicated researchers will find the answer and text it back to you? It will cost you just £1 and AQA have now answered over nine million questions. That's a lot of questions and the answers didn't just disappear into the ether. AQA have them all stored away.

One big improvement on last year's book is that the questions have all been divided up into neat chapters and it's easy to find the fact that you want afterwards. I'd have loved an index, but that's me being picky and rather lazy. You want advice on sex, love and life or if your interest is in etymology, origins and debunking myths, or any other subject then it's all here in this book which really is small enough to slip into a pocket or a handbag.

I love the idea of being able to say 'I love you' in binary code but I don't think I know anyone who would understand it! Perhaps I might have more luck in Greece which is the most sexually active country in the world with adults having sex 138 times a year on average. I sensed a little desperation from the questioner who asked why - if women were so good at multi-tasking - they couldn't have sex and a headache at the same time. Unfortunately a headache isn't defined as a 'task'. Every chapter has a similar selection of questions and answers, ranging from the serious to the light-hearted and there will be something to interest everyone.

What struck me was the quality of the people who answer the questions. They sometimes have to deal with badly-phrased pieces of text-speak and return an answer with perfect grammar and spelling, elegant phraseology and wit - and all in a hundred and fifty or so characters. Think about it - it isn't easy. Anyone looking for examples of how to give concise and clear answers would do well to look at the examples in this book. I was mightily impressed.

You also get some celebrity questions and answers this year. Stephen Fry's definition of the meaning of life quoted the medieval vision of a bird flying from the cold darkness briefly through a loud warm room and then out again into the freezing night. It impressed but didn't cheer. I preferred Alain de Botton's thought that happiness is best achieved by pursuing a goal. I just wish the celebrities had restricted their answers to a hundred and fifty or so characters - it would have been interesting to see how they coped!

So, why only three stars? Last year it took me ages to read the AQA book, not because I'm a slow reader but because I couldn't resist reading snippets out to people. I lost count of the number of emails I sent telling people interesting facts. I didn't get that this year. I had the feeling that this was a book produced by a committee without an overall aim, with everyone finally agreeing on the questions which didn't offend anyone, but in a book like this - a stocking filler for the Christmas market - I want to be shocked. I want to laugh out loud, be amazed at someone's audacity, cry over someone's ignorance - and I didn't. It's good. It's a nice little book. It's just that it could have been so much better.

Come on AQA. In your archives you must have the raw material for the book that would outsell all other Christmas books. I want something with a theme which pulls it together. I want the howlers that you must get as questions - or the howlers you've sent as answers, because I'm sure the odd one or two must have slipped through the net. Do that and it might slip my mind that I thought, just for a moment or two, that this wasn't a book I was reading, but an advertisement for the service that you provide. If it is, then you're to be congratulated as it does the job perfectly.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

For the definitive Christmas stocking filler The Bookbag thinks that you really can't do any better than How to Fossilise Your Hamster. It's wonderful to read over Christmas and there are experiments in there that will entertain and educate all the family for months to come.

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Buy Any Question Answered by AQA 63336 at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Any Question Answered by AQA 63336 at


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Jill said:

I honestly don't think there was any sense of going for safety in the process of selecting answers for inclusion - but it's a shame if that's how it's ended up looking, because there really are some laugh-out-loud talents working for AQA. Perhaps think of a different way to pick for next year? I love it that you were looking for audacity though! Brilliant word, and exactly the right one to aim for. (Goes off cringing as even a very minor part of this year's "committee").

Sue replied:

There were smiles - but I wanted to laugh until the tears ran down my face and I'm pretty certain you must have the material tucked away somewhere.