Jan. 8th, 2016

blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
2016 Book 2, The Noticeably Stouter QI Book of General Ignorance, read as a book, Christmas gift from Mr B

Edit: the lovely [livejournal.com profile] kayoko has reminded me that the main point of a book review is for the potential reader to discover whether or not they might enjoy the book. Which makes this one wholly useless (aside from the bunny anecdote) if you don't know what QI is. It's a British TV show hosted until now by Stephen Fry which looks at the 'facts' of the world and dissects them. For example, How Many Wives Did Henry VIII have? To which the classic answer is 6, but 2, 4 and 5 are also correct, since his 'marriage' to Anne of Cleves was very very tenuous, more of a flirty note, which would drop him back to 5. Or you could take out all the anullments, which would drop him back to 2. Or instead remove only the ones that had no lasting legal status, which would see Anne of Cleves off the hook again and Kathryn Howard's definitely out, poor wee muppet, which gives you 4, and leaves all the wives who produced heirs and the wonderful Katherine Parr who was married to him when he died.

The book is nearly 400 pages of such stuff, ranging across topics from natural history to technology, all treated with a pedantry that is in turns ridiculous and inspiring. Here ends the edit.

I very much enjoyed reading through this, but didn't learn a great deal. Which worries me. I know that, thanks to my job, my brain is filled with random crap, but I had hoped that in its darkest corners the technical details of sequences and series might still be lurking. Alas, it appears that of the familiarity of much of this material suggests that all ability to do maths is gone and that instead a pub's worth of trivia is taking up valuable space.

This is not to say it was a wasted read, even the stuff I knew was informative, engaging and at the very least, the sort of thing you feel very comfortable nodding and saying 'Yes, you see people just don't know that, but it's obvious once you do' to as you read. And there were new news! The paradoxical frog. I love it! And I did not know that Napoleon's greatest defeat was at the hands, sorry, paws of rabbits. Apparently he was invited to a shooting party. Wanting to make sure his honoured guests were successful bunny murderers, the owner of the country house ordered in thousands of rabbits. Hand-raised rabbits. Who thought Napoleon looked like the guy who fed them. And mugged him. That will never not be funny.

I had also forgotten that the first modern Olympics were held in Shropshire.

In all it was another great holiday book, easy, amusing and interesting. Will Keep in Loo for Guests.

Sometime very soon I need to post about my love for Bluestone 42. Which is epic.

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