John Lloyd, The Book of General Ignorance
A serpentine collection of wild trivia tailor-made for iPod shuffle
Cats are cool and all, but — as the Johns Lloyd and Mitchinson point out in this serpentine collection of wild trivia — persistent curiosity is a distinctly human trait. “Moths and aardvarks don’t look up at the night sky and wonder what the twinkly bits are. People do.” From there The Book of General Ignorance grand-marshals a parade of hard facts, strange factoids and ridiculous factettes — all true and most in direct opposition to common knowledge. Camels have fat in their humps, not water. Peanuts aren’t nuts. The enthusiastic Brits narrate via tag-team, sometimes using silly puns and wordplay to segue to the next ripped-from-the-ether bit of minutiae. Why the tallest mountains aren’t necessarily the highest. Where the most tigers live. How many more salesmen die on the job than policemen. The best height from which to drop a cat. (That’ll show ‘em who’s curiouser.) It’s not likely you’ll absorb it all on one listen, and that’s part of the fun. Put the audiobook on shuffle on your way to the pub quiz and hope some unassuming little factette stays lodged in your mind. I, for one, will never forget the story of Mike, the chicken who lived two years without a head. Poor Mike.