Having just missed one hundred books in the first year of The Book Challenge, in 2010, I made the full tonne. Still reading, but without the challenge, take a look at the reviews for the books that I have read this year.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Book 7 - The Book of Fascinating Facts

Book - The Book of Fascinating Facts
Publisher - John Blake Publishing
Year - 2007
Genre - Toilet Book
Bought for me by Claire Hogan (sorry, by Secret Santa. shhhhhhh!)


I love fact books. I have loads of them, and can never get enough of the useless trivia that they give. I love to start a sentence with 'Did you know...' and equally I love to hear really interesting snippets back.

However, this was a book that I didn't enjoy. I will give it its due and admit that there was the odd thing in here that was interesting, but there was an awful lot of oft repeated stuff in here, and worse than that, things that were actively wrong.

When you are reading a book that is designed purely to give you pub ammo, the biggest sin that can be committed is to put something in that is wrong. Pub bores such as myself receive enough bad vibes as it is, without the added problem of introducing a new fact and being shot down with the comment 'That's rubbish! You are wrong!"

I noted dozens of examples in this book, and in doing so intended to note a couple down here. However I completely forgot all of them so decided to have a delve to see if I could find one. I didn't have to look far - in actual fact, there was one in the blurb. Here was my reaction.

Rubbish book - 'Did you know, Marilyn Monroe has six toes on her left foot?'
Me - 'That's rubbish! You are wrong!"

This is a stupid theory based upon a single photograph that has been proven wrong a million times over. In fifteen seconds I managed to Google up the Snopes entry to prove it as well. This was apparently a job that no one involved in this book was capable of doing before deciding to charge a tenner for it.

I am ranting now, and while this is annoying, would probably not deserve the scorn that I am laying upon this book were it not for one particular chapter - Joke Corner.

Some trivia books contain joke sections. I am fine with this, I like a good joke as much as anyone else, and some of the jokes here are great. However, as I read them I started to feel that I had heard some of them before, and not in the way you have standards such as chickens crossing roads, and men walking into bars. I could remember them being said by particular comedians I had seen, usually in Edinburgh. Just as I was feeling that I must be being silly, I hit the joke 'My body has changed so much since I've been here. My stomach is fat from the booze and food, my legs are skinny from walking up all the hills. I've decided ET wasn't from outer space, he was from Edinburgh.'

There is no problem with using choice jokes from comedians in books like this, but I was disproportionately enraged by the fact that no credit was given! The Edinburgh reference is what convinced me that someone has written this for their stage show, and it has been pinched here with no name or even acknowledgement that anyone other than the writers of this book had written it.

So again, I have recklessly utilised Google to discover this is a Wil Anderson joke. It isn't that funny, but at least it has now been acknowledged!

1/10

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