More correctly titled “you die horribly and it probably involves plasma”, this light hearted and fun read explores serious answers to silly scientific questions. The footnotes are definitely the best bit. A really enjoyable read.
This is the second medical trivia book by The Leyner and Goldberg duo. The first was Why do men have nipples, which I read in June. This book suffers from the same flaws as the first — its light weight and doesn’t take itself very seriously. That means that often they avoid answering serious questions, and just make a twee joke instead. It also has those annoying IM transcripts, which appear to just be a way to fill up space.
Then again, I did finish the book, so it can’t have been the worst book I have ever read.
I seem to be on a bit of a trivia book kick, which is at least partially motivated by getting through all my Christmas presents so I can pack them into a box and move to a different country. This book was written as part of the production of the very excellent BBC quiz show Quite Interesting and is quite a contrast from the extremely average Why Do Men Have Nipples that I just finished reading. This book feels well researched, and is on par with Why Don’t Penguin’s Feet Freeze, although the style is quite different (the New Scientist book offers multiple answers for each question, and is written by real scientists in the fields discussed, this book flows as one manuscript). I suspect it helps here to have seen the quiz show, because many of the other reviews I have seen online complain about the style of the book, which reads in much the same manner as Stephen Fry’s commentary during the program. If you’re familiar with the format, then the book flows quite nicely (whereas if you haven’t, you might end up why the book jumps around so much). I really liked this book.
This book is pretty light weight. The font is big, and there is lots of “chrome” on the pages, which conspire to make a book which would probably be only 100 pages in a normal font more like 200 pages. The book also suffers from trying a little too hard to be funny, with numerous interruptions for the authors to tell you how terribly clever they are. Its annoying quite quickly. The answers also aren’t as detailed and believable as those found to similar questions in “Why don’t penguin’s feet freeze? (and 114 other questions)“, the New Scientist book I just finished reading. I’d say go with the New Scientist book if you’re buying something, but read this if you’re given it.
This book was really fun. Its a collection of 115 questions sent into New Scientist magazine, and the answers provided by other readers. Sometimes the answers and sarcastic or funny, and sometimes they are incredibly detailed. I found this book really interesting to read, and I certainly picked up some trivial to annoy my wife along the way. Excellent.
I’m going to have to be honest with this book and say that I haven’t read all of it yet. Its basically a dictionary and I don’t tend to read those cover to cover. On the other hand, I have read about 10% of this book so far, and do intend to read it all.
This book is great. The content is interesting, well laid out, and excellently written. That’s probably made a lot easier by how interesting the content is — the stories behind various works tend to be short and novel, which is fun. The book is also useful — it’s already ended an office debate over the origin of the word “hooker”.