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Ever wonder how one ties a sari? Or who makes the Queen of England's pork sausages? How about which three films managed to take all five of the top Oscar awards (picture, director, actress, actor and screenplay), or which Burmese kings died "curious deaths"? Answers to these questions and hundreds more can be found in this delightfully eclectic collection of facts, diagrams, quotations and symbols. Charmingly designed (with its various typefaces, columns and occasional graphics, it looks a little like an old-fashioned almanac), Schott's slim volume was an unexpected bestseller in England. Now the 28-year-old British designer-photographer has updated the book for American readers. Among its additions, the North American version includes a chart of cattle branding symbols, a list of notable Canadians and a description of the Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Internationally essential trivia-such as the recipe for a martini, instructions for tying a bow tie, and a selection of quotations from Dr. Johnson-has, of course, been preserved. Schott declares that the purpose of his little book is to "gather the flotsam and jetsam of the conversational tide." Readers may find its smile-provoking pages absolutely addictive. Photos, drawings.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Adult/High School-Of the three definitions of "miscellany" quoted in this quirky, but attractive little book, probably the most applicable is "a collection, a medley, or mixture" (OED). Schott has assembled a wide range of facts, diagrams, lists, charts, photographs, and even a "Schematic of Dante's Inferno." Eminently browsable, this slim volume provides information as varied as a list of "The Untimely Deaths of Musicians" and photographs of cloud types. From the catalog of golf strokes to the list of the deadly sins and cardinal virtues, the topics range widely, from useful information such as facts about the American presidents and English monarchs to trivia including chat-room abbreviations, emoticons, and the names of people who appeared on the 1967 cover of the Beatles's Sgt. Pepper album. There is an extremely useful index, which is necessary for this apparently random collection of stuff. Teens will be fascinated by this great source for fun and, frequently, edification.
Susan H. Woodcock, Fairfax County Public Library, Chantilly, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.