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Schott's Original Miscellany Hardcover – 2003


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Hardcover, 2003
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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582343497
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582343495
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 1.8 x 20.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #762,909 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By plw on Jan. 11 2004
Format: Hardcover
The other day my husband and I were discussing religion and could not remember the name of the blue elephant Hindu god. My mother visited us the weekend before Christmas. The conversation turned to Muses and Mom could not remember the names of the nine muses. A friend knitted a beautiful scarf of blue Italian yarn for me. She gave me the yarn label saying she didn't know if Italian washing symbols were different from U.S. symbols.
You may think, "Interesting questions but what do any of these things have to do with one another?" They have absolutely nothing to do with one another but I found the answer to all these questions and so many more in a little book called Schott's Original Miscellany by Ben Schott.
This little book has more esoteric information in it than I ever thought I would need. It is also a great conversation starter. I checked it out before Christmas thinking visiting family might find it interesting. My seventeen-year-old nephew browsed the pages for about an hour. He would share a bit of whimsical information such as how to say I love you in forty-three languages or all the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner.
In short if you need to know how to tie a sari or decipher cockney rhyming slang, curious about blood group compatibility and hey just what are the rules of dueling? This is the book for you. You can impress your friends and co-workers with bits of trivia and information they didn't know they needed.
Every wonder what the winning word in the 1951 National Spelling Bee Finals was? I suggest you pick up Mr. Schott's little book and find out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By fml66 on Jan. 3 2004
Format: Hardcover
One reviewer opines that this book is of limited use because the compiler collected only what he found interesting. By that standard, Johnson's Dictionary would get a poor Amazon review.
Although I can agree with other reviewers that there is some inconsequential fluff here, I found this book highly entertaining and mesmerizing, even if some of the arcana in it was of little direct interest to me. I loved the chart of US Presidents that included not only their ages when they took office, but whether they were left-handed, red-headed, whether they had facial hair, and whether they died on July 4. I loved the list of unusual deaths of Burmese kings (one, Nandabayin, laughed himself to death when a visiting European merchant told him that Venice was a free state without a king). I loved the recitation of the British Riot Act of 1714. I loved the list of the 33 degrees of Freemasonry hierarchy. I loved the schematic diagram of Dante's Inferno.
What use is this book to you if you're not a reference librarian or a triviaholic? Virtually none. So what? I loved it, and only wish it were much, much longer. Almanac length would be a start.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paul Donovan on Dec 22 2003
Format: Hardcover
"Schott's Originally Miscellany" is packed full of pointless trivia - why would one ever need to know the names of different icebergs in the normal course of events, or how Burmese kings died? This is, of course, what makes this so compelling to read. The danger - and it is a big danger - is that you bore friends and family to distraction with remarks preceded by "did you know..." as you dip into this volume. The threat to conversation and family sanity notwithstanding, this is a "must-have" book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Rieback on Nov. 22 2003
Format: Hardcover
If you are looking for a reference book in which you can quickly look up the population of Brazil or find a complete list of Pulitzer Prize winners, then "Schott's Original Miscellany" is not the volume you seek. On the other hand, if you're looking for a book you can pick up, open to a random page, and unearth some fascinating tidbits of trivia, then you're in the right place.
Imbued with humor, sprinkled with quotations, and arranged in completely arbitrary order, this quaint compendium of facts makes for edifying, absorbing, and essential (according to Ben Schott) reading. Although the author has taken great pains to ensure the correctness of the facts, he admits that some of the trivia he presents has been disputed; he provides a list of variations and disputations. There is a self-referential page with statistical information about the book itself. There is also an index, although the reader will not be referring to it often, if at all. Originally published in England, this edition has been updated with American trivia, but it still contains such British facts as cricket fielding positions, British poets laureate, and the order of succession to the English throne.
Move over bathroom readers... this book is far more entertaining. I recommend you buy a copy and keep it handy at all times. You never know when you'll need to find some "Q" words with no "u" or a list of Elizabeth Taylor's husbands!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Manley on Nov. 12 2003
Format: Hardcover
What more can you ask for when you have a book that you can sit down browse through and read again and again? This unique collection of facts and trivia will keep you entralled for many hours. All kinds of odd little facts can be found in this book. Who knew that one book would have the knights of the round table, roman numerals, who sang at the superbowl, and so much more all in one place?
I love to tuck this book into my book purse and pull out and read whenever I have to wait or have a bit of time to kill. The information is concise and this is the type of book you can pick up or put down at any time. I highly recommend this book for the person who likes odd little facts, or someone that likes unusual books. Its fun and compact, and you are likely to go to this book again and again.
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