Friday, September 24, 2010

As a huge fan of Stephen Fry, I was excited to discover the QI TV series.  I was also thrilled to discover that the creators of the program have also published a number of books related to the show.  I was excited to read QI: Book of General Ignorance: The Noticeably Stouter Edition. The book begins with a humorous forward by Mr. Fry himself, a completely useless attempt at humor by Alan Davies (in the "look at me, aren't I clever?" vein he employs in the show) and a forward by the author John Lloyd.
The book format consists of a question, followed by an in-depth explanation of the answer.  Many of the questions could be considered "trick" questions, as one of the purposes of the authors is to question widely accepted, but incorrect information.  An example:

How many wives did Henry VIII have?  Most Americans would probably have to go look that one up, but the generally accepted answer is six (two beheaded, two divorced, one died and one survived).  The answer to the question is: it varies according to source.  Since Henry's marriage to Anne of Cleves was annulled, it never really happened, so that one doesn't count.  The Pope refused to recognize Henry's second marriage, because the Pope stated that Henry was still married to his first wife at the time.  And so on. 

There are questions about everything from animals (What's the most dangerous animal that ever lived?), to science (What's in an atom?) and history (Who was Britain's first Prime Minister?) and many other topics.  Whether you like trivia or just need some interesting facts to astound your friends (the country of Bhutan banned tobacco sales in 2004), this is the book for you!

Final Verdict for QI: Book of General Ignorance: Four Gerkins, for being an enlightening and entertaining look at some facts you only think you know


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I'm a librarian who is interested in all things British. I try to visit London as often as possible, and am always planning my next trip. I lived in Sweden for a few years with my Swedish husband, so the occasional Swedish reference may occur . . .

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