Tuesday, October 5, 2010

As a rabid Londonphile, I'm always thrilled to find a book which centers on weird or unknown facts about the city.  I was very exited to receive a copy of the beautiful little book London Quiz by Travis Elborough and Nick Rennison to browse through.

This compact little book is just packed with interesting stuff!  It is arranged into 20 chapters, each covering an area of London life or history.  Some of the chapters are:

Crime and Punishment
Royal London
London Transport
London Firsts
The London Dead
Literary London
London Buildings

and so on.  There are also 20 questions in each chapter (I'm sensing a pattern here!) followed by three possible answers.  Here is an example of a question from the Shops & Shopping chapter:

In 1907, how did William Whiteley, founder of the famous Whiteleys department store in Bayswater, die?
a. He tripped and fell from a window on the third floor of his store
b. He was shot dead in his office by a man claiming to be his illegitimate son
c. He contracted fatal food poisoning after eating shellfish in the restaurant of his store

To make cheating more difficult (it's as if this book were made for me!) the answers are to be found in the back of the book.  The table of contents gives both the page number of each chapter, as well as the page number where the answers can be found.  The questions and possible answers are all fascinating and lead to a desire to find out even more about some of these people and events.  (Poor Mr. Whiteley was done in by his alleged illegitimate son, by the way.)

The book is also beautifully illustrated by Kerry Lee.  There is an illustration in the style of the map on the cover at the start of every chapter.  The illustrations alone are very colorful and entertaining!

This book is a delight from cover to cover.  In the introduction to the book, the authors state that the questions are not easy, but are rather intended to "provide entry points into the fascinating history of the city."  I can say that they have succeeded admirably with that goal!

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of London Quiz from The Little Bookroom

Final verdict for London Quiz:  Five Gherkins, for being a delightful look at some unusual aspects of a wonderful city


About Me

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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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The Gherkin Scale

5gherkinsb Brilliant!

4gherkinsb Good, innit?

3gherkinsb Fair to middlin'

2gherkinsb Has some good points

1gherkin Oi! Wot you playin' at?

0gherkins3Don't be givin' me evils!

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