Written by: Karl Shaw
Hardcover: 304 pages
February 2007, $9.99
All in perfectly bad taste. Prepare to be amazed, appalled, disgusted, and hugely entertained by this compendium of indelicate oddities. Nothing is too inane, too insane, too bizarre, or too distasteful for this incredible, seemingly impossible, but absolutely true collection of facts from across the ages and around the world.
Did you know…
…that Pope Benedict XII was such a hardened boozer that he inspired the expression “drunk as a pope”? (From “10 Historic Drunks”)
…that as a special honeymoon treat, Prince Charles read Princess Diana passages from the works of Carl Jung and Laurens van der Post? (From “History’s 10 Least Romantic Honeymoons”)
…that the best-dressed gentlemen in medieval England exposed their genitals below a short-fitting tunic? (From “History’s 10 Greatest Fashion Mistakes”)
…that Alfred Hitchcock suffered from ovophobia—fear of eggs? (From “10 Phobias of the Famous”)
…that King Louis XIV only took three baths in his lifetime, each of them under protest? (From “10 Great Unwashed”)
…that in 1930, Sears customers became enraged when the catalog was first printed on glossy, non-absorbent paper? (From “12 Magical Moments in Toilet Paper History”)
It is what it looks like a compendium of truly tasteless facts, but of course that is what makes it so much fun. There is no plot, no characters to love or hate, just a lot of funny and odd lists. Plus you got to love the cover.
Things I loved: I needed something light and yet fun. This hit the spot in both ways. It is a book you have to take with a grain of salt and while a lot of the information is interesting it isn’t always fact. For example Shaw attributes The Three Musketeers to be a work of Victor Hugo not Alexandre Dumas as it should be. There are other glaring errors like that and yet despite being a little sloppy with his fact checks, you cannot help but like it. However, most people who pick this up wont really notice though hopefully they wont be using it as ‘fact’.
Things I didn't love so much: See above factoid nitpicks.
Buy or Borrow: I would say that it is worth borrowing from your local library. It’s fun and if you like having some humor on your shelves like I do, pick it up. It certainly makes a conversation piece.
Part of: Stand Alone
Also Recommended: Royal Babylon by Karl Shaw.
3 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks
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