As a keen contestant in quizzes, I own a fair-sized selection of general 'trivia' books, and so it was with keen anticipation that I opened this book, the latest from the 'QI' stable. (I should make clear at the outset that I have met James Harkin, one of the writers, a couple of times, and correspond with him occasionally.)
The standard of 'QI' books has generally been high in the past (I was particularly fond of the now-discontinued series of annuals!) so I had high hopes for this. The presentation of the book is simple - the 1,227 facts are presented four to a page throughout the book. They are not explicitly divided into themes although at many points similar facts are collected together, or one fact relates somehow to the next. This works well and I found that reading the book cover-to-cover worked well - although of course, as with any work of this kind, the book can be dipped into as well.
The acid test of books of this kind lies in the choice of facts - too many such works trot out the usual chestnuts, reminding you for the 27th time that (e.g.) duelling is legal in Paraguay but only if the participants are registered blood donors. This book passes this test convincingly. Even for the dedicated trivia-lover, there are plenty of very novel facts in here and the bar has been set high in terms of quite-interestingness. I won't spoil the surprises by giving any examples but there are some real beauties in here.
All told, this would make an ideal stocking filler Christmas present for anyone interested in facts and trivia, and is one of the best books of this kind I have read - it's not as encyclopaedic as Mitchell Symons' 'This Book' trilogy, but the standard of interestingness is as high (if not higher).