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Schott's Original Miscellany Hardcover – 4 Nov 2002


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; Reprint edition (4 Nov. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747563209
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747563204
  • Product Dimensions: 11.5 x 1.8 x 18.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Pythonesque in range and irrelevance but somehow essetial... This is the perfect stocking filler." -- The Bookseller, 30th August, 2002, Stephen Torsi from Borders.

"This bizarre little book manages to be both totally useless and nearly indespensable." -- Telegraph, 24th November 2002

"it's a wonderful book" -- Harry Hill

"the best little book of trivia going." -- The Bookseller, 30th August, 2002, Kes Nielsen afrom WHSmith

'The best-ever collection of essential trivia. Everyone I know ought to get one for Christmas.' -- Stephen Fry

An all-purpose present solver and cultural signifier. -- Guardian

It is a masterpiece of compression. -- Daily Mail

It stands out for its intelligent comic absurdity. A treasure-trove of trivia. -- Financial Times

Probably the best collection of essential trivia ever published. -- Belfast Telegraph

This bizarre little book manages to be both totally useless and nearly indispensable. -- Daily Telegraph

From the Publisher

Some quotes from the Jonathan Ross Radio Show:

"I'm going to get this for a lot of people - it's fantastic"

"if you were trapped in a lift with someone this is the kind of book you'd pray they didn't have with them"

"a gift and a half"

"it looks like its been published for years and we didn't know about it"


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

340 of 344 people found the following review helpful By Dave Powell on 26 Nov. 2002
Format: Hardcover
A lovely little book that seeks to fill the holes in the national knowledge by dispensing with tedious things like rational argument and structure and instead spouting a stream of well-informed but highly random waffle. And it's wonderful: a cornucopia of trivia, a smorgasbord of stuff. But in a very, very good way.
These are 160 pages pebble dashed with facts, figures, ruminations, clarifications and charts - far, far too many to list here, and anyway it would a precious shame to spoil the consistent serendipity of a whole new page full of things you didn't know and never thought to ask.
A smattering of examples: all the Bond films, complete with names of baddie, girl and motor. How to fold a sari. Which Presidents are on which US banknotes. A potted history of the London Underground. Some Churchillian speech patterns. The deaths of some Burmese Kings.
It's maddeningly addictive, so much so that after a few days spent liberally flicking through you'll notice some worrying changes within yourself. You will start to take an unhealthy interest in such matter as the correct name for cloud formations, the Welsh for 'I love you' and the collective nouns for fowl. You'll be continually fighting the urge to bombard your flatmates / colleagues / newsagent with myriad lists, little-knownances and Queer Things. You may even start to become a Dinner Party Bore, the sort of notable who always knows everything about everything and doesn't mind telling you about it, all night. But, as previously mentioned, in a very good way.
And here's the really good news: because each entry only takes up about half a page, it's very easy indeed to concentrate on. We are the Internet Generation, after all, and we have fostered a healthy lust for highly entertaining, bite sized irreverence.
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 19 Feb. 2003
Format: Hardcover
A book designed to cover all the things that don't quite fit into every other book. A collection of short lists, tidbits of information and anything else Ben Schott feels worthy of mention. The old-style cover gives the book the feel of an old mini-encylopadeia type tome, though the ordering of topics is pretty random, making for entertaining reading rather than a technically rigourous reference text.
And it IS entertaining - the chance are that if one topic does not interest you, the next one will. Some are serious (capital cities, commonplace latin), others not (A for 'orses, B for mutton), with most of them lying between these two extremes.
There is the odd mistake, and a few needless omissions (the list of Bond films misses out the two 'unofficial ones', for instance), though there's enough here to make for a book which ultimatley proves to be useful. At least twice in the last week I've said 'I'll go and look it up in Schotts' and found what I was looking for.
It can be made bigger in the future, it could spark off a number of more specific 'offshoot' guides, but for a first attempt, this is a mighty fine attempt to compress an infinite supply of information into one stocking-filler sized text. I won't say you can't put it down, because you can. But you'll probably pick it up again soon enough.
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91 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Clive Jones on 14 Jan. 2003
Format: Hardcover
I used to find this kind of book in my grandparents' house - cyclopaedias that gave one a little bit of information about everything. It was fascinating to read them, decades later, and marvel at how the world had changed.
Last week, I arrived at work to find a copy of this book on my desk. A colleague got it for Christmas and brought it in to show me. "It's the kind of thing you'd enjoy", he said.
He was right.
Here is a modern miscellany. I don't know who Ben Schott is, or how he came to write this book, but it is a masterpiece. At first I didn't realise the book was a recent publication, so timeless is the style; I only found out when I saw that the information was entirely up to date.
The book freely mixes trivia with important reference material. It mixes the frivolous with the profound. It touches on almost every subject imaginable. This book is so eclectic that less than a quarter of it duplicates information I already had in my considerable reference library.
True, there are a few errors, here and there - I spotted maybe half a dozen. No matter.
This book should fascinate almost anyone. Buy it now. Buy copies as presents. Buy a spare copy, and keep it in a vacuum-sealed plastic bag - I'm sure a pristine first edition would be very valuable to your grandchildren.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By David Lovie on 17 May 2006
Format: Hardcover
A book basically full of irrelevant information, facts from tables of Braille and Morse code to who has won the world cup and where, or a list of all the Kings and Queens of Britain. Ultimately a pointless collection of information from all over the place, yet great to flick through for odd tidbits of imformation.

So as one reviewer said, maybe not the ultimate book for pub quiz goers, but definately handy for some odd questions setting up one. Or purely out of interest for odd bits of information here and there and something interesting to flick through sitting on the loo.

Also a very nicely presented book, a nice hardcover (classy and minimal under the paper cover) and very well set out information that is very nice to read, with a very handy cloth bookmark (forgive me for not knowing if theres a proper name for it) you can mark out a page with for later reading with.
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