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Customer Review

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I write as a sow piddles (Mozart), 17 May 2009
This review is from: QI: Advanced Banter (Hardcover)
Ever read the entirety of a reference book, cover to cover? Me neither. And you won't be counting Advanced Banter: The QI Book of Quotations as a first, I'm fairly sure. This rather sizeable collection definitely works best as something to dip into. The quotations are split thematically, and although you sense that they gathered the material first and then separated it out, this doesn't detract from its quality. Comedians, scientists, artists, statesmen, novelists and philosophers are counted among the talking heads in a collection that runs the gamut from the profound to the throwaway, the clever-clever to the surprisingly heartfelt. (It's this jumping about in terms of tone, by the way, that makes this book best taken down from your shelf and dipped into little and often.) All the usual topics are here - love, duty, wisdom - but much of the material is surprisingly fresh and wisely avoids many of the hackneyed aphorisms that we could probably all already quote. Less Oscar Wilde, more Russian proverbs, as it happens. Not that I subscribe to the really quite ridiculous premise of this book - that you might drop one of its pearls into your conversations. Not in the world I inhabit, certainly. However unrealistic, if you like what can be done with a well-chosen word, it's well worth swallowing this for the opportunity to treasure such lines as `You can recognise a cruel man: he cries in the cinema' (Graham Greene). I like that one.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Nov 2011 01:16:42 GMT
I've read several reference books cover to cover- I think reading a newspaper cover to cover is more ridiculous.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Feb 2012 19:25:19 GMT
Reference books are precisely so-called because they are meant to be "dipped into"; referred to, in fact.
Seems a bit unfair to mark it down on the grounds that it's not devourable from page 1, given your general praise for it otherwise.
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