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QI: The Second Book of General Ignorance Hardcover – 7 Oct 2010
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'This is pretty much the most cheerful book you could ever read.' --Evening Standard --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
QI: The Second Book of General Ignorance by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson is the sequel to the phenomenal international bestseller QI: The Book of General Ignorance, with, as ever, a foreword by Stephen Fry.See all Product description
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What it manages really well - surprisingly so in a book that's essentially, well, about facts - is to maintain a rip-rattling pace, even while shifting topic with such frequency. It's very easy, for example, to get sucked into a bit about, say, how elephants get drunk, and not emerge until you've been firmly put in your place about the effect cracking your knuckles really has (if you're thinking arthritis you're - surprise surprise - wrong). For me, it also achieves the rare feat of making scientific stuff interesting ... if only my biology teacher at school had used this as a textbook.
The writing is superb, striking a note somewhere between authoritative and gently mocking. One of my favourite bits is from the article on absinthe:
"The active ingredient in wormwood is thujone .... [it] can be dangerous in high doses and does have a mild psychoactive effect, but not at the 10 milligrams per litre concentration that most absinthe contains. Sage, tarragon and Vicks VapoRub all contain similar levels of thujone, but no one has yet linked them to depraved behaviour."
Brilliant. If that raised a giggle - even a slight one - you'll love this book.
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