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Schott's Almanac 2007 Hardcover – 27 Oct 2006
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`A record of historic reference.' -- Guardian
`A social barometer of genuine historical value.' -- Sunday Times
`A very witty, contemporary and often highly irreverent take on
the past year...brilliantly, if eccentrically, presented and edited.'
-- Daily Mirror
`A wonderful achievement.' -- News Statesman
About the Author
Ben Schott was born in North London in 1974. He was educated at University College School. Hampstead, and Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, where he read Social and Political Sciences, graduating with a double First in 1996. He has worked with the Independent, The Times, the Sunday Times, Reader's Digest and Sunday Business, amongst many others and has photographed celebrities from Hugh Grant and Tony Blair, to Gordon Brown and Enoch Powell. Now a full-tuime writer, he has columns with a number of publications including Conde Nast Traveller and the Daily Telegraph, and is the author of three highly original and entertaining Miscellanies. He lives in London, and divides his time between Highgate and the British Library.
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Top customer reviews
I love the mix of modern up-to-date information with the Victorian-style presentation and quaint illustrations. There is also a review of major news highlights of the year.
Overall this is an ideal Christmas present, the sort of thing you can dip into again and again. It beats socks anyway.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
So London-based Ben Schott decided to reinvent the yearly almanac. The result is "Schott's Almanac: 2007" ($25.95 in hardcover from Bloomsbury USA), designed especially for American readers (there are also British and German versions). In the brief introduction, the author writes, " 'Schott's Almanac' reflects the age in which it has been written: an age when information is plentiful, but selection and analysis are more elusive. ... 'Schott's Almanac' aspires to provide an informative, selective and entertaining analysis of the year. 'Schott's' is an almanac written to be read."
Superficially resembling the more traditional almanac, with familiar section titles like "books and arts" and "the States," "Schott's" is shorter (368 pages) and its content far quirkier. It's unlikely that years from now we will be driven to look up "street names, unusual" to find the "7 'wackiest' street names, according to a 2006 poll by Car Connection Web site." (A few of the selections, for the record: Psycho Path, in Traverse City, Mich.; Divorce Court, in Heather Highlands, Pa.; and, in Story, Alaska, Farfrompoopen Road, "the only road leading to Constipation Ridge.")
Oldsters beware, too. The print is minuscule and the overall tone decidedly hip. There are lots of fun lists (the "Hacker, Cracker, & Geek Speak" lexicon distinguishes among geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks) but lots of serious talk as well, especially in the survey of the year that leads off the book. You'll find an official definition of genocide, a biography of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and a short article on Holocaust denial. Some of the sections (sports, the nation) are more prosaic than others (such as media and celebrity, which leads off with a comparison of the cover stars pictured on issues of People and US Weekly) but all in all Schott's lives up to its claim to be readable.
Odd corners abound. Here's a poem from Thomas Hood (1799-1845): "Dirty days hath September, / April, June and November, / From January up to May / The rain it raineth every day. / February hath 28 alone, / And all the rest have 31. / If any of them had two and 30 / They'd be just as wet and dirty."
Then there are the Ig Nobel prizes, for real research that seems pointless, with the 2005 winners in chemistry: "Edward Cussler and Brian Gettelfinger (University of Minnesota) for their tireless investigation into whether people swim faster in syrup or in water."
The "Oddest Book Title of the Year" award for 2005 goes to author Gary Leon Hill for "People Who Don't know They Are Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It."
Don't look for a review anytime soon.
Copyright 2007 Chico Enterprise-Record. Used by permission.
Because the book can be picked up at a random page and enjoyed in doses of 1 sentence to 10 pages (actually, that is - I'd argue - how it *SHOULD* be enjoyed), it's perfect bathroom reading for the obscure-knowledge set.