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QI The Book of the Dead by Lloyd, John; John Mitchinson (2010) Paperback – 30 Sep 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (30 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571244912
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571244911
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 399,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Book Description

QI: The Book of the Dead is the quirkiest biographical dictionary you'll ever read from John Lloyd, John Mitchinson and the bestselling QI team, full of fun facts, stories and secrets about the most interesting people who ever lived.

About the Author

John Lloyd CBE devised The News Quiz and To the Manor Born for radio and Not The Nine O'Clock News, Spitting Image and Blackadder for television. John Mitchinson has been both bookseller and publisher and looked after authors as diverse as Haruki Murakami, The Beatles and a woman who knitted with dog hair. Together they are in charge of research for the hit BBC show QI, and have written many bestselling books, including such titles as The Book of General Ignorance, 1,227 QI Facts To Blow Your Socks Off and most recently, 1,411 QI Facts To Knock You sideways.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Following the success of the initial QI book and follow-ups such as the Book of Animal Facts, a plethora of hastily - written, badly produced "facts" books appeared on the market. Some of the facts in imitators books were questionable, many based on inaccurate website content.

Perhaps in recognition of this, The QI Book of The Dead has chapters, rather than chunks of info in alphabetical or other order as in previous books. The criteria for grouping people together are somewhat bizarre,as mentioned, but also interesting - as you'd expect. One supposed "fact" is debunked here. There are not as many people alive now as have ever lived. The dead outnumber us by nine to one. (So just why did we ever believe otherwise? Interesting!)

I also wonder if the proofreader read this over lunch; it was certainly done on an off day. No doubt those glitches will be ironed out in the paperback. It might be best to wait, if you can. But if you can't, another really interesting read awaits.
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Format: Hardcover
I love Q.I. in all it's forms - the series, the books, the website - so the arrival of a new book was a cause of some celebration for me. This time around, the book is a series of potted biographies of noteworthy folk through the ages. For an added twist, they're summarised not by the times they lived in, or even alphabetically... the various figures are categorised according to things that they had in common. So, Freud, Hans Christian Andersen and Da Vinci all wind up in the same chapter because they had absent or bad fathers! It's quirky, but it works. Like the show, this is packed with 'well-I-never' moments, and proves to be a very addictive read. One criticism though - there are so many basic errors in the presentation, you can't help but feel it must've been thrown together in a rush. For example, in the first chapter alone, words are repeated unnecessarily in the same sentence, causing the reader to skid to a halt and re-read for fear of having missed the point. And poor old Hans Christian has his surname go from Andersen to Anderson, then back to Andersen, more than once on the same page! All right, this might be picky, but this is a chunky, reasonably expensive book - you'd hope it was at least proof-read once or twice.
All in all, good fun - and recommended for all fans of the series, or trivia buffs.
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Format: Hardcover
As a fan of QI, I've been fortunate to read many of the books and view the series. Although other reviewers have pointed out grammatical and typographical errors, I must say I was too fascinated by the content to notice them! In my endless search for trivia, rarely known facts and all round interestingness, for once, a book took me considerable time to read, whereas I normally fly through them. Why? I found this book so interesting I didn't want to put it down! What an insight into the lives of people we THINK we know/knew, proving yet again the outstanding research that all involved with the QI franchise do. It also shows that we should never assume anything; too many urban myths and legends are repeated today, and this book should also dispel some of those. We should learn more about noteables, yes, but we should learn the CORRECT information about them, which is why I found this book so fascinating. This is the sort of book that every trivia buff or person who regularly quotes "Did you know..." or for someone who just could do with a dose of interesting in their lives. Far from being dry and dull as many factoid type books can be, it actually had me chuckling or saying "Really??" out loud! Another outstanding effort from the QI Team. A QI Book of the Dead II, perhaps?
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Format: Hardcover
Did you know that Issac Newton was a member of parliament in his lifetime? Or that Hans Christian Anderson was terrified of naked women?

If you're a fan of QI, you probably know what this book's all about and will already be trawling the shops in search of a copy. However, you don't need to be a convert to all things Stephen Fry to enjoy this offering. The Book of the Dead provides the reader with mini-biographies of some of histories greatest figures (and some lesser known past marvels) with the only criteria for entry being the subject's interesting life.

Though the book has a couple of minor problems: there are a lot of proofing mistakes and the themes that link historical figures can sometimes be tenuous; it's well worth a read and full of fascinating information told in a humourous fashion. It's the type of thing that'll make a great Xmas present for someone or will be a light, fun travel read.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a really enjoyable book that is full of interesting trivia. The idea of grouping the biographies by theme works well and it's interesting to read about some of the lesser known characters (to me anyway) such as Moll Cutpurse and Mary Kinglsey. However the book is badly let down by the number of errors. As others have mentioned words are repeated and names seem to change at random. For example Francis Galton is inexplicably referred to as Dalton several times on one page before reverting to Galton later on.

Overall its a fun book but the errors realy grate. Without the various errors I'd probably rate this as five stars instead of three.
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