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on 21 July 1999
The movie "Urban Legend" sparked my interest in the topic, but the author in his book exceeded everything I ever wanted to learn about all the modern day "fables" I have heard all my life. I actually got red-faced reading stories that I had believed all my life because I heard it from a friend that heard it from "a friend that it actually happened to..."! Can't wait to see what the author has coming up next!
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Urban legends are anecdotal yarns, sworn to be factually based, which become embellished to the point of being "too good to be true" as they percolate through society. Today's urban legends will become the future's fairy tales.
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE is an assemblage of over 200 such stories gathered by Jan Brunvand, who is an expert, perhaps obsessively so, on the subject. They cover a wide range of source topics: pets, criminals, cars, sex, accidents, babies, work, technology, human nature, mistaken ID, academia, food, the supernatural, wild animals, and more. They inspire laughter, horror, disbelief, or just plain "Oh, yuck!" Each story is followed by a paragraph, sometimes lengthy, on the times and places the anecdote, or some variant of it, has appeared. Some go back to the 19th century. After the first twenty-five or so, I decided to leave this last bit to the truly compulsive.
My favorite was the one about the American couple staying at the Moscow hotel during the bad old Soviet era. Obsessed with the possible presence of listening devices, the couple searched the room for "bugs". Finding only a metal plate under the carpet, they removed the screws from it. The next morning on checkout, the desk manager asked if they'd spent a pleasant night. He was concerned since the couple in the room below our intrepid travelers had the chandelier fall on them. My wife said she's never seen me laugh so hard.
The trouble with these stories is that they have no developing plot, no hero to love, and no villain to hate. Like eating popcorn, the experience, however delightful, ends with the last kernel/paragraph. Nobody ever exclaims, "Wow, I had a great bag of popcorn last week!" Similarly, I doubt this book will stay memorable for more than a minute. As reading for those contemplative moments in the loo, it stands out with a capital "L" for Light.
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on 9 July 1999
If you want to read about Urban Legends get this book!!! Unlike the Big Book of Urban Legends this one has alternate versions, explains how some came about or how long they have been around. The stories are very interesting even if they are untrue. Interesting because many are very plausible others so stupid its funny. Also interesting because you see how these stories travel around as truth. "I heard this one from my co-workers secretary's sister's boyfriend's cousin"
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on 28 July 2012
I have searched high and low for a decent book on this subject and was very happy when I found this as it ticked all the boxes I was looking for. It is an enjoyable read and I found it very hard to put down. All tales are given variants and explanations as well as lengthy theories where the legends could have originated. If you are interested in Urban Legends you will enjoy this. I can't wait to read more from this author.
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on 18 December 2014
Full marks for supplier - item arrived in excellent condition & on time. As for the book itself, maybe could have been a bit shorter, or split into two volumes - I was skipping bits by the time I was two thirds through, and the serious nature of the research doesn't really suit the cover illustration. I believe e reprint has now been done with a more serious cover.
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on 30 November 2014
If you love an urban legend then you will love this book. Well written and some attempts at an explanation of where some of these derived from.
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on 18 March 2013
Saw this book on the side of a table in a cafe. Picked it up while I waited to pay my bill and couldn't put it down so went home to. Buy it
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on 19 January 2016
HUGE BOOK OF URBAN LEGENDS AND A GREAR ONE AT THAT.
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on 24 March 2016
mostly American legends.
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on 23 July 1999
A great read- debunks so many of the myths I've heard and SWORE were true.
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