I love books filled with useless bits of information, so I was ecstatic to find Weird Wills and Eccentric Last Wishes from a bargain bin, and I set about to collecting the rest of Michelle Lovric’s trivia books. So far, I’ve gotten Deadlier than the Male,How to Insult, Abuse and Insinuate in Classical Latin and Eccentric Epitaphs.
The latest addition to my Michelle Lovric collection is The Insult and Curse Book, a compilation of colorful statements that will probably come in handy whenever I’m in a bad mood.
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Attention 39 Clues fans!
Scholastic and National Book Store are holding a launch party for The 39 Clues: Vespers Rising on April 9, 2011, 3 pm, at NBS Bestsellers!
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Shakespeare was a rite of passage for me. In the school I attended, the sixth graders put on an annual production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (for nearly two decades now, I think). Next to graduation, AMND was the most important event of our grade school lives, and the pageant season was something everyone looked forward to — the school transforms into a magical place when Shakespeare-spouting elves and fairies, noble lords and fair ladies, and mustached mechanicals traipse around the campus, heightening the excitement for the much-awaited annual performance.
It was the pre-digicam ’90s so I don’t have any pictures of our production (the play photos are of a recent batch from the school website), but I don’t think any of us will forget our AMND experience. Up to now, you can ask any of us who were in that play and we can probably recite whole acts from memory.
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I enjoy trivia of all sorts, so when a friend loaned me his copy of E.H. Gombrich’s A Little History of the World, I gladly dove into many hours of fascinating reading.
A Little History of the World is a compact volume that tells us the story of mankind, from the Stone Age to the atomic bomb. Told as stories, it’s simple enough for young readers to understand without getting the feeling of being patronized, and entertaining enough for adults who have already gone through years of history classes.
Gombrich, an art historian (you may recognize the name from the book The Story of Art), wrote this book in 1935 with the intention of presenting a history of the world for younger readers. The book was actually originally written in German, was banned by the Nazis for being too “pacifist,” and was only translated in English by Gombrich himself (mostly, reportedly, but the book credits his assistant Caroline Mustill as the translator) towards the end of his life (he died in 2001, at 92, still working on it).
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At the height of stress, I often choose trivia books over novels, because I’m not in the proper frame of mind to concentrate on plot, and I really can’t afford to read more than a few snippets at a time. Last week was pure madness (in my world), but one book got me through it: The Traveller’s Companion.
Whenever I could find time to just sit down and catch my breath, I’d open it and read a page or two, and it was quite a relaxing exercise, and by the end of the week, I had finished the book!
Continue reading “The weird wonders of the wanderer’s world”