Published by: Faber and Faber Ltd
ISBN 13: 9780571332465
Published: November 2016
Format reviewed: eVersion from NetGalley
Site: Publisher Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Five out of Five
Lists: Favourites and Recommended
I got so much joy from this book. Some of the facts I knew already, either through life or because I’m addicted to their wit and delivery. I watch QI and No Such Thing as the News, and listen to the podcast No Such Thing as a Fish. Several of the QI elves (James Harkin, Dan Schreiber, Andrew Hunter Murray and Anna Ptaszynski…) are responsible for the last two (with guest appearances from other elves at times, such as Alex Bell or Stevyn Colgan) and it’s easily my absolute favourite podcast in the world (and I listen to quite a few), so it was already pretty clear I’d love this book.
Fangirling aside, in addition they have part of their website dedicated to providing more information – if you go to qi.com/1342 (once published, as the link currently isn’t working) and put in the page number, it then gives you a link to where they sourced the fact so you can read more about it. Such as, the fact ‘The wake-up call on the Mir space station made the same sound as the emergency alarm’, is backed up by a link from The Guardian (here), and sure enough…
This was a more rudimentary space age. The crew travelled in a Soyuz craft designed in the 60s. Once there, contact with Earth was limited to a few hours a day. Most disconcertingly, perhaps, the morning alarm was the same as the emergency siren.
“You’d wake up unsure if it was time to get up or if you were leaking oxygen,” says Sharman. “It got us out of our sleeping bags pretty quick.”
The book of facts sparks your interest and makes it easy for you to find out more. It’s also easy for the pages to fly by as one usually links on to the next fact, for instance, on page 16 a fact about walnuts leads to one about almonds, and then the cost Britain spends on the Large Hadron Collider in comparison to on peanuts, and the cost of fuel needed to carry peanuts on a plane, and then on page 17 about how a farting sheep caused a freight plane to make an emergency landing, onto how Harper Lee was an airline booking agent… and so on. It’s addictive!
This would make an excellent kris-kringle gift, or for any relative you’re not sure about – there’s something for everyone in here, and it’s an excellent book to hopefully spark someone’s interest in trying out their other books, or perhaps their very excellent podcast.