Ah November! Season of fireworks, moustaches and complaining that Christmas has come too early! And, of course, the season when humour books breed faster than rumours on t’internet. Honestly, every time I have a day off I walk back in the shop and we’ve had to swap the stock onto a bigger table (and then a second table, and so on…). This year we’ve a whole new set of adult Ladybird titles (including Cats, Dogs and the Zombie Apocalypse), spoof Famous Five and I-Spy books and many perennial favourites. The Broons are back, as well as Viz and Private Eye annuals and, thank goodness, my personal favourite – a new QI fact book. Yes, those elves have been busy once again (because they have to have something to do between series, obviously).
The elves (Alex, Mandy, Andrew, Anna and Dan – not a Twinkletoes or a Snowflake amongst them) have done another great job. My head is now full of important facts about the word ‘Czech’*, the Tanzanian name for a roundabout** and the names of flies in the genus Pieza***. I have discovered the name for one of my phobias (the one about running out of something to read – which is abibliophobia) and that I share my other one (a fear of buttons) with Steve Jobs. For those who are counting the toll of 2016 we have the fact that the lifespan of a rock star is 25 years shorter than the average (which makes Keith Richards even more remarkable) and for those worried about inflation we discover that, for the last 70 years, the average price of a small car has maintained itself as being that of 20,000 Mars Bars. Although one of the facts that makes me happiest is knowing that the Statue of Liberty was designed as a Muslim woman guarding the Suez Canal.
As ever this is an amusing and informative volume. Something for the stocking of your favourite know-all, perhaps? (Although if I’m your favourite I already have a copy…)
*it is a Polish word
** a kipilefti
***Pieza kake, Pieza pie, Pieza rhea and Pieza deresistans – never say scientists don’t have a sense of humour!