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Review: College in a Nutskull

May 1, 2010

Professor Anders Henriksson has been teaching history at Shepherd University for close to forty years and has been collecting “malapropisms, blunders and skewed associations” that college students have provided on tests.  Professors from other schools have been collecting them for him as well.  He’s compiled them all in a book entitled College in a Nutskull.  This book is fun from the outside in!  It’s spiral bound and its pages are lined just like a notebook.  It’s divided by subjects and even has doodles on the pages.

College in a Nutskull can easily be read in one sitting, but it’s the type of book that’s best read a little at a time.  It’s also fun to read out loud with other people – I probably drove Carl crazy reading parts of it to him.  When I was reading it by myself, I found myself laughing out loud quite often.

A few of my favorite answers are (reproduced with misspellings and all):

Why would anyone think that Old English is a seperate language? Old people can understand us with no problem if we speak loudly enough.

The potato was first introduced to Europe by McDonald’s.

The first major work by an American author is The Holy Bible.

Shakespeare won the Nobel prize on several occasions.  This makes you a nobel and involves being nightied by the Queen.  It is very cool that Shakespere decided to set Richard III in Nazi Germany.

I sent a few of these to Vance over instant messenger and all he could say was, “Wow.”  If you think about the answers too much, they’re kind of scary, but Professor Henriksson says “for every student who thinks that Egypt is an island or that the U.S. Congress is prohibited from making laws, there are scores of well-informed, articulate undergraduates eager to learn.”

College in a Nutskull is very entertaining and would make a great gift for a teacher or a student or anyone who likes to laugh.
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Review copy provided by Workman Publishing.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

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25 Comments leave one →
  1. May 1, 2010 6:39 am

    I got this one too and plan to review it as soon as I dig up some of the crazy test answers I got from my students when I was still teaching at the university. There are some truly funny entries in this book (but kind of scary that students really write these things).

  2. May 1, 2010 7:59 am

    I just read those excerpts to my husband and son and we all got a good chuckle! It is kinda scary, because these fine young people are actually out in the workforce contributing to society (or not!) and raising children!

  3. May 1, 2010 8:14 am

    Hmm, sounds very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  4. May 1, 2010 8:37 am

    This one sounds like a riot!!!! I have to get my hands on it!

  5. May 1, 2010 9:36 am

    I don’t know if I should laugh or cry 😛 Those ARE kind of scary, but hopefully Professor Henriksson is right and they’re a small minority.

  6. May 1, 2010 9:58 am

    Those examples are funny and found myself laughing but then thought “how sad is that?” This is what colleges are turning out? I believe something is wrong with our grades 9-12 system.

  7. May 1, 2010 10:28 am

    I have to add this one to The Man’s Nightstand! Thanks for the review!

  8. May 1, 2010 11:13 am

    For real? Wow. That is kinda scary.

  9. May 1, 2010 12:18 pm

    My (first) husband used to teach political science at Marquette. And when he would read the blue b00ks, we would just howl. My favorite was when Mussolini came out as “Macaroni.”

  10. May 1, 2010 1:16 pm

    I love that title alone! So funny!

  11. May 1, 2010 2:51 pm

    I’ve only skimmed this one. I should read a few pages a day for a laugh!

  12. May 1, 2010 3:34 pm

    I thought this book was pretty funny too!

  13. May 1, 2010 5:10 pm

    while it may be funny…I do find it rather scary. Makes me wonder if some people really should not be in college..

  14. May 1, 2010 6:21 pm

    That is so ROFL-ing! As a grader in university, I have come across a few such funny stuffs in the students’ answers. Nothing that drastic, but they are still quite funny!

  15. May 2, 2010 10:34 am

    I thought this was a really fun book. I’d forgotten about the American author/Bible one, woo! that’s hilarious!

  16. May 2, 2010 4:03 pm

    Your examples from the book are funny and sad at the same time. I really like the Bible one.

    btw – I’m going to use malapropisms in WWW. I had to look it up. Thanks.

  17. May 2, 2010 6:40 pm

    Oh, I just love books like this! It sounds like this one really made you laugh, and I know now that I definitely want to give this one a try. It kind of reminds me of those Jay Leno spots where he goes out on the streets to quiz people. Very cool review, I am glad you had fun with it!!

  18. stacybuckeye permalink
    May 2, 2010 6:49 pm

    This might make me a little worried about our future!

  19. May 3, 2010 3:23 am

    This sounds like a fun book! Maybe those students should learn not to take tests hungover, LOL.

  20. May 3, 2010 8:55 am

    I really think this is a fun book as well, though it scares me that there are students who think these things. I’ll be reviewing this one soon.

  21. May 3, 2010 1:51 pm

    When I was a medical transcriptionist, I used to collect outrageous things like this from medical records. I finally stopped because I never knew whether to laugh or cry. Maybe Ali is right – the students were hungover! 🙂

  22. May 3, 2010 7:53 pm

    Oh I love books like these! Sounds like a perfect “bathroom” book!!!! I’m putting it on the list!

  23. May 4, 2010 1:13 am

    I feel like the odd one out, but I didn’t find this collection of student bloopers to be very funny.

    For me, funny “bloopers” contain a double meaning that reveals some kind of unintentional insight or truth. It is also important that the bloopers come from an innocent, unaware speaker or writer.

    But most the specimens in College in a Nutskull contain none of the elements. Rather, many of the specimens in College in a Nutskull are straight-out mistakes from college-aged students who should know better. For example:

    “Leo XIII became the first non-Catholic to head the Vatican” (p 7).

    “Common law is for the common people” (p 92).

    “The Prime Minister heads the Church of England” (p 94).

    “American women won the right to vote in 1973” (p 131).

    “Acrophobia is a fear of acrobats” (p 21).

    “An acronym refers to spiders” (p 54).

    Perhaps there is a difference in the humour that appeals to Americans compared to the humour that appeals to people, like me, who have been brought-up on a diet of English humour?

  24. May 14, 2010 12:57 pm

    I thought this book was funny, too. Some of them sounded like clever jokes, others were just so ridiculous I couldn’t help but laugh.


  25. May 14, 2010 1:19 pm

    haha – this one does sound like a lot of fun.

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