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Review – mental_floss: The Book: The Greatest Lists in the History of Listory

December 29, 2011

I love useless information, and use it to drive family and friends crazy.  I can remember the most inane facts, but ask me a question of some significance and I draw a total blank.  With that in mind, I was very excited to pick up mental_floss: The Book: The Greatest Lists in the History of Listory.  This book is exactly what it says it is – a book of lists and, for trivia junkies like me, it does not disappoint.

Put together to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the mental_floss web site, this book is a veritable treasure trove of trivia.  Lists are divided by subjects in chapters like Cheat Sheets for Impressing a Diplomat, President, or Pope and Pop Culture Lists to Break Out on the Red Carpet.   Even though the lists are serious business, they don’t take themselves too seriously and are often written with a bit of humor.  I brought this book with me the last time we visited my mother and I regaled everyone with my new-found knowledge every chance I got.  I got lots of eye rolls and moans, but I noticed someone else picked the book up almost every time I set it down.

This isn’t the kind of book you sit down and read from cover to cover – it’s one you read in bits and pieces.  It would be great for the car or the bathroom.  I kept it on my nightstand and read it over the course of a few weeks.  As well as the fabulous lists, each page has a fun fact across the bottom, like:

Thriller writer James Patterson was formerly an adman.  He coined the slogan “I’m a Toys ‘R’ Us kid.

My favorite list and the one I plan to try to use in future Words with Friends games is:

10 “Q” Words that aren’t “Q-U” Words

  1. Bathqol – Also sometimes spelled “bath quol,” this one’s a divine revelation give to certain Jewish teachers.
  2. Coq – cock feathers on a woman’s hat.
  3. Qiana – This one’s tricky.  It used to be the trademarked name for a silky nylon that DuPont invented in the ’60s, but like “Frisbee” it became so widely used that it’s now a common noun.
  4. Qanun – a type of harp.
  5. Qawwal – a person who plays South Asian Qawwali music.
  6. Qintar or qindar – a type of Albanian money.
  7. Qiviut – the wool of the musk ox.
  8. Qwerty – the keyborad layout that includes that sequence of letters.
  9. Umiaq – a type of open boat.
  10. Qat – a type of flowering plant.

I read mental_floss: The Book: The Greatest Lists in the History of Listory from cover to cover and really enjoyed it.  I’m sure I’ll pick it up from time to time and flip through it to brush up on my knowledge.  If you or someone you know loves trivia, you must get this book!

Review copy provided by Harper Collins. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
41 Comments leave one →
  1. December 29, 2011 5:39 am

    This sounds like so much fun! I have mental floss’s Condensed Knowledge: A Deliciously Irreverent Guide to Feeling Smart again, but I haven’t had the chance to give it its due.

  2. December 29, 2011 7:06 am

    Lol, sounds like a fun one, I so love useless facts too

  3. December 29, 2011 7:26 am

    Ooh that list of Q words is going to be really useful, lol!

  4. December 29, 2011 7:34 am

    LOL – I love useless information too…. I call them “fun facts” 🙂 I have this book downstairs and need to finish it – really have enjoyed what I have read so far.

  5. December 29, 2011 7:41 am

    I like books like this. Yes, qat is a great WWF word – I’ve used it many times 🙂

  6. December 29, 2011 8:05 am

    This sounds like a fun book. I bet my husband would even enjoy it!

  7. kaye permalink
    December 29, 2011 8:25 am

    This does sound like a fun book. I love lists!

  8. December 29, 2011 8:30 am

    This is one that I just know my husband would love and I would be sure to pick it up from time to time!

  9. December 29, 2011 8:49 am

    I really enjoyed the list of Q words.

    This one does sound like a fun read.

  10. December 29, 2011 8:50 am

    I love trivia books too. I have been eying the mental floss books for some time!

  11. December 29, 2011 8:53 am

    This would be so fun to have on a car trip!

  12. December 29, 2011 9:27 am

    I have used Qat before, but coq seems like it might come in handy! I love books like this!

  13. December 29, 2011 10:13 am

    This kind of info makes me brain spin out of control 😉 I would have to take this one in snippets :):) sounds like fun though!

  14. December 29, 2011 10:17 am

    I gave this to my husband just last week! He’s enjoying it.

  15. December 29, 2011 10:32 am

    I used to love the Mental Floss magazine, and I haven’t read it in quite some time, but I think I would really love this book, and need to check it out. I know what you mean about the eye-rolling and groaning, because I get it too when I walk around spouting fact from books I’ve read to my family.

  16. December 29, 2011 11:58 am

    I already have a bunch of people in mind who would love this book!

    Also, love that you shared the q words that aren’t qu words. I’m thinking that will definitely help me with words with friends too!

    PS: Why aren’t we playing each other? I will have to find you!

  17. December 29, 2011 12:12 pm

    Oooh, love the list of Q words. As a fellow WWF junkie, that will definitely come in handy! And this book sounds like lots of fun.

  18. December 29, 2011 12:18 pm

    Yes, QAT is a favorite of mine! But Oh My God. This is a book written for me, but one that would drive my family insane. When I read a non-fiction book that is packed with facts (the Steven Tyler memoir comes to mind) all I do is run around spewing unimportant facts around, like anyone cares. My husband can only tolerate it for so long.

  19. December 29, 2011 12:29 pm

    I love books like this too! They are always so fun to read through and then tell each other your random knowledge!

  20. December 29, 2011 12:42 pm

    I’m not one for trivia books. I only like the facts about the people I know and then I don’t want to read the rest. Lol. I’m glad you enjoyed it though.

  21. December 29, 2011 1:50 pm

    This is the type of book we all love in our household! I will have to keep an eye out for this one in the bookstore.

  22. December 29, 2011 2:48 pm

    This does sound like the perfect bathroom book. When I was a kid, I had a copy of The Book of Lists and read it endlessly! This sounds like an updated and more modern version of it.

  23. December 29, 2011 2:55 pm

    For a list lover like me this sounds like it would be a fun and interesting read!

  24. December 29, 2011 3:17 pm

    Wow…I am amazed and impressed with your love of lists!!!

  25. December 29, 2011 3:22 pm

    Haha, I need to buy this for my friend Abby. She is all about some lists.

  26. December 29, 2011 3:32 pm

    I normally would pass on a book of lists, but the interesting facts are enough to draw my attention. Oddly enough I had a James Patterson newsletter pop in to my email while I was reading your post here. I love coincidences of that sort (and had no clue about the Toys R Us ad source).

  27. Alison's Book Marks permalink
    December 29, 2011 5:19 pm

    Such a fun book! I missed the factoid about James Patterson! That’s what I miss by skipping around, I guess!

  28. December 29, 2011 5:24 pm

    This one sounds like a lot of FUN!

  29. December 29, 2011 6:42 pm

    This book sounds terrifically entertaining! I enjoyed this review (and loved the inclusion of the Q without U words for WwF). 🙂

  30. December 29, 2011 7:50 pm

    Oh this sounds so great! We love random facts and “useless information!” I may have to get this for the hubby sometime, it sounds like a lot of fun!

  31. December 29, 2011 9:49 pm

    I already use Qat in WWF but Coq is a new one 🙂

  32. December 29, 2011 11:12 pm

    This is scrabble genius. Totally going to write these words down to dominate my next game.

  33. December 29, 2011 11:38 pm

    Listory is a pretty cute word. This reminds me of trivia. My husband likes little known facts. Can’t put James Patterson and Toys ‘R’ Us together. Really I can do it. He has a kind face. By the way, went to Toys ‘R’ Us today to pick up a jigsaw puzzle. Ended up buying one from Hobby Lobby. Great review.

  34. December 30, 2011 5:20 am

    I love that tidbit of James Patterson. I loved this book, but I parted with it so my trivia junkie friends could fill their heads with more useless knowledge that would come in handy during their tournaments.

  35. December 30, 2011 10:19 am

    I am a fan of useless information myself! I’m going to have to look for this book.
    Another one to put in the ‘library’ ….. or in the pile that will become the library once the Handyman gets in gear. LOL (I’ll send him your way)

  36. December 30, 2011 11:09 am

    I think I need this book.

  37. December 30, 2011 1:19 pm

    great list! i’ll have to refer to this post the next time i play words with friends too. but it left out “qi”. that has to be the most popular non qu word.

  38. December 30, 2011 4:22 pm

    I’ve been perusing this one bits at a time. I’m totally using that list for Words With Friends!

  39. January 2, 2012 9:45 am

    Too funny. As I was reading this, I thought it might make a perfect bathroom book and then you said it!

  40. January 2, 2012 3:21 pm

    Very fun! I know Qwerty. And I like Umiaq – would be a good boat name. Will have to go google-image and see exactly what it is.

  41. January 4, 2012 11:31 pm

    I tried coq tonight. It doesn’t work!!

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