Thursday, March 22, 2007

Another volume for the bedside table...


Just discovered this book, The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A.J. Jacobs and I think I'm in page-turning love. If you like inane trivia facts, debates about intelligence versus knowledge and extraordinarly funny asides, this is the memoir for you. As a nerd, it's difficult not to like a writer who decides one day to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica -- and then proceeds to tell you all the juicy bits. Byatt sneaks in fascinating blurbs as he makes his way through the entries, recapping everything and everyone from the Aztecs to Francis Bacon in a manner that would put a Television Without Pity chronicler to shame. Throughout, he intersperses anecdotes detailing his efforts to put his new knowledge to use, becoming, in the process, a pariah at dinner parties as he spouts seemingly useless knowledge with the self-control of a Tourette's patient. Sweet, charming and smart, this is a book worth reading, from A to Z.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

How disappointing would it be to make it your life's ambition to become the world's smartest person...and then, at the end, realize zero recognition because most people would consider the whole idea just plain dumb!?!

- L-D's D

Anonymous said...

Frustrating Amazon searches lead me to point out that the last name is Jacobs - unless there are two exactly identical books out there.

Liz said...

Anonymous -- I'm so incredibly sorry for that. Total brain freeze on my part. My sincere apologies -- thank you so much for letting me know!

Amy said...

I read this book a few years ago and totally loved it for all the same reasons you did. I have a book recommendation for you! Animal Husbandry is what you get when a nerdy girl gets dumped. Basically, the plot is that this writer for a magazine gets dumped and tries to find the reasons behind it by looking at animal mating behaviour and comparing it to male humans. It's hilarious, and there are tons of awesome animal facts. I think you'd like it maybe?

Liz said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Amy! I've heard of Animal Husbandry but never read it. I'm definitely going to put it on the list!