Monday, April 23, 2012

Fact. Fact. Bullsh*t! - Neil Patrick Stewart

2011; 354 pages.  New Author? : Yes.  Genre : Non-Fiction; Trivia.  Overall Rating : 8*/10.

    Do you like Trivial Pursuit?  Is there something appealing about cluttering up your mind with obscure bits of information?  More importantly, can you tell a true statement from a bunch of baloney?

    If you answered 'yes' to these three questions, then you will probably enjoy Fact. Fact.  Bullsh*t!

What's To Like...
   Neil Patrick Stewart uses a kewl template to present the trivia :  three assertions; two of which are factual, the third of which is bullsh*t.  The phony answers are well-crafted.  I kept looking for a pattern that would give them away, and didn't find any.

    There are seven chapters : Animals, Pop Culture, Food, Dead People ("History"), Science, Sports & Games, and Miscellaneous.  Using chapters lends a nice order to the book.  I liked it better than just random entries.  They were just the right length, as was the book as a whole.

    The writing is witty; the author usually adds some more bits of trivia while giving you the answer.  And there's a couple pictures to break up the monotony of the text.

Excerpt... (a sample question; spot the BS; answer in comments)
1. Expressions such as "LOL" (an acronym for "laughing out loud") has (sic) been proven to be beneficial for e-communication: A study at the University of Tasmania found that using Internet shorthand is twice as efficient for both sender and reader.

2. LOL is an airport in Nevada.  Lol is a place in France.  Lolol is a town in Chile.  "Lol" Tolhurst was the first drummer for the English band The Cure.

3. The French equivelent of "LOL" is "MDR."  Coincidentally, lol is a real word in both Welsh and Dutch, meaning "nonsense" and "fun," respectively.

Kindle Details...
    I got the book as a limited-time free-download at Amazon.  It is now selling for $8.93, and is #4/#5 in various "paid" categories there.  It's also available as a paperback for $11.16

Everyone's an Expert...
   There are a few typos and errors.  The Fact/Bullsh*t answer designations on the Marie Curie question were reversed.  And the Thomas Jefferson one was both wrong and spurious.  It almost seemed like it was a red herring, but I can't see a purpose for that.

   The only suggestion I can make is for the author to list his sources.  But, instead of at the rear of the book, how about online somewhere?  It would be a convenient resource.  Most of us, of course, wouldn't use it.  But the nit-pickers could have a field day.

    8 StarsFact. Fact. Bullsh*t! is a fun, light, easy-to-read book.  I read it as I would an anthology - a few nibbles at a time. It never got tedious.

1 comment:

Hamilcar Barca said...

Answer to LOL question : #1 is bullsh*t. To find out why, read the book.