Fascinated by odd facts and out-of-the-way information? Then you’ll love these books…
Pub quiz nights. Trivial Pursuit. Wowing friends with far-out facts. If this is you, get your hands on Paul Terry’s Top 10 of Everything 2019. It’s jam-packed with mind-boggling facts covering subjects from the animal kingdom and humankind to sports, films, music and loads more. Did you know the biggest prehistoric carnivorous mammal was an arctotherium (a bear) that weighed 1749kgs or that the smilodon (a sabre-toothed cat) could open its mouth 120 degrees? In the movies, Katharine Hepburn is the only actress to win four Oscars, while Avatar was the biggest box office hit. London has the oldest metro system, as well as the biggest library and South Africa has the second highest waterfall (Tugela in KZN). Readers keep discovering new and interesting facts … for instance, a chianina is a giant breed of Italian cattle (who would have guessed?). Lovely stuff! Hamlyn, R272.
Pure genius or a stroke of incredible luck … the world has much for which to thank many people, from Euclid forming the key concepts of geometry to Marie Curie’s discovery of radium. In 64 Geeks, Chas Newkey-Burden has compiled an astonishing collection of these people from Aristotle to Zuckerberg. Along with the better-known inventors such as Alexander Graham Bell for the telephone and Alfred Nobel for dynamite, there are a plenty of fascinating little-known nuggets. Bet you didn’t know that drop-dead gorgeous Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr, also invented the technology that paved the way for the mobile phone and Wi-Fi connection! Or that Nikola Tesla did a far better job of providing us with electricity than Thomas Edison (who used despicable dirty tricks to discredit Tesla). It’s a fascinating book to dip into again and again. Ilex, R313.
The popular BBC comedy show, QI (Quite Interesting) spawned a number of books and 2,024 QI Facts To Stop You in Your Tracks is the seventh and final one in this series. Compiled by John Lloyd, James Harkin and Anne Miller, it’s crammed with short (very short) brain-tickling facts. Here’s just a taste of what you’ll find when you dip into it. • Three NASA astronauts have appeared in Star Trek. • Humans glow in the dark. • The Pope drives a blue Ford Focus. • Dogs visiting US National Parks can be certified as Bark Rangers. • The world’s smallest computer is smaller than a grain of sand (whew!). • Hitler’s nephew, William Hitler, served in the US Navy. • Tahitian has no word for ‘sadness’. • Harrods used to sell pet leopards! We could go on and on … and on. Grab a copy and enjoy! Faber & Faber, R260.