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The Compendium of (Not Quite) Everything

On sale

16th September 2021

Price: £14.99

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Selected: Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781472276476

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The Compendium of (Not Quite) Everything is a treasure trove of random knowledge. Covering everything from the furthest known galaxies to the murky origins of oyster ice cream, inside you will find a discussion of how one might determine the most average-sized country in the world; details of humanity’s most ridiculous wars; and, at last, the answer to who would win in a fight between Harry Potter and Spider-Man.

Bizarre, brilliant and filled with the unexpected, The Compendium covers the breadth and depth of human experience, weaving its way through words and numbers, science and the arts, the spiritual and the secular. It’s a feast of facts for a hungry mind.

Includes entries on the cosmos, the human planet, questions of measurement, history/politics, the natural world, leisure and many ‘oddities’ that don’t fit elsewhere…


Robert Webb
I loved it. Jonn Elledge is a charming and outstandingly nerdish guide. A big, generous, fascinating book, best dipped into on a rainy Sunday with the snooker on in the background.
Helen Lewis
An unholy cross between Douglas Adams and Bill Bryson, this compendium of strange, funny and surprising facts is the perfect loo book.
Linda Tirado
If you ever wondered what a parsec was, or how language developed, or how many wars have been fought over cows, or whether a large straw goat has ever been held in a secret location by Swedish police, I heartily recommend this book. Elledge's natural curiosity has been brilliantly harnessed, answering questions you didn't know you had with more clarity and wit than is fair for any single writer to contain.
Ahir Shah
Consistently both entertaining and fascinating. Jonn has explored a lifetime's worth of 2am Wikipedia holes so that you don't have to.
Marina Hyde
I love Jonn Elledge's brain, and his tireless quests to boggle everyone else's. I strongly suggest you hitchhike a ride with this book, which is a travelogue of the weird and wonderful, a galaxy of things in our world and beyond that I simply didn't have a clue about. I am now slightly less clueless, much more entertained, and I briefly understood the Beaufort Scale. That alone causes me to break out the adjective "indispensable".
Hugo Rifkind
It sounds like a mess until you realise it's actually the world that is a mess and this fascinating, funny book is the only fixed point of sanity we've got.
Ian Martin, writer of The Thick of It and Veep
A hyper-nerdy, tightly written masterpiece ... It sucks you in like a fucking tar pit.
Ian Dunt
Joyous, mind-expanding, laugh-out-loud funny, and full of nerdy gusto.
Helen Zaltzman
Open this book at any page and you will learn new things. Jonn somehow manages to make the world seem at the same time more orderly and ungraspably huge and varied.