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.
An unholy cross between Douglas Adams and Bill Bryson, this compendium of strange, funny and surprising facts is the perfect loo book.
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.
Consistently both entertaining and fascinating. Jonn has explored a lifetime's worth of 2am Wikipedia holes so that you don't have to.
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".
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.
An indispensable compilation of wholly unnecessary, absolutely vital facts ... It sucks you in like a fucking tar pit.