Booklicious: Booklicious Reviews: mental_floss: The Book: Only the Greatest Lists in the History of Listory

January 03, 2012



Mental_floss: The Book: Only the Greatest Lists in the History of Listory is a compilation of 10 years of fact hoarding by the magazine/website/board-game makers of Birmingham. As one of the few strange people left in the world who wishes most online content were available in printed form, I was thrilled to be able to pick up an actual book and delve into one of the internet’s most pervasively entertaining formats.

The chapters each have 10 lists, with categories ranging from animals to law and specific lists devoted to everything from successful people who survived bankruptcy to uses for poop. Somehow, in the age of the internet and Wikipedia, each list manages to contain a surprise or two for even the most diehard trivia veteran: George Washington bought leopard-skin coats for his horses; Handel almost died in a duel in the street; and somewhere in America, there was a high school whose mascot was the cornjerker (no, I don’t know what that means).

There are also hidden factoids running about the pages in sidebars, insets, and the page footer that are just as rich and amusing as the lists and make the book an ideal pick for light entertainment with some mind-expanding properties. Readers can immediately find something interesting by flipping through casually and picking out interesting-looking headlines, skipping to a section that sounds interesting (“Lists for people who can’t write good,” for example), or opening to a random page and reading the bottom. The only downside to the History of Listory, other than the fact that it feels as though it was printed on Big Chief tablets, is that there’s no refresh button on the cover.

*Bonus fact that’s humorous even out of context: there’s a banned baseball tactic called “The Stanky Maneuver.”


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