Vanessa's Reviews > The Know-It-All

The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs
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Feb 14, 11

bookshelves: abandoned, read-in-2011

I surrender. Goodreads tells me I've been reading this book now for 5 months. I haven't opened it in at least 3. I am a person who can happily sit and read a reference book and I did enjoy the random facts I learned (example: honey was used to preserve Alexander the Great's corpse on its long trip back to Macedonia.) But I'm not that much of a fan of this brand of stunt journalism. Jacobs write well but the stories all start to sound the same. He decides to read the Encyclopedia Brittanica in one year, his wife rolls her eyes, he goes to a party or family gathering and starts spouting random facts, his wife and others roll their eyes. He also tries too hard to tie the Britannica reading into events transpiring in his life. Sometimes cilantro is just cilantro, to loosely paraphrase Gertrude Stein. Not for me but I might pull it down off the shelf and read an article occasionally. Or, more likely, I'll just browse through the real encyclopedia online when the mood hits.

Because it was really informative (I can't wait to bring up the baculum in a conversation), I'm still going to give it 3 stars.
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