I gotta say, I am enjoying the heck out of this book “The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World.” I can’t say I have ever felt the desire to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica…I’ve never felt the desire to read ANY Encyclopedia all the way through. So I already thought the guy was nuts. But his nuttiness is very endearing.
I can sum-up his reasoning in one quote: “I’m curious about everything – even things that don’t interest me.” Jacobs, who writes for Esquire, is sent to interview Alex Trebek, and this was Trebek’s philosophy of knowledge. I feel that I am curious about a lot of things, even some that don’t interest me, so I can now see why I am finding myself making time to read this book. I’ve already read well over 100 pages. This is pretty good since I only started it Sunday. 100 plus pages in 3 days is saying something for me nowadays.
This quote cracked me up:
The more I progress in the alphabet, the more successful I am at stifling that eleven-year-old boy inside of me, the one that still thinks a good Beavis-and-Butt-head-style scatological pun is cause for great joy.
It’s not easy. Just the number of asses alone will tempt even the most evolved mind. I’ve learned about The Golden Ass (a book by a Platonic philosopher) and the Wild Ass’ Skin(a novel by Balzac). I’ve read about the half ass (a type of mule in Asia) and Buridan’s ass (an animal in a philosophical parable). But it goes way beyond asses. Asses are just the start. You can also take a trip to the river Suck (in Ireland), where you could fish for crappies (a freshwater bass) while you drink some Brest milk (the town of Belarus is known for its dairies). If you’re bored, you can have a stroke-off (while playing bandy, a version of ice-hockey) and fondle a bushtit (a small bird). If you’re feeling smart, you might want to argue the impact of Isaac Butt (an Irish leader), or debate the merits of the Four wants (Chinese landscape painters), who might have been collected by the Fuggers (an art-loving family). Or else, just take a flying Fokker (a German airplane).
I know this is wrong. This isn’t why I’m reading the Britannica. I’m reading it to get smarter, better, more enlightened, not to make dirty puns. Maybe it’s because I’ve read so many of them, or maybe it’s because the Britannicais actually making me more enlightened, but I’ve cut way down on these Beavis moments. The Four Wangs, though-that is kind of funny. P.103
Sorry, but that appealed to the eleven-year-old boy inside of me too.
I apologize for being so out of it lately. I know I haven’t posted much that wasn’t complete drivel. Some things have been going on in my life and I haven’t really been able to focus on anything else. It looks like things are lightening up now though and I should now be able to return to regular scheduled programming and hopefully will get back to reading my favorite blogs soon! I hope you could stand my pitiful attempts to keep you entertained with all the pictures of my kids and the other stuff. I’ll try to keep it to a minimum for awhile 😉
I haven’t been reading very much. With my mind being on other things, I haven’t really been able to concentrate on much. I just finished The Nasty Bits, a collection of articles, book reviews, restaurant reviews and other miscellanea by Anthony Bourdain. There is even a short story piece included, which was actually pretty good. It piqued my interest in reading some of his other fictional works, which I admit I’ve never really been interested in.
I also just completed the second graphic novel in the Jack of Fables Series. I found it to be much better than the first. Now that Jack is established in his own series, the story really gets going. Jack has many tales, or personae, and one of the stories in this collection recounts his time as Jack Frost. Another is set during modern times, with him trying to regain wealth and fame in Las Vegas. With help from the Pathetic Fallacy, he works the town over in typical Jack style. The art work, as usual, is stunning. The stories are fun. Despite my previous misgivings, Jack is proving to be a worthy Fable for his own series.
I am finally starting to read again. I am tee-totally LOVING, Joe Hill’s short story collection 20th Century Ghosts. This is my first encounter with Hill’s writing, but I had a feeling I would like him after Andi’s glowing review of Heart Shaped Box. I’ve only read the first three stories so far but have found each one to be stunning. And haunting, and I don’t mean in the way his daddy writes J I have found I can only read one story at a time, because I find myself wanting to savor each piece. But I will talk more about on this after I’ve finished the book.
I started another book yesterday. The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by AJ Jacobs very quickly sucked me in. I’m up to “D” now and am really enjoying Jacob’s witty and personable voice. I think this will be the quick read I’ve been waiting for. I’m obviously in a nonfiction mood, so I expect to read more like it after I’m through.