Friday, December 06, 2002

Schott's Original Miscellany sounds very me. In fact, I hope I get a copy for Christmas. Indeed, as my friends know my love of trivia, I fear I may receive several copies. Can you all just get together and decide who is buying it for me? From the Guardian:'s hard not to be suspicious of the book as all-purpose present solver and cultural signifier. Isn't Schott's Original Miscellany just a slab of data cast into an already information-overloaded world? Do we really need to know who supplies bagpipes to the Queen? Or whose portraits are printed on American banknotes of various denominations? Stop saying yes. Or that, in all the countries where one drives on the left (such as Kenya, Japan, India, Zambia and the UK), there is only one exception to the rule, namely Savoy Street, off Strand in London, where traffic has to drive on the right? And why do we need to know that the correct usage in the previous sentence is, according to Schott, "Strand" rather than "the Strand"?

...the book isn't just a compendium of lists. It is a mixture of encyclopaedia, dictionary, almanac, lexicon, treasury, commonplace, amphigouri and vade-mecum and some other things too.

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