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The Interesting Bits: The History You Might…
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The Interesting Bits: The History You Might Have Missed

by Justin Pollard

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I believe there are roughly three types of books: The book you can't bear to put down after a few pages; the book you can't bear to keep reading after a few pages and the book you can pick up or put down as the mood takes you. This is an intriguing combination of the first and third. It was easy to slip in and out of but somewhat compelling at the same time. Whilst I wasn't to read it for hours at a time, I did find myself picking it up whenever I had a spare few moments. It kept drawing me back.

That's the beauty of the book for me. Waiting for a bus? Find out 'What was unusual about St Solange's head?'. A few quiet minutes before the kids get home? Find out 'What new name was given the river Pissa?'. It's a time-filler book for me. The title 'The Interesting Bits' is quite fitting because in the midst of mundane tasks (waiting the bath to fill, the pasta to boil etc) I can read a page or two and make it less tedious.

You don't need to be a history buff. The book is well-written in that it doesn't take itself too seriously (what do you expect from one of the writers of 'QI') and yet appears to have been well researched. It provides some facts but not too many to put you to sleep. And it's a book that many people will enjoy. I can already think of three people who might enjoy a copy for Christmas.

It has a good mix of 'bits', covering a wide range of time periods and locations.

Its only downfall is the size. It isn't quite pocket sized and it took a bit of rearranging to get it into my handbag every day. But that said, it is no worse than many other books and to make it any smaller would mean cutting content or making the font tiny. Therefore, I can well forgive the size in favour of the rest of the design and the content. ( )
  donnambr | Nov 27, 2014 |
I believe there are roughly three types of books: The book you can't bear to put down after a few pages; the book you can't bear to keep reading after a few pages and the book you can pick up or put down as the mood takes you. This is an intriguing combination of the first and third. It was easy to slip in and out of but somewhat compelling at the same time. Whilst I wasn't to read it for hours at a time, I did find myself picking it up whenever I had a spare few moments. It kept drawing me back.

That's the beauty of the book for me. Waiting for a bus? Find out 'What was unusual about St Solange's head?'. A few quiet minutes before the kids get home? Find out 'What new name was given the river Pissa?'. It's a time-filler book for me. The title 'The Interesting Bits' is quite fitting because in the midst of mundane tasks (waiting the bath to fill, the pasta to boil etc) I can read a page or two and make it less tedious.

You don't need to be a history buff. The book is well-written in that it doesn't take itself too seriously (what do you expect from one of the writers of 'QI') and yet appears to have been well researched. It provides some facts but not too many to put you to sleep. And it's a book that many people will enjoy. I can already think of three people who might enjoy a copy for Christmas.

It has a good mix of 'bits', covering a wide range of time periods and locations.

Its only downfall is the size. It isn't quite pocket sized and it took a bit of rearranging to get it into my handbag every day. But that said, it is no worse than many other books and to make it any smaller would mean cutting content or making the font tiny. Therefore, I can well forgive the size in favour of the rest of the design and the content. ( )
  donnambr | Jan 12, 2013 |
If your friends roll their eyes and change the subject when you try to tell them who Downing Street is named for, or how a French lawyer successfully defended a horde of rats in court, or even where the term ‘Nosy Parker’ came from, well, you might need to get some new friends... http://icantstopreading.blogspot.com/2008/02/interesting-bits-by-justin-pollard....
1 vote lorelorn_2008 | Jan 5, 2011 |
History is often presented either as a dry list of people and dates or as a web of interconnectedness and 'cause and effect' beyond the comprehension of anyone without a degree in the subject.But it can, and should be so much more according to the author of this book. Each entry is an answer to a question which might be posed in an episode of QI, and the answers are rarely more than a page or two in length.Examples include 'Which English Kings exploded?' and 'Which Pope was accused of piracy?'.An enjoyable exploration of alternative history focusing on the amusing rather than the geo-political. ( )
1 vote fieldri1 | May 8, 2009 |
If your friends roll their eyes and change the subject when you try to tell them who Downing Street is named for, or how a French lawyer successfully defended a horde of rats in court, or even where the term ‘Nosy Parker’ came from, well, you might need to get some new friends... http://icantstopreading.blogspot.com/2008/02/interesting-bits-by-justin-pollard.... ( )
  lorelorn_2008 | Feb 23, 2008 |
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For some unknown reason the most interesting bits of history are kept out of lessons and away from syllabuses. Now, 'The Interesting Bits' rights this wrong. It is a treasure trove of those surprising, eccentric, chaotic, baffling asides that don't fit neatly into history's official narrative.… (more)

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