Most helpful positive review
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More laughs per page than any work of humor...
on January 11, 2011
In the world of science, some things are serious, others are amusing, and then there's the downright hysterical. Depending on your perspective, the following falls into one of those categories (if not, how about "disgusting"?): "Phorid flies reproduce by laying their eggs in the thorax of an ant. The larvae then migrate to the ant's head and develop by consuming the muscle and nervous tissue there. In time, it consumes the entire brain of the ant, which then amazingly continues to walk aimlessly for about two weeks--until its head drops off. The phorid fly then pupates in the detached head."
Circadian rhythms being what they are, I find myself reading late at night while my husband sleeps. One night I picked up LISTVERSE.COM'S ULTIMATE BOOK OF BIZARRE LISTS (subtitled "Fascinating Facts and Shocking Trivia on Movies, Music, Crime, Celebrities, History and More," written by Jamie Frater). Books that can be browsed through are appealing; the reader opens to any page and has a few minutes reading and none of the mental work involved in following a story. Such books are satisfying reads for people who can't commit to novels or chronological non-fiction (you know what I mean).
Reading about super-scary museums, odd wedding sites, and disgusting foods is entertaining, but when I browsed through the "Science and Nature" chapter and found "10 Bizarre Cases of Mind Control" (the ants & phorid flies being one of them), I was so entertained that three of the cases interrupted my husband's sleep (which shows what my sense of humor is like). Laughing out loud while reading is a pleasure that I seldom have--I don't seem to find books that are that funny. To counter the hilarity, I had to read "10 Creatures That Crawled Out of Your Nightmares." Have you ever heard of a Lion's Mane Jellyfish? I'm shuddering just thinking about it.
LISTVERSE.COM'S ULTIMATE BOOK OF BIZARRE LISTS offers practical advice in varied fields. Looking for a fun vacation spot? How about the Zone of Alienation in Eastern Europe? "...be warned, if you visit, you may either be shot or get radiation poisoning, and we all know how awful that can be. Longing to go back to a more peaceful time? Good luck..."During the last 3500 years, it is estimated that the world has had a grand total of 230 years in which no wars took place." Want to heighten the flavor of strawberries? Use "...very finely ground pepper (from fresh peppercorns)." Information such as this can keep one entertained for hours.
The Ultimate Book of Bizarre Lists offers twelve chapters that cover nearly every aspect of life (and death) on earth, from the dinosaurs to rockers who died while performing. Each chapter has between 7 and 24 lists, which have between 5 and 25 entries. It all adds up to 702 pages of truly fascinating minutiae. Readers will find themselves perusing sections they thought were not of interest because it's all so darn riveting--either hilariously so or in the I-wish-I-hadn't-read-that vein. Author Jamie Frater clears up misconceptions with lists of things people believe that just aren't true (...once and for all, dinosaurs did not cohabit with humans!), shares shocking (and shockingly silly) facts about famous people--both historical and current, and gives us more information than we could possibly want about the peculiarities of homo sapiens.
A great book for anyone with a sense of humor or a sense of awe, LISTVERSE.COM'S ULTIMATE BOOK OF BIZARRE LISTS is on the top of my gift-book list. And, no, you may not borrow it.