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Super Pop!: Pop Culture Top Ten Lists to Help You Win at Trivia, Survive in the Wild, and Make It Through the Holidays Paperback – June 4, 2013
Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
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Blurb from Goodreads:
Super-Pop offers a maximum-pleasure, minimum-effort way to become smarter, happier, and more likely to survive your next family function (or a shark attack). This hilarious and wide-ranging guide sorts nearly 500 different bestsellers, blockbusters, and underappreciated gems into quirky top ten lists, like "Outwit Death: Essential Lessons in Survival," and "Achieve Mindfulness: Movies That Will Show You the Way (With Wise Elders Now Included)." So whether you're looking for some motivational workout music, need help planning a July 4th double feature, or just want to pick up some knowledge without straining your brain, this book has you covered. With new insights on old classics and fresh ideas for jaded eyes, Super Pop makes sense of pop culture - and then puts pop culture back to work!
When Zest books approached me about reviewing this book, I jumped at the chance. I love trivia and anything to do with it. I love to learn stuff that I can use at a later date, that no one else might know. So this book was right up my ally for sure.
First let me say that I love how the author has set this book up. It's topics with top tens lists throughout the entire book. It's broken into five parts: Be More Interesting, Get Smarter, Stop Doing It Wrong, Find Happiness, and Survive the holidays. Harmon even gives an introduction on what to expect and keeps his format of the tops tens list in that! So this book was fun to read. I could read just the headings, the entire paragraph, or just skip it and come back. Since there was no chronological order to this book, it was fun to kind of skip around and find out what each section was about first before diving in.
My favorite section was Part IV: Find Happiness. I'm not totally sure why, but this section really got my juices flowing. Being an avid reader, I was especially happy with the Lose Yourself in a Good Story part. I could identify with quite a few of the stories listed, specifically Delirium by Lauren Oliver (which is a favorite of mine). And Pride and Prejudice, certainly one of my all time favorite classic writings, is also included.
Harmon makes his sections funny and full of enjoyment. At the end of each part, he has a two page spread with little thought bubbles which are really quite fun to read. And Harmon makes it a point to show us that there is a lot of value in realizing the entertainment we watch, read, listen to. That these things can tell us something of our past and perhaps even help us to learn more about our future.
The best part of this book is the pop culture aspect. This book has something for just about everyone, from the oldest to the youngest that would want to read it. So you learn things, and you also relate at the same time. I learned so many fun facts I didn't know. I was entertained and educated all at the same time.
If you are addicted to lists, and trivia (fun facts) then this is the book for you!
SUPER POP! is divided into five sections: Be More Interesting, Get Smart(er), Stop Doing It Wrong, Find Happiness, and Survive the Holidays. Despite the books subtitle, I think the only bit that will help you survive in the wild is the note that you can sort of learn how to build an igloo from Nanook in the North. But that's okay. You'll definitely win at trivia. Harmon's writing about each item on the lists is detailed, interesting, and funny.
Best of all is what's on the lists. I have so much I want to watch, read, listen to, consume. Every time I disagreed with an entry, there were two more I agreed with completely - and more often than I expected - one I'd never heard of. Harmon doesn't limit himself. There are podcasts and twitter feeds and YouTube videos and apps mingling with experimental films and classic literature and Stephen Hawking's A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME. Also awesome, there's a real range of creators. This isn't just pop culture of white dudes.
I don't recommend reading all of the lists at once. It would be overwhelming. But each list is a wonderful, intelligent introduction to a slice of pop culture. Harmon makes unconventional choices, and the juxtaposition of the expected with the results is wonderful. And my movie queue definitely hates Harmon because it was already pretty long.
I do recommend SUPER POP! to anyone even slightly interested in culture. It's quick, engaging, and shows just how crazy and broad the world of art available to us is. There's some good educational choices too, particularly in Get Smart(er). I didn't realize I was missing out on fun linguistics and physics lectures.
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I absolutely adore trivia, lists, and pop culture so checking this book out was a complete...Read more