1,411 Quite Interesting Facts to Knock You Sideways

Image of 1,411 Quite Interesting Facts to Knock You Sideways
Release Date: 
April 8, 2018
W. W. Norton & Company
Reviewed by: 

Whales can only taste salt.

I found this to be devastating news. Sure, it’s logical if you think about it. They live in the sea and they eat salty, fishy, seawater dwelling things. But still, seems a tad unfair that such a giant animal would be given just one measly type of taste bud.

This fact, and many more are included in the new gift book 1,411 Quite Interesting Facts to Knock You Sideways by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson, and James Harkin, an interesting collection of oddball facts that is incredibly hard to put down.

Some interesting tidbits you’ll want to immediately share, “Did you know that before fridges were invented, Russians and Finns used live frogs to keep their milk fresh?”

Others seem like they can’t possibly be true. Really, not one of the Star Trek movies or TV episodes ever included the line, “Beam me up, Scotty?”

It’s a great gift for the holidays, as well as a useful book to help prepare for the season. Imagine you’re at the dinner table and the conversation hits that natural lull. All you have to do is drop a little conversation starter fact, “Did you know there are enough empty houses in China to provide homes for everyone in Texas and California,” and then can sit back and savor your chardonnay as the discussion takes off.

Or maybe you’d prefer some quiet time in the corner. Then select one of the many conversation “enders” instead, “I read that Slovenian men do twice as much housework as Italian men.” Perhaps your relatives will think twice about claiming that adjoining chair.

Though one could find these facts on the Internet (and all can be verified on the authors’ website), they’re not the type of facts that one would normally seek out. Really, male squirrels can perform fellatio on themselves? Well, who knew!

For those fond of entertaining and fascinating minutiae, I’d recommend this book—even with the sad fact about the whales.