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jenn

Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

The Mental Floss History of the World: An Irreverent Romp Through Civilization's Best Bits

The Mental Floss History of the World: An Irreverent Romp Through Civilization's Best Bits - Steve Wiegand, Erik Sass

I'd never heard of mental_floss before stumbling upon this book at a B&N in August.  We were there so my husband could stock up on holiday reading, but since it's fundamentally impossible for me to walk out of a bookstore without a book in my hand, I added this to the pile thinking it would be perfect for those moments at night when I couldn't focus on more than a small bit of reading at a time.

 

History/geography are unarguably my two weakest areas on a trivial pursuit board.  I can look back at all my schooling and say I've never had a geography lesson in my life - not even memorising the state capitals (or the states, for that matter).  I remember every history class I took starting with the American Revolution and ending with the Civil War.  This is embarrassing, although more for what it says about the educational system I was in than anything else.  When I got to Uni and took a proper history class, it was a revelation - history could be interesting!  But it can still be dry, boring and stultifying.

 

Not The Mental Floss History of the World!  This is an entertaining romp through world history - the very highest level of overview - and I found myself driving the husband crazy between saying "you have to read this book!" and then reading stuff to him (let's face it, he probably won't read it anyway).  Lots of stuff.  This is a great read for those of us who want to know more about history but accept our limited attention spans because we don't find it that interesting.  Broken up into eras (not official ones) it gives readers an overview of what happened, a timeline for that era, anecdotes/details about the major players and finally a list of big-number statistics.  It's the kind of book where you can read a few pages, then put it down again without feeling like you've left off in the middle of something.

 

I wouldn't recommend this book for readers looking for anything academic, reverent or in-depth, but I'd highly recommend it for those out there who might be like myself:  undereducated about history and wanting to know more, but preferring a breezy, slightly irreverent delivery.  I'll definitely investigate their other titles, and be visiting their website regularly.