Friday, February 27, 2015

The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs

[I read this book in 2009, and wrote this post immediately following.]
Esquire is my favorite magazine and Jacobs is hilarious--but I just didn't enjoy reading it the way a factoid-fiend would. This is not to say the book wasn't worth it. I'm glad I read it, but I was more driven by finding out if he ever had a child, rather than what knowledge he gained from his quest. In fact, it was more his writing style, than topic, which pulled me through the book:

Exhibits A - E
A. "The only time I'd ever encountered the concept of a penis bone was during conversations with my college friend, Ileana. Ileana had a very casual relationship with the truth." 22
B. "Savage Norse soldiers from the middle ages who, it is said, went into battle naked. Hence 'going berserk.' So to truly go berserk, you should take off your pants. Noted." 25
C. "I love this cafeteria! This is the most beautiful cafeteria I've ever seen. And this baked ziti--this is fucking delicious! You get to live in these dorm rooms? They're palaces. And your library carrels are so well designed. What beautiful fluorescent lighting! God, look at that pile of bricks in the yard. That's the most gorgeous pile of bricks at any college I've ever seen." This is Jacobs recounting an ecstasy trip at Brown. I, too, would be jonesin' over library carrels. 71
D. "Eventually I learned that asking, 'What do you do for a living' is bad Mensa etiquette, the equivalent of asking the average person, 'How often do you masturbate.'" 148
E. "If I twisted my ankle or got pistol-whipped by a gangsta rapper, she'd blame it on my not getting the proper eight and a half hours." 291

And, although I'm not big into facts, the two-penis-ed male and two-vagina-ed female bandicoots are rather interesting (291). And of course, any mention of David Granger is noteworthy, especially the insight on his lingo (295).

I did Google Jacobs to see if he works with Esquire. Indeed, he does, and seems to have written some pretty fabulous things for the magazine. What also intrigued me is that after his Great EB adventure, Jacobs found himself another quest, which ended with the book, A Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible. I definitely remember reading the Esquire issue that had advice from a Biblical-enhanced Jacobs. Maybe later I'll see what else he's had to say. But for now, I'll stick to his humor in perfectly pint-sized and poignant proportions.

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