December 2005

Facts and stats

By Ben Schott
Review by
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Ben Schott has enjoyed success with two previous books, Schott's Original Miscellany and Schott's Food & Drink Miscellany. Now the London-based photographer, designer and all-around trifler offers us Schott's Sporting, Gaming, & Idling Miscellany, an ever-so-readable and information-packed compendium devoted to the trivia of all manner of sports, games and time-passing activities. Schott compiles fascinating, seemingly endless lists (Super Bowl champs, Stanley Cup winners, bowling and gambling terms, golf nomenclature, Evel Knievel's fractured body parts, etc.); intriguing quotes, from the diverse likes of George Orwell, Knute Rockne, Ian Fleming, Richard Nixon and Jean-Paul Sartre; and the rules for engaging in various parlor games and more uncommon sporting events and pastimes such as caber tossing, backgammon, croquet and hopscotch. He even offers a schema for making a paper airplane. There's arcane history here (e.g., the first crossword puzzle is reproduced), amazing facts, literary excerpts, superstitions and under-the-radar oddities such as an explanation of how a pair of dice are loaded. This is a browsing gem that should supply any idle reader with plenty of entertainment and amusement.

Martin Brady is making out his Christmas list at home in Nashville.

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