A Trivial Post


The Know-it-all: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A.J. JacobsI played Trivial Pursuit through the 1980’s with everyone else, but it never dawned on me that there were folks who immersed themselves in the world of trivia until recently.

He Has a Talent for Being Thorough

My reading began with A.J. Jacobs’ The Know-it-all: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World . I had enjoyed Jacobs’ very funny, very thought-provoking book about spending a year trying to follow all the rules in the Bible, so I turned to his book about reading the complete Encyclopedia Britannica. In addition to being highly entertaining, Jacobs’ leaves his reader with a great deal to think about.

What Next?

If you enjoy reading both about the minutiae that Jacobs uncovers and his insights as he spends so much time on the project, you will want to turn your attention to the trivia champion of our era. Ken Jennings was the biggest winner in the history of the game show “Jeopardy”.  And, because the rules have now been changed, he will never lose his title.

Champion Forever

Jennings captures his travails as a game show celebrity in the book Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs . I enjoyed Jennings’ story, but I also loved the glimpse at a world I was only vaguely aware of. There are folks playing trivia in bars, college teams competing across the country, and even a small town that hosts an all-consuming trivia weekend once a year.

Something New Every Other Month

I am not about to try out for Jeopardy but I did take a look at one more fun resource. I can sharpen my own trivia skills with Mental Floss magazine.  I took home a few back issues and the whole family was reading tidbits aloud and laughing at the odd facts. Don’t look for me on a television near you, but I might arm wrestle you for the latest issue.


Author Bio:

MK is a children's librarian, reviewer for The Horn Book, Inc. and has served on several national children's book award committees including the ALA Notable Books Committee, the Caldecott Award Committee, and the Carnegie Medal committee.

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