Sure, this was released years ago, but I've never done more than skim through it. I'm currently trying to prioritise reading larger books on busy shelves that have a high likelihood of being "one and done", so I decided to give this a proper look. Overall? A little disappointing. I guess I'd been expecting some written, blog-style variations of the topics covered on the No Such Thing As A Fish podcast, but instead you get a mixture of factoid pages and weird (but, admittedly, very "annual" like) guest drop-ins from some of the more familiar faces from the show. Want a poem by Phil Jupitus (he is a solid poet; we've even been to see him do a poetry reading live once)? A weird photo-sequence with Rob Brydon and Ronni Ancona? Rowan Atkinson failing to sit in a chair? Nah, me neither.
And even the facts are often presented in rather odd ways. They're not bad, but I'd much rather get some additional context and detail, rather than either walls of text or weird non-sequiturs. Still, whilst there were some interesting bits and pieces worth remembering... but in a book of this size, four pieces of genuinely interesting information is not a great hit rate.
- The people of the Faroe Islands (Faroese) belief that their lands are inhabited by another group, the huldufolk ("other people"), who "lead a parallel existence, but cannot be seen unless they choose to be". Oh, and also trølls.
- Equatorial Guinea is apparently the richest country in Africa.
- Each year, up to 200 million tons of Chinese coal bursts into flames whilst still underground, outputting more greenhouse emissions that the total number of cars in Germany every year. One of these subterranean fires, in Baijigou in the north-west of the country, has been continuously burning for 150 years!
- The word "Avalon" means "apple orchard" in Celtic.