Why Girls Can't Throw... and Other Questions You Always Wanted Answered

Mitchell Symons, Author
Mitchell Symons, Author . HarperCollins $12.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-06-083518-7
Reviewed on: 12/05/2005
Release date: 02/01/2006

The structure of Symons's genial entry in the humorous trivia genre is simple, if hardly scientific: the author thinks of a question ("Would it kill someone if you dropped a coin off the top of a skyscraper and it hit them?") and then contacts an expert, who is usually annoyed by Symons's questions (he calls many authorities more than once), for the answer (in this case, no; the coin wouldn't be moving fast enough). More often than not, Symons (That Book... of Perfectly Useless Information ) eschews the specialist route and just calls up a friend who might know something; an out-of-work actor mate tells Symons why thespians won't say the name of the play Macbeth (long ago, when most towns had a theater, if a play was bombing, they'd put on an old standard like "the Scottish play," making it a harbinger of bad luck). After about 20 or 30 of these entries, the effect begins to pall, especially since many of the answers are based on dodgy anecdotal evidence. But then, this is a book designed for skipping around, and there's always something better just a few pages away—who knew, for instance, that three popes have died during sex? (Feb.)

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