cover image Schott's Original Miscellany

Schott's Original Miscellany

Ben Schott. Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, $14.95 (158pp) ISBN 978-1-58234-349-5

Ever wonder how one ties a sari? Or who makes the Queen of England's pork sausages? How about which three films managed to take all five of the top Oscar awards (picture, director, actress, actor and screenplay), or which Burmese kings died""curious deaths""? Answers to these questions and hundreds more can be found in this delightfully eclectic collection of facts, diagrams, quotations and symbols. Charmingly designed (with its various typefaces, columns and occasional graphics, it looks a little like an old-fashioned almanac), Schott's slim volume was an unexpected bestseller in England. Now the 28-year-old British designer-photographer has updated the book for American readers. Among its additions, the North American version includes a chart of cattle branding symbols, a list of notable Canadians and a description of the Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Internationally essential trivia--such as the recipe for a martini, instructions for tying a bow tie, and a selection of quotations from Dr. Johnson--has, of course, been preserved. Schott declares that the purpose of his little book is to""gather the flotsam and jetsam of the conversational tide."" Readers may find its smile-provoking pages absolutely addictive. Photos, drawings.