Sunday, March 18, 2012

Review: Why Can't Elephants Jump?

Published: 11/16/2011
Pegasus Books
240 pp.

Being a trivia buff, I'm always drawn to books with questions like these. This one is unique in that it is a compilation of questions from real readers of New Scientist magazine and the answers are given by readers as well (hopefully, ones who know something about the topic). I love the range of inquiries over everything from bodily functions. But, the informality (and sometimes incongruity) of the answers makes me lack confidence in their validity, and more than once I found myself questioning the purpose of even reading it because of that. I think I would have rather the editors had taken it one step further and instead of publishing the exact letters received for the answers, to sum up the best answers as they see them. It began to become tedious to read 2 or 3 answers to each question. It would have been nice to include imperial versions of the metric units given in the answers for all the American readers who aren't as familiar with meters and Celsius - I'm a scientist and I still had to pause and try to put things into perspective.
Overall, an informative and sometimes entertaining book, but I prefer the   more succinct style of the similar books such as Why Do Men Have Nipples? by Mark Leyner and Billy Goldberg or When Do Fish Sleep? by David Feldman.

Why Can't Elephants Jump? : 3/5

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