Brainiac by Ken Jennings
Cardathon Challenge, in their shoes
Question: What's a really good book I got for Christmas?
Sorry, I had to do that.
Not only did I get this book for Christmas from my sister, I gave the same book to my sister for Christmas. She was reading it while she was over for a visit, and reading out questions and quotes, intriguing us. I couldn't wait to get started. And I started using the Book Darts she gave me while reading this book. Thanks sis.
Some people apparently have a sponge-like brain that sucks up information and detail almost from birth, through some perfect-storm coalescence of curiosity, compulsiveness, and innate talent. These people are indiscriminate information gourmands, driven by inexplicable urge to scrawl every scrap of knowledge that comes their way onto their blank chalkboard of a brain. We did not choose trivia. Trivia chose us. p 7
I should confess my trivia history: we are a trivia (trivial?) family. We love trivia: my husband and parents and I played in a bar league before the children were born, and we won one season. In university, my roommate and some fellows from the boy's dorm had an ongoing Trivial Pursuit game until we knew all the questions before they were even read. Jeopardy! of course is still very big: we keep the daily calendar in the bathroom. My husband's siblings and their spouses are perennial champions at the Blueberry Festival annual summer Trivia Contest held in the local rink. So Jennings is preaching to the confirmed here. We Love Trivia!
The book follows Jennings' improbable run of winning 74 games on Jeopardy! but more than that, he investigates the rise of trivia games, the history of the popularity of trivia. Each chapter, titled for example What is Audition? (the applying for Jeopardy! process) or What is Composition? (writing good questions) also include about ten questions in them, with answers at the end of each chapter. Jennings has a very winning style, and is very funny. If you haven't been reading his blog, Confessions of a Trivial Mind you are missing out on an amusing read.
From the first trivia books, to the first radio and television shows, to the College Bowl games, to the town of Stevens Point annual 54 hour radio trivia contest, all manner and types of trivia are analysed. I particularly liked Jennings telling of his Jeopardy! experience, not revealing anything he couldn't - legal confidentiality clauses, but his winsome, charming, self deprecating manner makes this book a wonderful, overall, enjoyable read.
I'll leave with my trivia questions I throw out to my classes when time is short:
What is Chef Boyardee's first name? Hector
What three words best describe the Grinch? stink, stank, stunk
Where do you find the Sea of Tranquility?the moon
highlight the space after the question for the answer.