Monday, September 13, 2010


Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia BuffsBrainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs by Ken Jennings

On the library stacks: Non-fiction
Recommended for: Trivia fans

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't even watch Jeopardy! (don't forget the exclamation mark) nor did I see Ken's historic 74-win run. But I do like trivia and since Ken and I went to the same college at about the same time, I thought I would give this book a try.

I got an unexpectedly delightful surprise on the first page when I realized that I knew the friend that Ken drove down to the Jeopardy! try-outs with! In fact, I have a picture of him playing a rousing game of Spoons in my college apartment on my 20th birthday. (Katie: It's EARL!) I'll admit that frequent mentions of his friend Earl throughout the book really tickled me, but I would have liked the book without them.

Set against the backdrop of Ken's $2.5 million stint on national television, this book explores the history of trivia. We learn about how trivia has become more popular in recent years first through books and newspapers, and then radio and television. We learn about pub trivia and the cutthroat world of high school and college quiz bowls. And there are thoughtful discussion of if/why we should even care about trivia.

I thought this book was fascinating and funny. I laughed out loud numerous times and I loved the trivia questions sprinkled through each chapter. This is a fun book that's a quick read (and you may even feel a little smarter when you get done with it!).

Also reviewed by: A Reader's Journal ~ So Many Books, So Little Time

Book 82 of 100 for the 100+ Reading Challenge, Book 55 of 55 for the Countdown Challenge (2006), Book 37 of 50 for the RYOB Challenge, Book 48 of 50 for the New Author Challenge

Source: Purchased at my library book sale


bermudaonion said...

That is so cool that you know someone in that book! I don't watch Jeopardy! either, but my parents were fascinated with Ken's wins, so I bet my mom would love this book.

Katie said...

That is too funny.

Earl of all people.

Now you have to facebook Earl.
Just kidding.

Speaking of people we both knew from that year of college. . .did you keep in touch with Brooke or Sarah?

I kept in touch with Brooke for a little after college. We talked on the phone a few weeks after she delivered her baby in her mudroom because she couldn't get to the hospital on time. A classic story.

Another roomate a mine just informed me that Sarah is in her singles ward and doing great.

alisonwonderland said...

I really did think that this one was fun! Thanks for the link!

Nina said...

That's really fun that you know a person in that book! How weird is that. :)

Kim said...

This sounds pretty interesting. With recommendations from both you and Alison I will have to try it. By the way, we have the same alma mater.