Good Reading : September 2008
12 good reading i SEPTEMBER 2008 book trivia Are You 'In the Know'? Want to know what's cool and what's not? Need to know your Jacques Derrida from your Hermès Birkin? Style and fashion doyenne Nancy MacDonell has written for The New York Times, British Vogue and NYLON. She's now turned her hand to an elegant, educational volume which equips you with top fives and tens in culture, fashion and lifestyle. Work your way through chapters called '10 Books You Should Read', '10 CDs You Should Own', '10 Legends of Twentieth Century Design', 'Five Artists to Watch' and 'Five Cocktails to Order' and you're sure to be as culture-savvy as the best of them. In the Know: The classic guide to being cultured and cool by Nancy MacDonell is published by Hardie Grant Books, rrp $24.95. He Who Dares Wins 'Comping' is the art of entering competitions and apparently it's very lucrative. Sherry Sjolander from Canberra, with a degree in Criminology no less, discovered this after reading on the internet about a woman who won a year's worth of groceries Sherry decided to give it a go and became so good at it, (she's won $30 000 in cash and prizes in the last year and 219 competitions in 2006) that she's generously written a guide on how to do it. With around a billion dollars worth of cash and prizes available in Australia every year, there's plenty to go around including exotic overseas trips and exclusive dining experiences. The book is packed with advice on how to become a professional 'comper', such as, how to write the perfect 'words or less' entry and how to recognise a competition cheat. There's even a list of magazines with regular competitions and of course gr is one of them, but you 'compers' out there already knew that! How to Win Competitions: Everything you need to know to win a fortune is published by Allen & Unwin, rrp $19.95. The Art of the Snoop Would you let psychologist Sam Gosling PhD and his team of super snoopers into your bathroom or office? He specialises in what he terms 'snoopology', a form of personality profiling arrived at by digging around thoroughly in your stuff. That means he's interested in your desk, your bookshelf, what's under your bed, on your Facebook pages or in your iPod play list. For example, if you read Virginia Woolf, does that make you a feminist? If you have a poster of Che Guevera on your wall, are you a revolutionary leftie? Would-be snoopers beware of the danger of misreading clues and jumping to conclusions. Think of this skill in the 'wrong' hands and it's all a bit creepy. Snoop: What your stuff says about you is published by Profile Books, rrp $39.95. Can you Believe it? Entries and photos in the latest 'Ripley's Believe it or Not' title are indeed nothing short of totally bizarre. Many are not for the squeamish. Included for your amazement is the story of a lonely Beijing widower who bred over 200 000 cockroaches to keep him company after the death of his wife; an Albanian cockerel born with four legs; and a Romanian woman who makes clothes and accessories from her own hair. Edible restaurant in Louisiana offered diners boiled rattlesnake, chocolate-covered scorpions and beer-battered locusts; and apparently wild boars don't like listening to Meatloaf albums, or so say the Serbian farmers who play it loudly to deter the beasts from eating their crops. All this pales into insignificance when considering some activities which are simply too puzzling, such as the man who decided to fit 210 drinking straws into his mouth or Francis A Johnson of Minnesota who wrapped twine every lunchtime until he had a ball of it weighing in at 7 892 kg. Then there's the guy in Madras who puts a snake into his nose and pulls it out through his mouth and another in Kentucky who uses a full- size chainsaw to carve letters onto his toenails. Okay, I have to stop now! Totally Bizarre! Ripley's Believe it or Not! is published by Five Mile Press, rrp $24.95.