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Martin's Must Reads: 'Stuff You Should Know'

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“From the odd to the mundane, from the overlooked to the under appreciated, from the infinite to the infinitesimal; whether it involved a person, place or thing, whether it was an idea or an event, a process or a system, real or imagined, every day we found something that made us sit up, take notice, and say ‘huh, that’s interesting...we should talk about that.’”

I’m Betty Martin and that’s a quote from the Preface of Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant’s book Stuff You Should Know: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Things.

Clark and Bryant have been podcasting since 2008 about all kinds of interesting things and published a book of twenty-seven of them. They include: Mr. Potato Head, The History of Income Tax, The Pet Rock, Trillionaires, Jack Kevorkian, and Dog Smells. Here’s a quote about dog smells, “An average-sized dog’s brain is only ten percent the size of a human’s brain, but the part responsible for processing smell is forty times bigger. They have anywhere from twenty-five to sixty times more scent glands than we do, which makes their sense of smell 10,000 to 100,000 times better than ours.”

I love this book because it’s not only informative, but very funny. There are footnotes on almost every page and they too are informative and funny. In a chapter on "Keeping Up with the Joneses" a footnote informs us that the term hoity-toity should not be confused with hoi polloi. Another notes that Joseph Pulitzer is not pronounced PEW-lit-zer, but rather PUH-lit-zer or as Pulitzer himself instructed people, “pull it sir.”

If you’re looking for a break from the usual informational book, then you must read Stuff You Should Know by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant.

Betty Martin was born in Boston, Massachusetts to a Lutheran pastor and his organist wife. Betty’s love of books was inspired by her father who read to all four children each night.
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