Life’s interesting facts

Book-buying is my vice, as well as my virtue.
Most of my books are non-fiction. Clutter is a prominent topic.
And I love books about positive thinking, optimism, and cheerfulness.
I’m a pushover for any book that has the word happiness in the title.
But sometimes, I buy books just for the fun of it! Such a book is “The Idiot’s Guide to Not So Useless Facts.”
This guide was gathered by an expert team of fact-finders and pop culture specialists–Dane Sherwood, Sandy Wood, and Kara Kovalchik–and includes 1,300 interesting facts.
The facts are organized in alphabetical order from “Apples” to “Kangaroos” to “Water.”
“The Idiot’s Guide to Not So Useless Facts” is especially recommended for middle and high school libraries. And I recommend it for adults!
It’s not a book to read in one or two sittings. Rather, it’s a book to dip into when you need a quick lift.
Here you’ll find little bits of trivia for fun and information–interesting facts to share with your friends and family.
For instance, did you know eyeglasses were invented in the 13th century?
But it wasn’t until 500 years later that someone came up with the idea of attaching bars to fit over the ears and help hold eyeglasses on the face.
Another invention that came before its time was the toaster.
The toaster was invented in 1905, but it was almost 25 years before Wonder Bread came up with the idea of sliced bread in a package.
We all grew up reading William Shakespeare’s famous writings in English class. But did you know that Shakespeare, who lived from 1564-1616, is still remarkably current.
He is credited with coining the phrase “in a pickle” and introducing the first “knock-knock” joke.
Here are two interesting food facts:
Coffee first was brewed in the ninth century when a goatherd noticed his goats became excited after eating berries from wild coffee bushes.
And mushrooms were considered a delicacy only fit for royalty in ancient Egypt 4,500 years ago. Commoners weren’t even allowed to touch them.
If you ever feel like criticizing our health care system, just remember that, until the mid-1700s, barbers in England also were surgeons.
In addition to cutting hair, they pulled teeth, removed kidney stones, and performed other surgeries.
Finally, here’s my favourite fact and a challenge to go with it.
Did you know that the letter “E” is the most commonly used letter in the English language?
In 1939, during the final year of his life, Ernest Vincent Wright decided to write a complete novel. And just to make it interesting, he decided to do it without using the letter E.
With three Es in his name, the author had to use the vowel on the cover and in his introduction. But the body of his famous work, “Gadsby,” accomplishes the task–all 50,000 words of it are E-free.
Wright drew inspiration for “Gadsby” from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” which was published 14 years earlier.
Wright encouraged others to take on the challenge of writing without the letter E.
So, if you want to exercise your brain, just try sending an e-mail to a friend without the most common letter in the alphabet!
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist.
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