Thursday, April 30, 2009

the know-it all one man's humble quest to be the smartest person in the world by a.j. jacobs

part memoir and part education (or lack thereof), the know-it all chronicles NPR contributor a.j. jacobs hilarious, enlightening, and seemingly impossible quest to read the encyclopedia britannica from A to Z.

to fill the ever-widening gaps in his ivy league education, a.j. jacobs sets for himself the daunting task of reading all thirty-two volumes. his wife, julie, tells him it's a waste of time, he friends believe he's losing his mind, his father, a brilliant attorney who once attempted the feat and quit somewhere around borneo, is encouraging, but, shall we say, unconvinced.

your book folded into my life quite nicely, in an unexpected way. i always wanted to read your other title, my year of biblical living but thought i should start with your first book. the know-it all is a bit long, but then again, so are thirty-two volumes of the encyclopedia, and this was a pleasant read. at times you were a little too WASPy and self-indulgent, and i am forced to wonder if your wife is charming, unflappable, mildly neurotic, and well-balanced as you portray her. regardless, i didn't roll my eyes that often and i was amused. it was the right book to be reading when i read it. if you're having a rough week, your book was an easy distraction.

in short, you amuse me so i'll seek out your other titles.

dutifully yours,
a lone reader

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