Random Obsessions: Trivia You Can't Live Without

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Did you know Thomas Jefferson’s grandson was an ax murderer? Don’t you delight knowing some dinosaurs were teeny tiny as hens? Before buying that plane ticket, don’t you NEED to know which exotic islands still have cannibals? Wonder what it’s like to live in Hell Town at the End of the World? How about an ailment so surreal it’s named after Alice in Wonderland? In Random Obsessions: Trivia You Can’t Live Without, historian Nick Belardes has dug into the raw source material found in historical archives, scientific studies, and libraries the world over. You’ll also read first-person interviews with people who can explain the unexplained, from the permanently puzzling Mothman conspiracy to secret Star Wars Jedi religious cults, and the charmingly eccentric reason why British aerospace engineers sent teddy bears floating out into space. Truly trivia you can’t live without, Random Obsessions is filled with facts, lists, definitions, and astonishing information guaranteed to provide you with the best cocktail conversation for many years to come! Your guide, Nick Belardes, has devoted his life to poking around the peculiar and perplexing. Explore the unknown stories behind why the nation’s capitol didn’t stay in Philadelphia, why some fossils are smiling, and how, if Preparation H existed in the early 1800s, Napoleon would have won Waterloo. These real-world facts are outlandish enough to sharpen your brain and occupy your mind for hours of reading. This book is so fascinating and fun, you’ll become obsessed, too!
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About the author

NICHOLAS BELARDES is novelist, journalist, illustrator, memoirist and poet. His journalism has appeared on the homepage of CNN and his artwork has appeared in Memoir Journal, Knock Literary Magazine and 826 Seattle’s What to Read in the Rain (part of acclaimed author and philanthropist Dave Eggers 826 National). Nicholas currently teaches for Random Writers Workshop (RWW). He launched RWW in 2009, a low-cost writing critique, lecture and discussion group open to the public in Bakersfield and Fresno, California. He has most recently taught for Memoir Journal’s The (In)visible Memoirs Project, and has taught at Bakersfield College, CSU Bakersfield, the Art Institute of Las Vegas, and has guest lectured at UCLA, BARD College, various museums, libraries, galleries and writing groups. He has performed at the Texas State University’s Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center, The Beat Museum, MTV’s Rock N’ Read, The Levan Center, art galleries, coffeehouses, pizza houses, bookstores, and more.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Jul 10, 2009
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9781573445016
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Reference / Curiosities & Wonders
Reference / Trivia
Reference / Word Lists
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

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Franz Kafka, frustrated with his living quarters and day job, wrote in a letter to Felice Bauer in 1912, “time is short, my strength is limited, the office is a horror, the apartment is noisy, and if a pleasant, straightforward life is not possible then one must try to wriggle through by subtle maneuvers.”
 
Kafka is one of 161 inspired—and inspiring—minds, among them, novelists, poets, playwrights, painters, philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians, who describe how they subtly maneuver the many (self-inflicted) obstacles and (self-imposed) daily rituals to get done the work they love to do, whether by waking early or staying up late; whether by self-medicating with doughnuts or bathing, drinking vast quantities of coffee, or taking long daily walks. Thomas Wolfe wrote standing up in the kitchen, the top of the refrigerator as his desk, dreamily fondling his “male configurations”. . . Jean-Paul Sartre chewed on Corydrane tablets (a mix of amphetamine and aspirin), ingesting ten times the recommended dose each day . . . Descartes liked to linger in bed, his mind wandering in sleep through woods, gardens, and enchanted palaces where he experienced “every pleasure imaginable.”

Here are: Anthony Trollope, who demanded of himself that each morning he write three thousand words (250 words every fifteen minutes for three hours) before going off to his job at the postal service, which he kept for thirty-three years during the writing of more than two dozen books . . . Karl Marx . . . Woody Allen . . . Agatha Christie . . . George Balanchine, who did most of his work while ironing . . . Leo Tolstoy . . . Charles Dickens . . . Pablo Picasso . . . George Gershwin, who, said his brother Ira, worked for twelve hours a day from late morning to midnight, composing at the piano in pajamas, bathrobe, and slippers . . .

Here also are the daily rituals of Charles Darwin, Andy Warhol, John Updike, Twyla Tharp, Benjamin Franklin, William Faulkner, Jane Austen, Anne Rice, and Igor Stravinsky (he was never able to compose unless he was sure no one could hear him and, when blocked, stood on his head to “clear the brain”).

Brilliantly compiled and edited, and filled with detail and anecdote, Daily Rituals is irresistible, addictive, magically inspiring.
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