John Mitchinson

John Mitchinson is the head of research for the British television panel game QI, and is also the managing director of Quite Interesting Limited. He is co-writer of the QI series of books with the show's creator John Lloyd.
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Fast on the heels of the New York Times bestseller The Book of General Ignorance comes The Book of Animal Ignorance, a fun, fact-filled bestiary that is sure to delight animal lovers everywhere. Arranged alphabetically from aardvark to worm, here are one hundred of the most interesting members of the animal kingdom explained, dissected, and illustrated, with the trademark wit and wisdom of John Lloyd and John Mitchinson.

Did you know, for instance, that
• when a young albatross takes wing, it may stay aloft for ten years
• vampire bat saliva—unsurprisingly, when you think about it—is the source of the world’s most powerful blood thinning drug, appropriately called draculin
• bombardier beetles fire a boiling chemical spray out of their rears at 300 pulses per second
• a bald eagle’s feathers weigh twice as much as its bones
• a giant tortoise recently died at the documented age of 255
• octopuses are dexterous enough to unscrew tops from jars
• spider silk is so light that a strand long enough to circle the world would weigh as much as a bar of soap?

So meet the water bears that can live in suspension for hundreds of years, the parasite carried by your cat that makes men grumpy and women promiscuous, and the woodlouse that drinks through its bottom. Marvel at elephants that walk on tiptoe, pigs that shine in the dark, and woodpeckers that have ears on the ends of their tongues.

If you still think a pangolin is a musical instrument, that hyenas are dogs, or that sheep are pointless and stupid, The Book of Animal Ignorance has arrived just in time.
The team behind the New York Times bestseller The Book of General Ignorance turns conventional biography on its head—and shakes out the good stuff.
 
Following their Herculean—or is it Sisyphean?—efforts to save the living from ignorance, the two wittiest Johns in the English language turn their attention to the dead.
 
As the authors themselves say, “The first thing that strikes you about the Dead is just how many of them there are.” Helpfully, Lloyd and Mitchinson have employed a simple—but ruthless—criterion for inclusion: the dead person has to be interesting.
 
Here, then, is a dictionary of the dead, an encyclopedia of the embalmed. Ludicrous in scope, whimsical in its arrangement, this wildly entertaining tome presents pithy and provocative biographies of the no-longer-living from the famous to the undeservedly and—until now—permanently obscure. Spades in hand, Lloyd and Mitchinson have dug up everything embarrassing, fascinating, and downright weird about their subjects’ lives and added their own uniquely irreverent observations.
 
Organized by capricious categories—such as dead people who died virgins, who kept pet monkeys, who lost limbs, whose corpses refused to stay put—the dearly departed, from the inventor of the stove to a cross-dressing, bear-baiting female gangster finally receive the epitaphs they truly deserve.
 
Discover:

* Why Freud had a lifelong fear of trains
* The one thing that really made Isaac Newton laugh
* How Catherine the Great really died (no horse was involved)
 
Much like the country doctor who cured smallpox (he’s in here), Lloyd and Mitchinson have the perfect antidote for anyone out there dying of boredom. The Book of the Dead—like life itself—is hilarious, tragic, bizarre, and amazing. You may never pass a graveyard again without chuckling.
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