Monday, March 19, 2012

The Book of the Dead: Lives of the Justly Famous and the Undeservedly Obscure

I am currently reading this book - The Book of the Dead: Lives of the Justly Famous and the Undeservedly Obscure.

After hanging around in the digital age long enough, I find that my attention span is getting shorter and shorter. It's more difficult to finish a novel nowadays. I almost never did manage to finish any book in recent years.

In fact, the last book that I managed to finish reading and in about three days was the last sequel of the Harry Potter series. I wouldn't be surprised if someone had told me that Ms JK Rowling had cast a magic spell on it and that why we are all hooked reading it.

Anyway because of my shorter attention span, I would chose books with many little stories instead to keep me interested. And the book of the dead is one of such books.

It's a compilation of short life stories of many famous "dead" historic figures like Christopher Anderson, Sigmund Freud, Leonardo Da Vinci to some people whom you might have heard of but not really know much about them like Mrs Mao Ze Dong for example.

So, these famous people were first grouped into thematic chapters like "Bad Start in Life" and "Happy Go Lucky", as if to suggest why they were the person they were. Then every person's life story is summarised into a few pages. Most of the information that you should know or didn't know about the person is highlighted. Then they elaborated only the more interesting bits of their lives in slightly longer paragraphs.

I find it quite interesting and enriching. I could read the life stories of a couple of people then put the book aside when I get bored. After a few days, then pick it up again without feeling missing out on something. The content quite easy to digest as well, almost like reading a tabloid but with historical facts and backing in it.

The authors, John Mitchinson and John Lloyd apparently had a series of books under similar theme – I bet you didn’t know about this. Maybe when I finish the book, I will buy the rest of their series. I quite like this one : The Book of Animal Ignorance: Everything you think you know is wrong.

Read more from Google Books review:

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