Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Review: Rogerson's Book of Numbers by Barnaby Rogerson


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
THE STORIES BEHIND OUR ICONIC NUMBERS
Rogerson’s Book of Numbers is based on a numerical array of virtues, spiritual attributes, gods, devils, sacred cities, powers, calendars, heroes, saints, icons, and cultural symbols.
It provides a dazzling mass of information for those intrigued by the many roles numbers play in folklore and popular culture, in music and poetry, and in the many religions, cultures, and belief systems of our world.
The stories unfold from millions to zero: from the number of the beast (666) to the seven deadly sins; from the twelve signs of the zodiac to the four suits of a deck of cards. Along the way, author Barnaby Rogerson will show you why Genghis Khan built a city of 108 towers, how Dante forged his Divine Comedy on the number eleven, and why thirteen is so unlucky in the West whereas fourteen is the number to avoid in China.

MY TAKE:
I like trivia books a lot so this book got my attention right away.

Rogerson's Book of Numbers contains trivia about different phrases and things that are associated with certain numbers.

When I read trivia and general knowledge books, there are two things I look for. One is if it has a lot of things that are new to me. Second, if the information is delivered in such a way that I don't get bored.

This book certainly had quite a few things that were new to me. For instance, I thought that "A Thousand and One" was always called that, but it turns out, it was originally called "The Thousand Nights." That makes me think of sequels, and I guess, in a way it was, although it was more of an extended version sequel since it added new stories to the original ones.

A lot of the information wasn't new to me, though, specifically the ones that were related to different religions. My World Religions professor in college was very thorough, so I recognized a lot of the names and other things.

I did appreciate, though, that the book included numbers that were relevant to different countries all over the world, and not just those in America and Europe.

As for the overall tone of the book, it wasn't too textbook-like and there was some effort to make it conversational. However, since the layout and format was almost list-like, my mind had a tendency to wander. I think this book would benefit from a bit more graphics or change in layout to break the monotony.

Thanks to NetGalley and Picador for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. You'll learn a lot.
  2. It doesn't just focus on American and European culture.
  3. There's pop culture references too.

THE BAD:

  1. It can tend to get monotonous. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You like the Mental Floss series.
  2. You like trivia.
  3. You are fascinated by numbers. 

RATING:
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Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

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