The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

Does the Dog Die? A Brief Review of The Book of Animal Ignorance, by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson

I have decidedly mixed feelings about this book. For a couple of weeks, maybe a bit longer, it was my “bed book” — a book I keep on my nightstand and read 5-10 pages at a time before going to sleep at night. And with it’s 2-3 page essays with facts about 100 or so different animals, it was perfect for that purpose.

Now, apparently the two Johns who wrote the book are involved with a British TV show called QI  for “Quite Interesting.” I don’t know if it operates like Jeopardy or what, but it is, essentially, a trivia show. The essays in this book are drawn from animal facts Lloyd and Mitchinson have come across in the course of producing and writing the show.

Most of the essays are enlightening and interesting, the prominent exception being the one on cats, in which the authors snark on American cat owners and get at least a couple of their facts wrong.

So why was I less than thrilled with this book? I don’t know. I do know that I would have been happier with longer essays about fewer species, because I didn’t feel I gained knowledge about the species covered, only a few random facts. If you’re going to write about goats, for example, five or six pages might be better than three, with less space devoted to seemingly redundant small rodents and jellyfish. Then again, that might just be my preference.

Anyway, I can’t recommend the book to those who are put off by unpleasant images of animals and that sort of thing — which is the purpose of this blog. It is MOSTLY UNSAFE. I think the two Johns had no choice but to go there, however.


April 11, 2009 - Posted by | animals, Book Reviews | , , , ,

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