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Pacific Book Review

Title: Fifty Curious Questions: Pabulum for the Enquiring Mind
Author: Martin Fone
Publisher: AuthorHouseUK
ISBN: 978-1-5462-8002-6
Pages: 112
Genre: Reference /Trivia
Reviewed by: Allison Walker

 

Author Martin Fone is here to answer your quirkiest inquiries. Fifty Curious Questions, Pabulum for the Enquiring Mind answers all of life’s most pertinent questions with knowledge, and most importantly, self-effacing humor. Furthermore Fone’s quirky and good-fun humor is essential to the nature of these questions; without it the answers threaten to be mind-bogglingly dull. No one wants to know why the best ideas come to you in the bath unless they come to you with some laughs, and this is exactly where Fone hits his mark.

Questions vary from the truly fascinating (Can you unboil an egg?) to totally bizarre (Do you lose weight when you fart?) to surprisingly useful (How do you get rid of hiccups?). Answers don’t just deal in the yes or no of a question, chapters delve into lengthy explorations of why and how. Silly questions are taken into serious consideration. Answers you thought were impossible, like how to make sure no one blinks in a group photo, have some kind of solution. Even if you’ll never need to unboil an egg, you’ll learn something from reading about it in Fone’s book. Fone doesn’t waste his reader’s time, his book is a trove of useful and useless information, all of it equally engaging.

 

Fifty Curious Questions is exactly the type of book you want for a quick pick-me-up. Fone manages to craft answers that are engaging and fulfilling, yet knows exactly when to move on with the next inquiry before boredom threatens. It’s fast paced, easy reading and funny. If your dinner party is getting dull, questions like “What are the signs of a midlife crisis?” are sure to be a conversation starter. You will laugh more than once reading Fone’s answers to your curious questions.

The author writes that his is a quest for knowledge based on natural curiosity; as this natural curiosity is in us all. If Fone’s goal is to ask his readers to slow down, take puzzlement of the world around them, and question their mindless acceptance of life’s most befuddling events, then he has surely succeeded. It doesn’t matter if you’ll never use the answers gained through Fone’s questions, what matters is your curiosity and what you do with it. As in all things, the ability to laugh at the world around you makes Fifty Curious Questions a true pabulum for the enquiring mind.


The US Review of Books

Fifty Curious Questions: Pabulum for the Enquiring Mind
by Martin Fone
AuthorHouse UK

reviewed by Jacquelyn Gilchrist

“It is hard to imagine the scene of devastation as the rats suffered a slow and painful death.”

Nothing grabs a reader’s attention quite like starting a book off with some mild bathroom humor. If you’ve ever wondered whether releasing flatulence encourages weight loss, why Greek statues are not well-endowed, or whether an empty beer bottle smashed on your head might be more lethal than a full bottle of beer, then this is the right book for you.

Fone has a uniquely charming way of introducing puzzling topics, including whether apples and oranges are really incomparable (They aren’t), and whether humankind has already reached the evolutionary pinnacle (No, as being lactose tolerant and having blue eyes are both genetic mutations). Readers who are scientifically inclined will enjoy Fone’s simple yet comprehensive explanations of the research behind the answers to some of life’s most puzzling conundrums (e.g. Do dog fleas or cat fleas jump farther?). Even readers who generally prefer the fantasy worlds of science fiction will appreciate Fone’s style—humorously self-deprecating at times, and firmly tongue-in-cheek. Another pleasing aspect of this short book is the tendency of the author to draw together vignettes from all different disciplines. The fiftieth curious question in this collection—“Does the humble carrot make you see better in the dark?”—is a perfect example.

Readers will venture from military history to the science of radar to benevolent propaganda to pop culture to vitamin science to patriotic Dutch horticulturalists—all in fewer than two concise pages. So if you’re looking for some surprising factoids to amaze and astound your friends, you’ve picked up the right book. After all, where else could you read about putting someone’s hands in a bucket of slimy frogs for the sake of scientific advancement?

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

“Readers will venture from military history to the science of radar to benevolent propaganda to pop culture to vitamin science to patriotic Dutch horticulturalists—all in fewer than two concise pages. So if you’re looking for some surprising factoids to amaze and astound your friends, you’ve picked up the right book. After all, where else could you read about putting someone’s hands in a bucket of slimy frogs for the sake of scientific advancement?”

RECOMMENDED by

Fifty Curious Questions is exactly the type of book you want for a quick pick-me-up. Fone manages to craft answers that are engaging and fulfilling, yet knows exactly when to move on with the next inquiry before boredom threatens. It’s fast paced, easy reading and funny. If your dinner party is getting dull, questions like “What are the signs of a midlife crisis?” are sure to be a conversation starter. You will laugh more than once reading Fone’s answers to your curious questions.”

 

“fascinating… well-explained, ingenuous, and well-presented…”

★★★★★
Jenna Brewster
Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

I was really surprised by not only how fascinating “Fifty Curious Questions” by Martin Fone was, but how well-explained, creative (ingenuous), and well-presented it was on a wide range of topics, from farts to carrots (lol). It’s a pretty quick read – as the title implies it is 50 questions, and each one is asked… then discussed and answered with a few pages of text (on my iPad…). I liked the creativity of the questions Fone asks, and there were several I’d never thought of before (but once I read them, I was curious too!)  I thought that Fone’s narrative was very easy to read, and for being such an ‘educational’ book, was entertaining as well – I chuckled aloud several times, yet I actually do feel like I learned new things reading this, but also had a great time doing so. Great pacing, formatting, and the editing is nearly flawless. Highly recommended for fans of humorous nonfiction.

 

“super relevant and amusing…”

★★★★★
Claire Middleton
Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

True confession – I thought this would be a ho-hum, boring book that either wouldn’t tell me anything new, or would be dry and uninteresting. So I was only going to look at the first few “Questions” and expected to move on. Which I did…. But only after I read the entire thing in one sitting!! LOL I had SUCH a great time reading this, and I was completely enchanted by the scope of topics Martin Fone chooses to discuss… So many questions were things I’d wondered myself, and then there were those that I’d never considered, yet found so interesting. Fast-paced, and so readable cover to cover… I don’t usually read these types of books for pleasure but I like how he thinks outside the mainstream – as some of these questions are more on the ‘peculiar’ side, but still super relevant (and amusing). Interesting anecdotes and research for each question that enlightens and entertains. There was nothing I didn’t like about this book and since it far surpassed my expectations I am awarding it 5 stars and will be looking forward to reading more from Mr. Fone someday.

Eye opening and entertaining…”

★★★★★
Steph Coleman
Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

I admit I didn’t really know what to expect when starting this book “Fifty Curious Questions” by Martin Fone, seeing as how I’d never read anything by this author before, and these types of books can be so hit or miss for me…. Either I find them contrived and not funny (especially when trying to be) or they are too “textbooky’ – more for a college class than pleasure reading. Or worse – just a waste of time as it just recycles the same old information we already know. But I got sucked right into this one and was completely hooked all through to the end! I was so immersed in this book and impressed with the fact that Martin Fone completely avoids all these pitfalls, and makes this something fun, funny, interesting, yet I feel like I learned new things… and things I didn’t even know I needed to know!! Hahha… Some topics are a little more serious (questioning time, hiccup cure, floating eye things, etc..) some just random (grass smell, egg physics, hair…) and several were amusing (at least to me). Eye opening and entertaining, I found the book hard to put down, and I feel like I learned so much more than I anticipated I would. Very creative with an impressive blend of facts and with an engaging, flowing narrative that makes it fun to read. Professional formatting and editing is also noted.  Would be interested in reading more from Martin Fone in the future. Recommend for fans of humorous nonfiction/trivia .

 

Solid writing, great premise, great research/facts, great execution….   Overall a terrific read.”

★★★★★
Cody Brighton
Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

Solid writing, great premise, great research/facts, great execution…. Overall a terrific read that I feel really opened my eyes to different aspects of our lives/ our world in a way I never thought of, but I am so glad that I now know! I’ve always had a fascination with trivia, and what one might call ‘useless facts’ – I mean that endearingly, because these questions are so much more fun (and useful!) than say watching “Jeopardy”. While it’s not exactly asking the deepest, most profound questions ever (although maturity and mid-life crisis comes close), these are interesting and relevant nonetheless, and I think would make for some great conversations at a group gathering, or as a coffee table book. Pretty suitable for all ages (teens and older) and it is as entertaining as it is thought-provoking. If I had a small complaint, I wish there could have been some sources to cite some of the information, and I think there should have been more of a ‘summary’ or ‘closing thoughts’ after the last questions. Felt like it ended so abruptly.  But I thought Fone’s observations and assessments to be quite astute and shed light on subjects I’d never thought of… and I’m glad I now have.

 

“…well-written, lively, witty and informative.”

★★★★★
Cory Banyan
Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

I liked “Fifty Curious Questions” by Martin Fone – It is well-written, lively, witty and actually pretty informative on topics that no one really teaches you or talks about (well, I did know the carrot and the egg ones…). Great energy and articulate writing (good editing too) that gives you useful and interesting information, but doesn’t bury you with useless facts or unnecessary details. I like how well everything is explained and described and Mr. Fone narrates in an engaging and personable manner, and my only negative comment is that for some of them (like “man reaching end of evolutionary road”) I would have liked to see sources for the info and stats (and on a few others too), not that I don’t believe him, but because I’d like to see where the info comes from and perhaps where I could read more on the topic. But other than that, the editing and formatting was near flawless. Would read more from Mr. Fone and am delighted to see he has written another book in the same vein.

 

“…has valuable info that everyone should know.”

★★★★★
Layla Messing
Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

This was an excellent book that captured my attention from the beginning, pulled me in, and never once let go. Each part was written well and covered intriguing topics with enough depth to be useful and interesting, but still remained an easy and enjoyable light read. I like that this book seems to address a nice variety of topics that one has perhaps wondered about, but never knew where to find the answers, or just chalked it up to being one of ‘life’s mysteries’. Well wonder no more!  Was great the way the author actually provides valuable information to many situations (like dealing with a hangover and curing hiccups). I really liked Martin Fone’s writing style– it is so down to earth and natural.  Recommend for all ages because there is valuable info here that everyone should know

 

I was surprised to learn so many new things reading this, and think a lot of people will get a kick out of this book.”

★★★★★
Jhonnie Parker
Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers

The book is fast paced because much is divided into short segments of a few pages, and covering a variety of topics, and there is definitely lots to learn here, great tips and some amusing anecdotes as well.  I felt a strong connection with Martin Fone’s warm and engaging writing voice, and I thought the unique outline structure really made it easy to read this book in a way that if you don’t have a lot of time, or only can read in spurts here and there (like me) it is so good because you can pick it up from anywhere and it’s not like you lose track of the story… very short chapters for each question engages the readers and invites him or her to really participate in the whole process. I was surprised to learn so many new things reading this, and think a lot of people will get a kick out of this book.