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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