Anyone who knows me knows that I have an inordinate fondness for facts. Whether they be relevant to something in my life, or just useless trivia, I will usually read about it and think, "well I never." Among the Giles annuals and Pratchett books in my own personal library, there are a number of non-fiction books. Many are to do with natural history, but others will stray out into other sciences, language, history and even mathematics.
Yes, I am a word nerd.
For our wedding, we bucked a few trends; we made our own table centrepieces (with hedgehogs, of course), we insulted the registrar (link), and we made our own wedding favours, to be opened as the meal began. Intended to be something to help relative strangers strike up conversation with each other, we included, along with the ubiquitous sugared almonds, a few chocolate coins, a cheap toy such as you may find inside a Christmas cracker - and a folded piece of paper, upon which was written the following; a joke ("Two fish were in a tank. one said to the other, 'how do you drive this bloody thing?'") and a factoid, a little snippet to make people wonder.
To that end, books like this were invaluable.
Crammed with all sort of useless cra.. uh, information, this and others like it are fun reading. Especially when you are stuck in the smallest room in the house for a while...
I don't know which book it was, but one of my trivia books had a section on words that have been adopted into English from various other languages. And then proceeded to give us a literal translation of said word. For example...