Saturday, September 9, 2017

All Facts Considered - Nonfiction Review

All Facts Considered: The Essential Library of Inessential Knowledge by Kee Malesky (Amazon)

Rating: Good
Source: Purchased

Description:  For the bestselling miscellany market, an NPR librarian's compendium of fascinating facts on history, science, and the art.

How much water do the Great Lakes contain? Who were the first and last men killed in the Civil War? How long is a New York minute? What are the lost plays of Shakespeare? What building did Elvis leave last? Get the answers to these and countless other vexing questions in a All Facts Considered. Guaranteed to enlighten even the most seasoned trivia buff, this treasure trove of "who knew?" factoids spans a wide range of intriguing subjects.

Written by noted NPR librarian Kee Malesky, whom Scott Simon has called the "source of all human knowledge"
Answers questions on history, natural history, science, religion, language, and the arts
Packed with valuable nuggets of information, from the useful to the downright bizarre

Genre:  Nonfiction - Reference

Why I Picked This Book:  Years ago I listened to an interview with Kee Malesky and really enjoyed it so I figured I needed this book.

My Impression:  This book isn't quite what I wanted it to be.  I think I wanted more of a memoir of the experience of being the librarian in charge of digging up crazy assortments of facts - with facts included of course - but this book is much more of a reference book.  There is no personal element to it at all.

The book is divided into 3 broad categories: history, science, and art.  Each category is divided into a few more subcategories and than each subcategory has dozens of subjects with as little as a paragraph to as much as a page and half written about them.  There is a little bit about everything you could ever possibly want to know about in this book and it is one of those that I find myself opening to a random page and reading a little bit about Hometown Names, Lost Words of the Bard, or The Secret Ballot.

While this isn't a book you'd sit down and read from cover to cover it is a fun book to have around as a coffee table or guest room book.  There's bound to be something in here that everyone finds interesting.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I probably wouldn't buy another reference type book but I'd love to know more about the librarians that run all these facts down and their process.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy reference style books this is a very fun one to have around.


  1. Sounds kind of like AJ Jacobs ("Know it All", about his experience reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica and going on Jeopardy. That was one I found via NPR as well..

  2. Can see why you'd want the personal element in it as would make a good book excellent. This is the kind of books some people love to pick up facts and say "Did you know...." Yes great coffee table book.

  3. As I read your read your review I was think coffee table book...and then you said it. Reminds me of the big book of why.

  4. These type of books are fun when I have a few moments and want to be distracted by trivia knowledge. Thanks for sharing about it. :)

  5. I would have enjoyed a more memoir with facts type book, like you were expecting, I think. I am glad you enjoyed this anyway!

  6. I like books like this when I don't have a lot of time but I want to feel like I'm reading something worth reading, you know?

  7. Good review, Katherine. I agree I think reading a reference librarian's memoir would be really interesting. I'm not so sure I want to have a book of miscellaneous facts!

  8. This sounds like a good book to have on hand even if it isn't one that you would want to read for long. I would have enjoyed a bit more of their personal experience as well.

  9. I'm sure some of the facts are really interesting, but I'm with you: I would much prefer a memoir of Malesky's experiences as the librarian for NPR. I mean, can you think of a cooler job?

  10. If it's NPR related, I'm in! Glad to know what to expect.