Saturday, December 16, 2006

Book Review: "Schott's Almanac 2007"

Ben Schott, best known until now for his three "miscellanies" (Original; Food & Drink; Sporting, Gaming & Idling) has gotten into the almanac game; the 2007 edition was released this fall by Bloomsbury. Like the earlier volumes, this is a collection of entertaining and useful facts, organized by broad topics for easy browsing. Not really the sort of book to sit down and read in sequence, but perfect for dipping into now and then as the mood strikes you.

Like more "traditional" almanacs, Schott's includes some information pertinent to the year covered, including various awards presented, crime, election and other statistics, and the obligatory ephemerides. There are useful summaries of news stories and scientific studies, some handy glossaries, &c. &c. I particularly enjoyed the presidential comparison chart (p. 292-3), the book recommendations (p. 166) and the whole Books & Arts section (p. 159-180).

With occasional illustrations very reminiscent of those in the Wall Street Journal and a very nice design overall (even if the text does seem a little too small at times), this almanac is definitely worth a perusal, and I'll look forward to the 2008 edition with anticipation.

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