Friday, November 23, 2012

Jackie Has a Strange Fascination With This Book

The Definitive Compendium of Things You Absolutely, Positively Must Not Eat, Drink, Wear, Take, Grow, Make, Buy, Use, Do, Permit, Believe, or Let Yourself Be Exposed to, Including an Awful Lot of Toxic, Lethal, Horrible Stuff That You Thought Was Safe, Good, or Healthy; All Sorts of Really Bad People Who Are Out to Get, Cheat, Steal from, or Otherwise Take Advantage of You; and a Whole Host of Existential Threats and Looming Dooms That Make Global Warming, Giant Meteors, and Planetary Pandemics Look Like a Walk in the Park (with Its High Risk of Skin Cancer, Broken Bones, Bee Stings, Allergic Seizures, Animal Attacks, Criminal Assaults, and Lightning Strikes)


Did you know that carrots cause blindness and bananas are radioactive? That too many candlelight dinners can cause cancer? And not only is bottled water a veritable petri dish of biohazards (so is tap water, by the way) but riding a bicycle might destroy your sex life?

 In Encyclopedia Paranoiaca, master satirists Henry Beard and Christopher Cerf have assembled an authoritative, disturbingly comprehensive, and utterly debilitating inventory of things poised to harm, maim, or kill you—all of them based on actual research about the perils of everyday life. Painstakingly alphabetized, cross-referenced, and thoroughly sourced for easy reference, this book just might save your life. (Apologies in advance if it doesn’t.) Beard and Cerf cite convincing evidence that everyday things we consider healthy—eating leafy greens, flossing, washing our hands—are actually harmful, and items we thought were innocuous— drinking straws, flip-flops, neckties, skinny jeans— pose life-threatening dangers. Did you know that nearly ten thousand people are sent to the emergency room each year because of escalator accidents, and, despite what you’ve heard, farmers’ markets may actually be less safe than grocery stores? And if you’re crossing your legs right now, you’re definitely at serious risk.

Hilarious, insightful, and, at times, downright terrifying, Encyclopedia Paranoiaca brings to light a whole host of hidden threats and looming dooms that make asteroid impacts, planetary pandemics, and global warming look like a walk in the park (which is also emphatically not recommended).

Jackie says:
"First of all, please understand that this book is satire and humor, not the scariest news you've ever heard.  Henry Beard founded the National Lampoon, edited it in the 70s and then when on to write over 40 humorous books.  This is one of them.  His co-author, Christopher Cerf was also part of the National Lampoon as well as a composer-lyricist and a television and music producer as well as collaborating on several of Beard's books.  The only thing they are serious about is being funny.  

This book has been entertaining me for months (I got a really early review copy).  It has everything AND the kitchen sink in it, all of it dangerous and life altering/threatening/etc.  And if the information isn't enough for you, they provide some 50 pages of references to learn more.  There is a lot of crazy out in the world, these guys are just curating some it for your reading pleasure.  This book won't be everybody's cup of tea (which, by the way, is an entry in the E.P.), but for that certain slightly warped person in your life, this WILL be the perfect gift."

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