About me
About me

Any Question Answered by AQA 63336

Any Question Answered by AQA 63336One of my seemingly many lives involves answering questions for AQA 63336, and as well as being a question ‘answerer’, I’m also a reasonably frequent question ‘asker’. As part of their business, AQA 63336 have brought out a couple of books – the second of which, Any Question Answered, has just been released.

I’d like to state for the record that I have not been asked to review this book by AQA 63336, and my review is as impartial as ever, and fully compliant with the review policy of the site.

The book essentially consists of questions as texted to the service, and responses to them. The latest book is divided into eleven chapters, covering all manner of topics from animals to arts to etymology. In addition, and quite different from the first book, some questions have been put to a number of celebrities – notably Stephen Fry, who is known to be particularly fanatical about the service. It also contains a page of questions it challenges the reader to answer.

This isn’t one of the world’s greatest literary works, but it’s a wonderful little book for entertaining yourself or others, full of interesting and amusing facts. Who knew that Queen Victoria banned the colour black at her funeral, or that the Royal Mint issues 4.1 million coins per day? The beauty of printing the text-message answers is that they are all so short and pithy, and avoid the tendency of many books of random facts to wander off into boring irrelevance. In fact the humour displayed in some of the answers is what makes the book particularly great.

Of course, the book can also be enjoyed from another point of view entirely – it really is fascinating to see what people have texted in, and sometimes to wonder exactly what possessed them. Who cares what model number the Tardis in Doctor Who is, or how many atoms make up a beer mat? It’s very addictive reading.

AQA 63336 have been particularly clever as regards the time of publication of this book – right before Christmas – as it’s the perfect stocking filler for pretty much anyone. That said, some of the questions are probably a little unsuitable for children, but all-in-all, it’s great for friends and relatives alike. It’s definitely recommended.

Win a Copy

I had a copy of Any Question Answered to give away to a lucky UK reader of the site, who correctly answered the following question from the book:

Who was the second man in space?

  1. Yuri Gagarin
  2. Alan Shepard
  3. Neil Armstrong

The correct answer was Alan Shepard, and the lucky winner was Jonathan Rothwell – I’ll be in touch shortly to arrange delivery of the prize.

Thanks for all the entries – more than ten times as many as last time I ran one of these prize draws. Don’t forget that those of you who didn’t win can still get hold of a discount copy of the book in the site’s shop.

Look out for more prize draws soon!

Buy a Copy

If you’re not feeling lucky, Any Question Answered is available to buy at a reduced price from sjhoward.co.uk/shop, as is the first book, The End of the Question Mark.

Ask a Free Question

If you’ve never used AQA 63336 before, you can test them out by asking a completely free question here.

This 1,233rd post was filed under: Book Club, Prize Draws, Reviews.

Crap: A Guide to Politics by Terry Arthur

Terry Arthur: Crap

Note: I was sent this book to review by the publisher, and have reviewed it in compliance with the review policy of the site. Other companies are welcome to send me stuff to review – email me using the details on the right.

Crap: A Guide to Politics is a major update on Terry Arthur’s famous book from the 70s, 95% is Crap. It aims to deconstruct ‘political speak’, and expose it as ‘crap’ of one of twelve kinds, each of which is given a chapter in the book.

The book is certainly entertaining – it’s written with humour, and certainly made me smile. However, the clear anti-government stance of the author became wearing in parts, and there was often a strong feeling of him criticising every option without offering a solution.

That said, the book does highlight some quite startling U-turns by politicians, and some fairly worrying half-truths (and worse). It highlights the way in which the political process has become corrupt, and reliant on influencing the news cycle and assuming that the voter will forget last week’s news in favour of today’s.

However, the book itself has been published at an unfortunate time, which (thanks to the turbulent political times of late) makes it appear outdated as soon as it has hit the shelves. At the time of the book’s writing, Tony Blair is leading the Labour Party, much is made of Menzies Campbell’s leadership of the Liberal Democrats, and Cameron’s Conservatism is still seen as new and exciting. Clearly, things have moved on from there, but the central messages of the book hold true.

Arthur points out the core duality of any political process – the politican must represent both their constituents’ interests and their own, which are often disparous – and highlights some fascinating (and hilarious) episodes on which this has been clearly exposed to the public. But whilst maintaining a humour, there is a serious message underneath about the damage such approaches can have on the political process as a whole.

This book is both humorous, and also a serious deconstruction of the state of political play. That duality makes the book untidy and repetitive at times, and the humour sometimes comes across as juvenile, but it isn’t a bad book. It’s certainly accessible enough for the general reader, but perhaps not quite heavy enough for the political junkie. It’s worth a read.

Win My Review Copy

To comply with my self-imposed policy of not accepting payment for reviews, I held a competition to give away my review copy of Crap: A Guide to Politics. But it’s closed now – you’re too late.

Buy Your Own Copy

If you’re not feeling lucky, Crap: A Guide to Politics is now available to buy from sjhoward.co.uk/shop.

This 1,221st post was filed under: Politics, Prize Draws, Reviews.

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