What was this huge trivia book?
August 23, 2018 1:39 PM   Subscribe

Help me remember this enormous trivia book from my childhood!

I have really scant memories of this book, so please bear with me...

It was at my grandmother's house, and I remember it being about the size of a phone book. It had a soft cover that was a light blue or a light bluish-green. There may have been some sort of drawing or cartoon.

It was some sort of trivia book, or book of lists, or facts.

I remember that the term "googol" or "googolplex" was in there, and I believe there were palindromes, in particular "A man, a plan, a canal - Panama!" and maybe "Was it a car or a cat I saw?".

It may have been specifically for kids.

As far as I know, it was published in the 1970s, but I have no way to know for sure.

I wish I had more to go on, but it has been probably twenty years since I last saw it.

Thanks! If I think of anything else that was in there I'll leave a comment.
posted by amicamentis to Writing & Language (18 answers total)
Was it The Book of Lists?
posted by heatvision at 1:43 PM on August 23, 2018

There are so many! I've googled "old book of lists" and "original book of lists" and gone through the images and I'm not seeing anything that looks as old as this book would have been...
posted by amicamentis at 1:47 PM on August 23, 2018

Yes The Book of Lists! We had that book at our house and it was great! So much fun, interesting, pointless trivia!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 1:50 PM on August 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

I was reminded of The People's Almanac which is apparently from the same authors as The Book of Lists.
posted by borkencode at 1:56 PM on August 23, 2018

I also came in here to say The Book of Lists (the original) and The People's Almanac. Both were huge bestsellers back in the day, and I spent daaaaaayyyyyys perusing them both.
posted by BlahLaLa at 2:17 PM on August 23, 2018

People's Almanac #3 was definitely light blue.

The other one that I liked was TRIVIATA. Cover had a light blue aspect.
posted by jessamyn at 2:28 PM on August 23, 2018

Was it The Book of Strange Facts and Useless Information? I loved that one as a kid, and I definitely remember the palindromes (my favorite being "Able was I ere I saw Elba"). Also has a large trim size -- maybe 8 x 11.
posted by holborne at 2:33 PM on August 23, 2018

I remember this book! It had the origins of the word googol in it, and, if I recall correctly, the paper was kind of low quality.

I believe it was The Mammoth Book of Trivia, and I remember there was a second edition that wasn't as good. Definitely a book for kids.

The Book of Lists was geared toward an older audience, but wasn't this book.

I can't easily locate pictures of the cover online, but maybe a library near you has it? http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/5221980
posted by metarkest at 3:32 PM on August 23, 2018

I did a very similar search recently and it turned out to be The Big Book of Amazing Facts, which I think is where I learned about googol! Definitely palindromes are in there also. It's from 1981.

I ordered a copy from eBay though and turns out it's like super racist.
posted by Threeve at 3:36 PM on August 23, 2018 [6 favorites]

Is it this guy? I 100% thought it was until I got home and paged through it but now I’m not so sure. Whatever book you’re talking about, I checked it out from the library dozens of times in elementary school.
posted by something something at 3:38 PM on August 23, 2018

The book you’re talking about - I’m pretty sure it also contained a memory “trick” for remembering how to spell separate, via a story about a woman who saw a rat and screamed about it to her husband, Sep. (“Sep, I saw a rat - E!”)
posted by something something at 3:43 PM on August 23, 2018

Wow, this was a whole genre! I remember this book, too, but none of the pictures quite line up.
posted by praemunire at 3:44 PM on August 23, 2018

Was it the Big Book of Amazing Facts? (I loved that book as a kid and wonder how it aged...)

Edit: whoops, Threeve already got this and apparently it didn't age well.
posted by centrifugal at 3:44 PM on August 23, 2018 [3 favorites]

I'm almost positive you're talking about the Incredible Treasury of Amazing Knowledge, which has the bluish cover and I remember having an article about googol and googolplex. There was also the plain old Treasury of Amazing Knowledge and the Super Treasury of Amazing Knowledge.
posted by kingoftonga86 at 6:31 PM on August 23, 2018

Oh my god you guys it was absolutely The Big Book of Amazing Facts!!

And the most amazing fact of all is that you guys found it based off of my scanty description!!!!

Yikes on the super racist part but it’s not really surprising...

That cover alone brings back some hardcore nostalgia. Thank you all so much!!!
posted by amicamentis at 3:12 AM on August 24, 2018

And I’m glad this Ask has given me so many new trivia books to read...
posted by amicamentis at 3:14 AM on August 24, 2018

You've got the right answer, but in the spirit of mentioning other 1970's trivia books, I was a fan of the Charlie Brown's Super Book of Questions and Answers series.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:31 AM on August 24, 2018 [2 favorites]

amicamentis, if you Memail me I will send you pictures of some pages!
posted by Threeve at 8:24 AM on August 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

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