A Flavour of the Book: “Finns used to measure distance by the length a reindeer can run without having a pee. The measurement is known as poronkusema, which, no surprises, means ‘reindeer pissing’ and is thought to cover a distance of between seven and ten kilometres. Reindeer cannot pee while they’re moving.”
The Authortrek View: This is a fascinating compilation of all there is to know about Christmas, from the ancient pagan festivals that the early Christians subsumed, proceeding to the banning of Christmas by the beastly Puritans, to today’s drunken revelry. Niall Edworthy provides us with a great many fascinating facts, such as the reason why Brussels Sprouts are so maligned is because they are most often overcooked, which leads them to emit their ‘characteristic farty aroma’. Although, as Niall Edworthy points out, correctly cooked sprouts are very good for you, and could even help in the battle against cancer. There are also some great stories in the book concerning Christmas, such as the Ealing firefighter who crashed his firetruck into a block of flats after a drink-fuelled Christmas day lunch… Christmas Eve 1968 saw the first manned space mission to orbit the moon. Unfortunately, astronaut Frank Borman had a stomach upset, which led to vomit floating around the capsule… There are perhaps too many references to Queen Victoria’s experiences at yuletide in the book, but this is perfectly understandable, as she contributed so much to what Christmas would become. Of course, many people dread the Christmas period, and Niall Edworthy does much to reflect this, such as quoting liberally from George Bernard Shaw, who hated the festive season. All in all, Niall Edworthy does a great job of conveying The Curious World of Christmas.
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