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Before there was phone-a-friend or Google, librarians fielded questions, from the basic to the we’re-not-doing-your-homework-for-you. The New York Public Library discovered a cache of cards recording the questions asked of their librarians over decades of the 20th century and decided to share them in this book. With 21st-century resources and a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, Peculiar Questions may not have the answers the original askers expected (or wanted), but the book is completely entertaining. As a catalog of the curiosity and needs of humanity, this is a perfect gift for any bibliophile or library lover.— Jocelyn
The New York Public Library staff answers questions remarkable and preposterous, with illustrations by Barry Blitt.
Have you’ve ever wondered if you can keep an octopus in a private home? Do you spend your time thinking about how much Napoleon’s brain weighed? If so, Peculiar Questions and Practical Answers is the book for you. The New York Public Library has been fielding questions like these ever since it was founded in 1895. Of course, some of the questions have left the librarians scratching their heads…
“In what occupations may one be barefooted?”
“What time does a bluebird sing?”
“What does it mean when you’re being chased by an elephant?”
“What kind of apple did Eve eat?”
“How many neurotic people are there in the U.S.?”
In Peculiar Questions and Practical Answers, the staff of the NYPL has dug through the archives to find thoughtful and often witty answers to over one hundred of the oddest, funniest, and most whimsical questions the library has received since it began record-keeping over seventy-five years ago. One of The New Yorker’s best-known and beloved illustrators, Barry Blitt, has created watercolors that bring many of the questions hilariously to life in a book that answers, among others, the question “Does anyone have a copyright on the Bible?”