by John Lloyd & John Mitchinson

Crown, $19.95, 352 pages

Why does anyone bother going to school when some of what they learn is wrong anyway? With the worldwide success of the original Book of General Ignorance, authors John Lloyd and John Mitchinson are back again with The Second Book of General Ignorance. This sequel contains 187 simple, perfectly obvious questions you’ll be certain you already know the answers to. Fill up your brain with facts, trivia, and fascinating information that is perfect to impress people with at dinner parties or to use to win a game of Jeopardy.

How many arms does an octopus have? Eight, right? Actually, only two. Marine biologists have discovered that the animals use only two back tentacles to propel themselves through the water, leaving the remaining six for feeding. Did you know sharks don’t actually need to smell blood to know you are there? They have the ability to register faint electrical fields generated by all living bodies. Within each entry are even more questions and answers.

Lloyd and Mitchinson write with wit and humor. Pick your favorite subject: history, geography, medicine, common wisdom, science, literature, sports, languages, or the classics – facts about all are included, and you’ll be shocked to realize how much you don’t know.

Kathryn Franklin