What were your other favorite "Straight Dope" type books?

I have always loved trivia type books. As a kid I read and reread the Book of Lists books until they fell apart.

I was a big fan of the Imponderables Books (I even got my name in one and got a letter back from the author once).

The three Why Things Are books were also books I read over and over.

What were your favorites?

Guinness Book of World Records was a fave. But before that was a household encyclopedia set. Thank you, World Book.

I don’t think I’d have ever left my room as a kid, if I had something like wiki or the Internet as a whole, to amuse me.

The Book of Misinformation was a paperback published in the mid or late ‘70s; I still have my copy.

Big Secrets and Bigger Secrets by William Poundstone.

It’s not really trivia, but What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by XKCD’s Randall Munroe is very Dope-like with rigorous science applied to outlandish and humorous questions.

First and foremost, the works of Bergen Evans, the Proto-Cecil – On the Spoor of Spooks and The Natural History of Nonsense.

I’ll also second Czarcasm’s William Poundstone books, and add the third he unaccountably left off, ** Biggest Secrets**
For debunking, I recommend the works of Harry Houdini (Yes!), James Randi, and the publications of PSI, the former CSICOP. For UFOs, read the books of Donald Menzel, Phillip Klass, James Obserg, and others.

It was supposed to be a secret!

I loved the Tell My Why books when I was a kid. I think they’re still around. As an adult, The News of the Weird was (and is, in its Internet form) a favorite.

Would Jan Harold Brunvand’s urban legend collections count? (The Vanishing Hitchhiker, The Mexican Pet, etc.) Those were always entertaining to read.

Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers.

I have the first Imponderables book by David Feldman.

As do I, somewhere.

Likewise, on both accounts. The current incarnation is a pale imitation of what it was during the Seventies & Eighties (I had a 1975 and a 1980).

That sounds about right—mine dealt with the Apollo program, at least the landing on the Moon—and I think the start of Voyager, but not much after that. Grandparents had an older, 1960s-ish version. Syntax was quite a bit behind the Britannica, but it served to give me a life-long love of learning new things. Which is one of the reasons I stay here.

I haven’t had the heart to read newer versions.

The thing about the Guinness Book was that it would bring up some of the most random records, and observations, that’d make you think, “That’s weird, what’s the rest of the story?” Like the high dive records, that mentioned, as an aside, that some guy jumped from a zeppelin into the Bodensee from about twice the height of the cliff divers that took up most of the entry. There were a bunch of random tidbits like that.

My husband and I are fans of the Don’t Know Much About… series of books. We have Don’t Know Much About History, Don’t Know Much About The Bible, Don’t Know Much About The Presidents, and a few more. They’re always well written and a quick read. We like to bring them with on road trips because he can read a section and we can talk about it.

In Junior High and High School, the Guinness Book of World Records was fun to peruse. In 1978 when my best friend was in the hospital for surgery, he asked for the Book of Lists and I got it for him. I’d never heard it before.

As a kid in elementary school, I loved browsing through the encyclopedia and reading one topic, which then connected to another topic so I’d look up that, and so on. These days Wikipedia makes that easy. I believe in Wikipedia and their mission and donate to them.

As for the Trivia Games in the Thread Games sub-forum, I’m having a lot of fun with that. Sure a lot of it is copying and pasting, but some of it is from memory, and looking things up remains fun.

Reader’s Digest has published some good ones over the years:

Strange Stories, Amazing Facts: Stories That are Bizarre, Unusual, Odd, Astonishing, and Often Incredible

Mysteries of the Unexplained

North American Wildlife

I’d also recommend The Ripley’s Believe it Or Not series. Here’s a good one to start:

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Encyclopedia of the Bizarre: Amazing, Strange, Inexplicable, Weird and All True!

By Martin Gardner

One of best debunking books is Martin Gardner’s Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science. (Beaten by Dropo.)

Some previously mentioned, and some new worth listing:

Information Please Almanac - sometimes raw data is the best source of information

Guinness Book of World Records - I’ve read it cover to cover (skimming the sports chapter) during long bus rides in junior high (back when Dean Martin was the highest paid TV star)

Jan Brunvand’s urban legends books, the pre-internet version of Snopes.

I liked Reader’s Digest’s articles titled I am Joe’s X (e.g., Spleen), or I am Jane’s Y (e.g., Ovaries). Not a book, per se, but a series of articles in the publication.

One of me favourite books when I was a kid was Facts and Fallacies. This was separate from Fads and Fallacies but might well have ripped off its title. I’d love to find that again and have a read.