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What If?
What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions | Randall Munroe
From the creator of the wildly popular webcomic xkcd, hilarious and informative answers to important questions you probably never thought to askMillions of people visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe's iconic webcomic. His stick-figure drawings about science, technology, language, and love have an enormous, dedicated following, as do his deeply researched answers to his fans' strangest questions.The queries he receives range from merely odd to downright diabolical: What if I took a swim in a spent-nuclear-fuel pool? Could you build a jetpack using downward-firing machine guns? What if a Richter 15 earthquake hit New York City? Are fire tornadoes possible?His responses are masterpieces of clarity and wit, gleefully and accurately explaining everything from the relativistic effects of a baseball pitched at near the speed of light to the many horrible ways you could die while building a periodic table out of all the actual elements.The book features new and never-before-answered questions, along with the most popular answers from the xkcd website.What If? is an informative feast for xkcd fans and anyone who loves to ponder the hypothetical.
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erzascarletbookgasm
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#GratefulReads A few #NonFiction books from my shelves.

Also more options for #NFNov reads.

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks These look good!! 📚🙌🏻 1w
OriginalCyn620 🙌🏼📚❤️ 1w
rsteve388 1 pt 1w
67 likes3 comments
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KathyWheeler
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Pickpick

What I learned from this book by the creator of the excellent webcomic, xkcd, is that if you carry out any action far enough, matter either becomes plasma or explodes. Also, people ask him some very odd questions.

25 likes1 stack add
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bell7
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Pickpick

Using questions he's received through his website, former NASA roboticist and webcomic artist of xkcd Randall Munroe here answers some outlandish "What ifs". The result is an entertaining Q&A that had me laughing out loud even when I couldn't follow the answer (I never did take physics). The audiobook is narrated by Wil Wheaton, and the book includes humorous stick figure cartoons, so whichever format you choose, you're bound to be entertained.

16 likes1 stack add
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KathyWheeler
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Reading a little bit of this tonight, then sleep. Goodnight.

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midath75
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Pickpick

I've had this book in my Audible app for a while and finally got around to listening to, and I couldn't stop. Great book if you're into science and/or chemistry. Will Wheaton made me chuckle more than a few times and made this book a lot of fun to listen to. Highly recommend.

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IamIamIam
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Listening to Adam Savage & Randall Munroe talk about experiments and how not succeeding is vital to the process... and talking about weird situations in between!

julesG Oh, wish I could have been there. This is exactly what makes science so exciting - trial and error and learning from it. 5mo
37 likes1 comment
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Redjewel_7734
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Pickpick

This is a delight. If you‘ve ever wanted fun, funny, well thought out & researched answers to some of the most inane hypothetical questions this is the book for you. & what could make it better than having Wil Wheaton read it to you? Really, this is just a pure fun delight & one I will return to when the world is a bit much.

JSW So good!! 6mo
Gillyreads I really enjoyed this! 6mo
Redjewel_7734 @Gillyreads it‘s just so fun isn‘t it 😊 6mo
Gillyreads @Redjewel_7734 it is! We did it on audio, so great. 6mo
77 likes1 stack add5 comments
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RamsFan1963
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Pickpick

I bailed on this book the first time, too much math made my brain hurt. I tried again with the audio, which was much better, but still at times the math was overwhelming. Will Wheaton is an excellent narrator, which surprised me since his voice usually annoys me. 3 💥💥💥 1/2 out of 5

rretzler I have to say that Wil Wheaton has become my favorite narrator. 6mo
RamsFan1963 @rretzler I will say this did make me want to seek out other books Wheaton has narrated. Do you know of any other non-fiction ones he's done? 6mo
rretzler Unfortunately, I don‘t. I mainly listen to him read science fiction. He narrated both of Ernest Cline‘s books and many of John Scalzi‘s. Scalzi‘s writing can be sarcastic and Wheaton has an almost deadpan voice which is perfect for Scalzi‘s writing. 6mo
RamsFan1963 @rretzler Yes I picked that sarcasm on this book. I knew he narrated The Collapsing Empire and The Consuming Fire, but I've already read them, also Cline's Ready Player One and Armada. 6mo
57 likes1 stack add4 comments
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SergejMolotow
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IamIamIam
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Pickpick

This book was a pick for me but I didn't get to finish it because I had 2 holds come in at the same time so I returned this with a handful of chapters to go but it's really quite smart and funny. Wil Wheaton has the perfect sarcastic tone for a book like this and you'll find well researched answers and LOTS of very large numbers. Caffeinate well before approaching this guy.

julesG I bought this ages ago and have only read the first chapter. But this first chapter was great! 11mo
IamIamIam @julesG It's definitely a great coffee table book to pick up and read in small snippets. I found myself drifting off from information overload a few times so I checked out for a bit and came back the next day. It's a lot of fun, though! 11mo
31 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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IamIamIam
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A cool question: What's the relationship between mother and daughter if the mother's stem cells are used to grow sperm cells. They TOTALLY lost me at role playing statistics instead of simple genetics!!! 🤣🤣🤣🤣

CSeydel Where do they get a Y chromosome? 11mo
IamIamIam @CSeydel They don't, which is why a woman can only have a daughter if she self fertilizes. The determination would be that the child would be close to inbred with severe genetic mutations. After all the D&D jargon, it ended up being quite interesting! 11mo
CSeydel No, I meant that genes on the Y chromosome are necessary for sperm cell formation. But a recent reports indicate that may not be true after all. I didn‘t know that. 11mo
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CSeydel Why do you say the daughter would have severe genetic mutations? Presumably, if you‘re starting the process by growing sperm from stem cells, you‘re not opposed to pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to weed those out. 11mo
IamIamIam @CSeydel The writer did say it's a hypothetical scenario, as almost all the situations in this book are, because recently an article was published saying "sperm like cells" were created, not actual sperm cells capable of actual fertilization. You should check the book out! 11mo
CSeydel I have the book 😉 My son read it, I‘ve only browsed it. I‘ll have to look for that scenario! (edited) 11mo
IamIamIam @CSeydel Oh that's so funny!!! 11mo
CSeydel 🤗 11mo
IamIamIam @CSeydel It's chapter 30, Self Fertilization. 😃 11mo
29 likes9 comments
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IamIamIam
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This book has too many GINORMOUS numbers for 9am...

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IamIamIam
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Final product! Thanks for following along today, @Tamra @Trashcanman @ravenlee & @kaye! Clearly, I thought my appliques were much larger than they actually were. My daughter asked how the Tooth Fairy will be able to tell where she put her teeth! Lol

ravenlee Oh, I like it! I guess if the Tooth Fairy has any trouble you could add something in the middle. 😆 12mo
IamIamIam @ravenlee Lol, like a flashing light? ? I said to her, "You really think the Tooth Fairy could miss this thing?" ?? 12mo
Trashcanman Super sweet! That skill It amazes me. Looks cute. 12mo
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IamIamIam @Trashcanman Thanks so much! You could totally do it. You wrap yarn around a hook & pull that hook through a hole! Now knitting uses 2 hands... that I don't get. LOL 12mo
AmyG I have tried a few times to crochet and failed miserably. Got frustrated and stopped. This is just adorable. @Trashcanman It amazes me, too. 12mo
IamIamIam @AmyG Aww, I know you could do it! I teach at a high school for their continuing education program. Sometimes it's easier to learn from someone or from YouTube rather than trying to learn on your own. 12mo
AmyG Ha. I tried both. Maybe some day I will actually learn. 12mo
JoScho Super cute! 12mo
Trashcanman @AmyG 👀 12mo
AmyG @Trashcanman 👆🏻 12mo
Tamra Very cute though! 12mo
32 likes11 comments
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IamIamIam
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"Think of the elements as dangerous radioactive short lived Pokemon."
"You do not want to catch them all."

??? My favorite chapter so far!!! This guy is hysterical!

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IamIamIam
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Next book, still waiting...

Trashcanman That was fast 12mo
IamIamIam @Trashcanman Thanks! Luckily it's going to be small so I'm about halfway done. Unfortunately, I forgot a scissor. 😖 12mo
ravenlee That‘s some good progress! 12mo
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IamIamIam @ravenlee Thanks!!! I always think I crochet really slowly but I think I'm just easily distracted. 🤣 12mo
Kaye Whatcha making, and what‘s the name of your yarn ? It‘s very pretty (edited) 12mo
IamIamIam @Kaye Thank you! I'm making a tooth fairy pillow for my daughter. I have little tooth appliques at home so I'll put that on after I stuff it. 😁 I have a wrapper on another ball of yarn at home so I'll post in a bit. I'm going on over 2 hours at Pep Boys. 🤪 I know it was $1 from AC Moore! Lol 12mo
Kaye Gonna be cute ! Thank you. Don‘t have hate waiting in line fir boring stuff like that ? Good thing you brought stuff to do. 12mo
IamIamIam @Kaye I got home & ate so I'll have this done by the end of the day. 😉 The yarn is Nicole Quality Value Basic II Yarn. The color is YRN 2668B. I'm not sure if you have an AC Moore store in your area but I can keep an eye out in my local store if you want any! They're small balls, too, so let me know if I can look for it. 😘 12mo
Kaye Thanks very much. No, we don‘t have any of those stores in our area that I know of. Seeing you guys with your crochet and knit projects make me want to get back into it again. I haven‘t done very much of that for a really long time. I don‘t have many people left to make things for, but maybe I‘ll try making some Warm Up America squares. 12mo
IamIamIam @Kaye I teach a crotchet class now but I have been making blankets for the local nicu departments, lapghans for nursing homes and baby blankets for the VA women's clinic! They appreciate all donations so don't count them out, especially if you want to get back into it. 🤗 12mo
IamIamIam *Crochet not crotchety... 😂😂😂 12mo
Kaye That‘s great ! All our local libraries do the WUA squares during fall and winter. Our library in town made them one year for the nursing home in our town. So many of those folks never get visitors ,so they really appreciated getting pretty colorful afghans. Always someplace to donate to for people in need of a boost. What type items is your class making ? 12mo
IamIamIam @Kaye I've always wanted to do WUA but my scraps are always in use and I had done craft fairs in the past but you're right. There's always somewhere you can donate to! My class is kind of varied. It was an instructional class but some students moved faster than others. I wrote a pattern for a scarf and several students made it and I made 2. Lol 12mo
41 likes13 comments
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emilyrose_x
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And last but not least, another non fiction book. I enjoy science and this looks like it will be both very interesting and funny at the same time!

It describes itself as "scientific answers to hypothetical questions" ?

MatchlessMarie I‘ve never seen this cover. I like it! 13mo
60 likes1 stack add2 comments
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MaryMac87

But it turns out that trying to thoroughly answer a stupid question can take you to some pretty interesting places.

1 like1 stack add
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Rachel.Rencher
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I always read something that makes me think before bed. For the last year or so I've been making my way through my Lonely Planet travel books. I just started on What If? last night and I love it! The first scenario is what would happen if the world suddenly stopped spinning...let's just say I had some crazy dreams after reading this. 😂

julesG I love this book. Ingenious ideas. 1y
HeidiReads I had no idea these existed and suddenly I need them all. 1y
83 likes5 stack adds2 comments
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OddBookishBee
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tournevis I love XKCD! 1y
17 likes1 stack add1 comment
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AndreaReads
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Pickpick

I don‘t tend to read a lot of nonfiction, but when I do, I want 2 things: to learn something and to laugh. This book checked both boxes. The questions were as absurd as the title promised, but the footnotes and illustrations really helped cement the tongue-in-cheek humor combined with mathematical and scientific reasoning which made for an overall enjoyable read. Awesome read! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

60 likes4 stack adds
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callunakeep
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Super fun listen! Wil Wheaton was the PERFECT narrator for this most hilarious way to learn about all sorts of science!

C.Perone What is the review template in the background? Want!!!!! 1y
callunakeep @C.Perone 🤓 I have a bit of a planner obsession. That is one of the book review pages I made for my planner to keep track of my reads. The review form itself is my creation and the questions change from time to time ... the images I use as watermarks are from the internet...I am not artistic enough to draw my own!😂🤣 (edited) 1y
C.Perone I love it!!! It‘s the perfect review summary. I might just have hijack into sticker form to put in each book I read🧐 (and together we may be on to something marketable haha🤔) 1y
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callunakeep @C.Perone LOL! And thank you! ❤️The problem with the images I use is that they are not mine to sell. I download them from the web for personal use, but copyright laws mean I can‘t sell them, and I cannot draw!😞🤓😝. My email is heathergstl at gmail ... I am a sharer. 🙃 (edited) 1y
C.Perone Thank you, I‘d like that☺️ I‘ll be in touch 1y
JanuarieTimewalker13 I love Will Wheaton as a narrator!! I think he did Ready Player One, also. 1y
33 likes4 stack adds6 comments
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callunakeep
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Solo on audio was not for me, I will have to get a hard copy and try it again later ... so this is up on audio. I LOVE the absurd and hypothetical and I LOVE science! Throw in narration by Wil Wheaton and, well, hell yes!🖖🏼🤓

Gezemice This one is full of illustrations and those are the funniest. I wonder how they handle that on audio. Great book, btw. 1y
callunakeep @Gezemice I am about 1/4 of the way through and they have made no mention of any illustrations, however, Wil Wheaton‘s expressive narration is creating fantastic visuals in my mind!!🤣😂. 1y
18 likes2 comments
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Natalia
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Pickpick

🌟🌟🌟🌟
Perfect book for the lovers of science! And btw it‘s also very funny!!😂

#whatif #randallmunroe #marchread #science #nonfiction #humor

10 likes2 stack adds
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celosia
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May have gone slightly overboard at the half off used books sale.....

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Lynnsoprano
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Sharing this post from @MrBook about what is happening with Litsy. I‘m not going to repeat what he‘s said, he‘s laid things out pretty well. Thanks for getting the dialogue going.

MrBook 🤗🤗🤗 2y
CouronneDhiver I just want to be optimistic... I don‘t want them to take away the great things that make this a fun hangout... but maybe they‘ll add some features we hadn‘t considered before. 2y
74 likes2 comments
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Kaye
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Pickpick

What if someone was really into horror, and loved a good monster or ghost story ?

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks @JoeStalksBeck could help with this one!!! 👹😱 2y
julesG More of a thriller, though. 2y
JoeStalksBeck I do love some horror and ghosts lol 2y
59 likes5 comments
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MommyWantsToReadHerBook
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Can anyone recommend any other books sort of like this one, that's sciency but fun and easy and quick to read in many sessions? My husband quite likes those sorts of books and I want to get him an anniversary gift and general pick-me-up for always working so hard.

erzascarletbookgasm This one by the same author? Not just science but complicated stuff explained. 2y
MommyWantsToReadHerBook Thanks @erzascarletbookgasm, that looks pretty cool! 2y
RaimeyGallant This looks good. I know of interesting books similar to this but none that have a graphic element. 2y
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MommyWantsToReadHerBook @RaimeyGallant it's very cool and my husband is a big xkcd fan so it was just a very cool gift for him. I'd be interested in your recommendations even if they're not graphic in nature 2y
MommyWantsToReadHerBook Thanks for the recommendations @RaimeyGallant! Will definitely check these out! 2y
readinginthedark Mary Roach books! They‘re divided into chapters, not individual essays, but the chapters are subsections of a bigger topic and don‘t have to be read one right after another. 2y
21 likes1 stack add10 comments
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daniwithtea
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Pickpick

So. Much. Fun. Highly recommended if you like laugh out loud science, especially in audio form.

37/100 for the year.

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JPeterson
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#riotgrams #punctuation
Finding this stack was a lot more difficult then I thought. 😓

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bookwormkara
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Day 8 of #RiotGrams is spine poetry! I enlisted the creative husband‘s help on this one. “What if for one more day the empire strikes back...god, no! And another thing...”🙏🏻📚

Liatrek Epic! 2y
11 likes1 comment
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JSW
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A gift from a student. Those engineering kids are trying to get me more science minded!!! 😂😍

SusanInTiburon Nice! That looks like it might do the trick! 2y
Tamra This sounds like it may be something my 10 year old would like me to read to him. Are there enough questions & answers that won‘t be over his head to justify getting it? Both my kids like “what if” or “would you rather” question scenarios. (edited) 2y
JSW @Tamra I think there are plenty of questions/scenarios that would amuse your kids. And even if they don‘t get the science, wouldn‘t that be fun to have them try to research and figure it out!! There are also some questions throughout the book that he doesn‘t answer. You could have your kids think up their own what if questions and imagine the outcomes. ❤️ Can you tell I‘m an educator?! Lol. 2y
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Tamra @JSW 😆👌🏾 Perfect answer - I‘ll check it out! (edited) 2y
Kristy_K I love this book. @Tamra I think your kids will like it. He breaks down the science in a way that‘s easy to understand and injects a lot of humor. 2y
Tamra @Kristy_K 👍🏾 2y
39 likes1 stack add6 comments
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Riveted_Reader_Melissa
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More #Absurdity from this fun gem of a book, for anyone who wants to know the answers to crazy questions. #QuotsyNov17

Laura317 Well, alrighty then! Asked and answered. 😂 2y
Gezemice That's a great book! The illustrations are fun, too. 2y
llwheeler I love this book 😂 2y
57 likes3 stack adds3 comments
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Riveted_Reader_Melissa
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My favorite book of absurd questions and even more absurd true science.😂. #absurdity #QuotsyNov17

Gezemice Indeed. That was before duct tape. 2y
54 likes1 stack add1 comment
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abbylibrarian
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This audiobook is giving me life as I sit in the way back of a work road trip to a conference. Thank you, #audiobook!

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jckphnx
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Pickpick

Fans of the webcomic won‘t be disappointed by Munroe‘s fabulously dry wit as he tackles the absurd with a scientist‘s sureness...and neither will newcomers.

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Victoriahoperose
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Mehso-so

I think the concept of this book was really interesting and fun. I just felt like because I listened on audible, some of it just moved too fast and I got lost. However, the narrator was very entertaining and the style was very interesting. It's definitely a good book if you have a curious mind!

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Aseleener
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Mehso-so

Listened to this on Audio (Hoopla) while on a road trip with my family. I do not recommend this on audio, as it contains lots of illustrations. I didn't see any of them, but I get the impression they are important. Sometimes they were the only answer to a question, which left an awkward silence on audio. The answers get very technical and many times were completely over my head. I have a Masters, but science is not my thing! My 9 yr old loved it.

Tamra I wondered if my 10 yr old would like it, despite the technicality? He likes these kinds of crazy questions. 2y
23 likes1 comment
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Gillyreads
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Need to do some housework so switching to audio #24in48

13 likes1 stack add
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MisterWhitaker
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This is a book about following those silly questions down the rabbit hole, and coming out on the other end a little smarter than before.

8 likes1 stack add
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readinginthedark
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Pickpick

Finished this one last night! I didn't like Wil Wheaton's narrator initially, but his voice was perfect for the tone of Munroe's writing. I think he'd be a good start if you're new to audiobooks. The rambling nature of the book puts it between a pick and a so-so for me. It's not so great if you want specific answers to things but if you want a lot of random scientific information, this is your book! I enjoyed listening while doing chores and such.

Gezemice This book is full of pictures! How does that work on audio? Loved it, btw. 2y
readinginthedark @Gezemice Well, if I understand correctly, the pictures are just illustrating what's written. So, they pretty much ignore their existence. I think there was once or twice Munroe referred to something that I couldn't see...but I didn't understand some of what he said anyway. I might check out a copy from the library and glance through those pictures. 2y
Gezemice @readinginthedark The text has all the info. But the pictures have all the jokes. 2y
readinginthedark @Gezemice Oh, well they may have read some of them then, because there were jokes or, at least, humorous asides. 2y
52 likes4 comments
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TheRiehlDeal
Panpan

This book was OK. Some comic questions and comic strips were pretty funny. Just as one reviewer said, it gets pretty boring after awhile. And some of the questions weren't really enticing to read so I just skipped a bunch of them. I thought I was going to actually read the whole book, but I guess not.

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readinginthedark
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Even though I know I won't have time to read any of these before I move, it always makes me sad to start packing my books...

Lylah Going through the same thing right now, I feel ya. 3y
readinginthedark @Lylah Hang in there! We'll be unpacking them soon, I hope! 😉 3y
Lylah @readinginthedark hope so too for our sanity 😜 3y
66 likes1 stack add3 comments
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readinginthedark
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Listening to this one while I do some more housework and packing. I'll be honest, I'm forgetting most of the questions before he gets to end of the answer, but I'm learning a lot of random scientific information!

Suet624 😂😂😂 3y
cariashley I had the same problem with this audiobook! 3y
javadiva Aww man I wish it was read by Jim Parsons instead of Wil Wheaton!! 3y
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readinginthedark @Suet624 @cariashley It's entertaining, at least! 3y
readinginthedark @javadiva I don't know that I've listened to anything by Jim Parsons, but Wheaton actually does a pretty good job with this one. I think the format just doesn't translate well to audio. 3y
javadiva I don't know if Jim has narrated anything but on Big Bang Theory, Wil is Jim (Sheldon's) nemesis 😂 3y
readinginthedark @javadiva Oh! 😆Sorry, I haven't watched enough to get the reference. I really need to watch more of that show! 3y
59 likes5 stack adds7 comments
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gossamerchild
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The books #onthenightstand which is really a bookshelf. A lot of my #tbr are on here, and I'm falling farther behind by the minute 😕

#aprilbookshowers @RealLifeReading

Cinfhen Oh wow! You have lots going on!!! 😊 3y
gossamerchild @Cinfhen that's only one shelf 😕. I really need to crack down on my #tbr! 3y
43 likes1 stack add2 comments
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ooodiga
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I can't decide what to read first 🙈📚

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Ruri_kaichou
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This book is for #ERMadlibs and I added it to my TBR on GoodReads back in Aug. I happen to go through my Audible library and saw that I already had it... For a while. Um what? 🤔😳 The only thing I can think of is my husband bought it a while ago and I was unaware. At any rate, I'll be listening to this one 😅

32 likes1 stack add
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Gillyreads
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In the car 🚗

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ValerieAndBooks
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Mehso-so

Im terrible at reviewing e-books because I usually only read them while working out; it's hard to type reviews on a treadmill. Then I forget when I get home. Anyway some of this I enjoyed but can't vouch for the math/science accuracy. Many questions that the XKCD guy answers are irrelevant. But some so bizarre that they get responses such as this without any attempt to answer. Sometimes funny but not enough to want a hard copy.

57 likes1 stack add
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geodynamical
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Bailedbailed

lol

⏫ That's a stick figure of me bailing. I liked some of the answers involving probability and permutations, but the rest was useless trivia to me. I don't think even being high on drugs could make these hypothetical situations interesting. 😅 Sorry to the xkcd fans out there.

Clever of the author to crowd-source the questions for the book. 💡⏬

16 likes1 stack add
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Kathrin
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Mehso-so

Sooooo... this was funny sometimes, especially the cartoons that came with explanations, but for the most part wasn't my cup of tea. I do like science nonfiction, but just cannot get excited about absurd hypothetical question.

31 likes1 stack add