I am very excited to bring to you today the last stop on the blog tour for 1,342 QI Facts To Leave You Flabbergasted! To celebrate the release of the book, Anne Miller, one of the QI Elves, has written us a list of some of her favourite literary facts, so take it away, Anne!
At QI we all have our favourite topics. One of my all-time favourite QI facts is that a baby puffin is called a puffling but I will have to wait until 2018’s Series P to lobby for a show entirely about those brilliant birds. However, I also love literary facts and in Series L, I had the chance to write a whole show about books in the form of the ‘Literature’ episode of QI.
In that episode we covered the fact that T.S. Eliot was one of the publishers to turn down George Orwell’s 1984. 1984 is also the book that people are most likely to lie about having read. There was also the fact that the phrase ‘Elementary, my dear Watson’ did not come from the Sherlock Holmes canon but instead from P.G. Wodehouse’s 1915 novel Psmith, Journalist.
This year’s QI book 1,342 QI Facts To Leave You Flabbergasted contains our favourite facts discovered in the last year. Some of my favourite literary ones include:
- Charles Dickens helped stop P. T. Barnum from moving Shakespeare’s house, brick by brick, to New York.
- Pope John Paul II drew his own comic books.
- The French for ‘airport novel’ is roman de gare, or ‘railway station novel’.
- Thomas Jefferson kept a flock of geese to supply quills for his pens.
- The Pencil Sharpener Museum in Logan, Ohio, has 3,400 pencil sharpeners.
- Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, was an airline booking agent.
- Woody Allen writes his film scripts on a typewriter he bought in the 1950s.
- On a QWERTY keyboard a typist’s fingers cover 20 miles a day; on a Dvorak keyboard it’s only one mile.
- Roald Dahl, Noël Coward, Greta Garbo, Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Harry Houdini and Christopher Lee all worked as spies.
- H. G. Wells was A. A. Milne’s maths teacher.
Thank you for sharing this with us, Anne! If you're interested in finding out more about the QI Elves, you can follow them on Twitter here, and 1,342 QI Facts to Leave You Flabbergasted is out now!