Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

12 Days and 12 Facts for This Holiday Season by Author Caroline Taggart... And a Special Little Giveaway!

12 Days and 12 Facts for This Holiday Season

By Caroline Taggart,
Author of
I Used to Know That: Stuff You Forgot From School

Ever catch yourself saying I Used to Know That?

Each holiday season brings another round of cocktail parties, family get-togethers, and corporate gatherings -- and invariably, lots of small talk. It's easy to feel overwhelmed when discussing politics, literature, and other intellectual "stuff," especially when what is thought to be general knowledge is often long-forgotten. Enter I Used to Know That: Stuff You Forgot From School. From English and Literature to Math and Science, from History and Geography to Religion and Other-Worldly Topics, this book leaves you equipped to handle any topic of conversation.

Here we've cherry-picked twelve fun facts for the holiday season -- one for every day of Christmas (or whatever holiday you prefer!) Quiz yourself to see how much "stuff" you need to brush up on before hobnobbing with the boss or office crush.

1. On building sentences: Just what is a "clause"? (Not to be confused with Santa Claus.) Answer: A clause contains a subject and a verb and may stand alone as a sentence or as part of a sentence (when it is often called a subordinate clause): Santa Claus loves cookies but can't eat them without milk.

2. How many bones is the spine made up of? Answer: 26 small bones called vertebrae (Be careful lifting all those heavy holiday boxes.)

3. Acclaimed author Charles Dickens (1812-70) wrote which Christmas classic? Answer: A Christmas Carol. The miserly Ebenezer Scrooge tries to ignore Christmas and is haunted by the ghost of his former partner, Marley, and by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come, who show him the error of his ways.

4. The fist chapter of this famous book opens with "Call me Ishmael." Name the book and author. (Hint: it makes a whale of a gift!) Answer: Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Melville is also the author of Pierre and the unfinished Billy Budd.

5. There's a name for the process of watering your Christmas tree? Who knew? Answer: Grab the kids and give them this science factoid as they nurture the family tree: Osmosis is a form of diffusion that is specific to the movement of water. Water moves through a selectively permeable membrane (that is, one that lets some types of molecules through but not others) from a place where there is a higher concentration of water to one where it is lower.

6. Can you name all 6 wives of Henry VIII, father of the Church of England? Answer: (Listed in order) Catherine, Anne, Jane, Anne, Catherine, Catherine. They are often remembered as divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. Sure makes you think twice when complaining about bad relatives.

7. Who was the 16th President of the United States? Answer: Abraham Lincoln (R, 1861-65) and yes -- he really was born in a log cabin on a winter's day. Notably famous for many reasons including his Gettysburg Address: "Four Score and Seven Years ago our fathers brought fourth upon this continent a new nation conceived in Liberty . . . "

8. 'Tis the season to be jolly giving! Don’t forget to tip well this season -- etiquette coaches will tell you that means no less than 18%. So just how much should you tip on a bill of $50? Answer: Percent means by a hundred, so anything expressed as a percentage is a fraction (or part, if you prefer) of 100. So 18% is 18 parts of 100, or 18/100 or .18. If your bill is $50, multiply 50 by .18 to get your tip total of $9. If you're feeling generous, a 20% tip would require you to multiply 50 by .20, for a total of $10.00

50.00 x .18 = 9.00

50.00 x .20 = 10.00

Percentages can also be holiday-relevant when it comes to figuring out in-store sales. In this case, you want to multiply by the inverse of the percentage listed. So if you have a $50 sweater that's on sale for 25% off, multiply 50 by .75 for your total of $37.50. That same $50 sweater on sale for 40% off would equate to $30, or $50 multiplied by .60.

50.00 x .75 = 37.50

50.00 x .60 = 30.00

9. Brr, it's cold outside. But just how cold does it have to be to get some snow around here? Answer: Did you know that the freezing point of water is 32 degrees Fahrenheit? Keep an eye on the temperature and watch your footing for ice on the ground. (See previous fact about those treasured vertebrae!)

10. Everyone knows Santa and his elves live in the North Pole. But what about the South Pole (aka Antarctica)? Answer: The South Pole was discovered by Roald Amundsen (1872-1928, Norwegian), who was also the first to sail though the Northwest passage, the sea route from Pacific to Atlantic along the north coast of North America. Antarctica is the only continent that contains no countries -- instead, it is a stateless territory protected from exploitation by an international treaty. A good place for the elves to protest low wages?

11. Which Ocean is bigger: the Pacific or the Atlantic? Answer: The Pacific Ocean is larger at 69,374 square miles -- that's almost double the Atlantic, which comes in at 35,665 square miles. Making it evenmore astonishing that St. Nick can cross the globe in just one night.

12.Remember the reason for the Season! Can you name a few things that both Judaism and Christianity have in common? Answer: Both are monotheistic religions that share the first five books of the Christian Old Testament. Both religions view Jerusalem as a sacred site, the former for the Wailing Wall (contains the remains of the temple that was thought to be the place where God resides on earth) and the latter for Christ's burial and resurrection site.

Happy Holidays to all!... Caroline

©2009 Caroline Taggart, author of I Used to Know That: Stuff You Forgot From School

Now for the Giveaway!

Congrats to Beth from Iowa who won the giveaway!
And Thank you to everyone who joined in on the fun!
Happy Holidays!

I reviewed I Use to Know That: Stuff You Forgot From School by Caroline Taggart back in Sept. I thought it was an entertaining & fun little book! (Here's a link to the review) This little book would make an excellent gift and perfect for stuffing in a stocking! But Guess What?! I have a GIVEAWAY! Courtesy of Caitlin of FSB Associates I have one copy of I Use to Know That: Stuff You Forgot From School for a giveaway! Thanks Caitlin! It's a quickie giveaway though- only one week! This will end Dec. 15th!

Here's how you can enter to win...

*For one entry leave me a comment with your email address!

*Get an extra entry for following my blog! Just leave a comment letting me know you're a follower! ( Not a follower yet? No problem, sign up by clicking on the 'followers" button! Just let me know you became a new follower!)

*Blog or tweet about this giveaway and leave me the link.

This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only.(No PO boxes). The books will be shipped to the winners directly from the publisher. Contest ends 11:59pm EST on Dec. 15th. I will randomly pick the winners the next day and email them! (please check your email.. winner must reply to me within 3 days! Thanks!) Good Luck!

Here's a little bit more about Caroline...
Caroline Taggart, author of I Used to Know That: Stuff You Forgot From School, has been an editor of non-fiction books for nearly 30 years and has covered nearly every subject from natural history and business to gardening and astronomy. She has written several books and was the editor of Writer's Market UK 2009.


Heidi V said...

My son loves facts he would enjoy this one!

heidivargas [at] live dot com

Anonymous said...

I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks! wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)coom

Anonymous said...

I am a follower of your blog.

Jennifer said...

Another great giveaway!


rubynreba said...

I would love to be entered for this.

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

Simply Stacie said...

I follow.

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

Jan said...

This book sounds great, please count me in.



Jan said...

I am a follower


Linda Kish said...

I would enjoy this book

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

google reader follower

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I love fact books! Please enter me :D

thebookvixen at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I'm a follower

Anonymous said...


Michele said...

Please enter me.


Jane said...

I would enjoy reading this book and seeing how much I do remember.

janie1215 AT excite DOT com

Jane said...

I'm a follower of this blog.

janie1215 AT excite DOT com

ABCD Diaries said...

Sounds great! Thanks for the chance!
christinbanda at yahoo dot com

ABCD Diaries said...

Follower:) Thanks for the chance!
christinbanda at yahoo dot com

sharon54220 said...

Happy Holidays!!

I would just love to win this book.

Thanks for the chance.

sharon54220 said...

I'm a follower and subscriber.

throuthehaze said...

I would love this! Count me in please
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

throuthehaze said...

throuthehaze at gmail dot com

justpeachy36 said...

I am a follower. Please enter me in the giveaway.

Dawn M. said...

Heh. I'm sure there's a lot I've forgot since school. Just watching Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader shows me that! LOL. I would love the chance to read this one.

Thanks! :0)
librarygrinch at gmail dot com

Carol W. said...

I'd love to take this review course!


Wrighty said...

This sounds like such a fun book! Please include me in your giveaway too and thanks!


Wrighty said...

I'm a new follower.


Renee said...

thanks for the giveaway

Renee said...

I am a follower on Google reader

CherylS22 said...

I'd love to read this book - please count me in!
Thanks ~ megalon22 at yahoo dot com

CherylS22 said...

I follow in GFC
megalon22 at yahoo dot com

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