Book: Seeing is Believing
Series: Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
Publisher: Ripley Publishing
Genre: Non-Fiction / Trivia
Release: August 4, 2009
Length: 256 pages (Hardcover)
Ripley’s latest offering is an supersized coffee table book of photos and infobytes that looks as if it were designed for kids with A.D.D. and reads like a Twitter feed. It’s eye-catching design makes it all but impossible not to pick up, and it’s thousands of bits of trivia make it a real page-turner. Though it’s aimed at a younger audience, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Seeing Is Believing would be a great centerpiece for coffee tables, waiting rooms, or anywhere else you frequently need to kill time and stave off boredom.
As a long time fan of the franchise, I’m confident in saying that this installment is definitely one of the better Ripley’s collection, the entire hardback series (of which this is the sixth) is a vast improvement over the old paperback series, even if it does look like it should be a pop-up book, judging from the cover.
Official: This all new 6th title in the best selling Ripley’s Believe It or Not! annual series, is a compendium of incredible bizarre facts, stories, interviews and features all presented in a stunning bright new design.
This year’s book also features icons that guide readers to astounding video clips on our new fully-integrated website, where they can see some of our subjects in action. Also, a dramatic eight-page gatefold section presents some extraordinary performers of the past, and additional black and white Ripley archive photographs feature throughout the book.
Be amazed at the dentist with no arms, the snake that swallowed a wallaby, an underwater sculptor and a four-eared cat! For the legions of dedicated Ripley’s fans, and anyone else on the planet who loves unbelievable facts and jaw-dropping images, the latest annual in this successful series is a feast of delights.
The bright electric blue foil cover and holographic eye adorning the cover of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Seeing Is Believing set the tone for this colorful volume of trivia that’s such a far cry from the hand drawn sketches of the original Ripley’s series that I remember so fondly from my childhood.
For over two hundred pages, it bombards readers with amazing photos and anecdotes of bizarre feats, the likes of which would normally only be found buried deep amid the flotsam of Reddit or Digg, like the portrait of Eminem made of M&Ms or the man who shovels giant hissing cockroaches into his mouth, laid out in such a colorful fashion that it’s all but impossible to read the book in order it was printed. Every turn of the page sends the eyes leaping in a new direction in a way that would be exhausting if it weren’t for the entrancing “car wreck effect” involved.
The “car wreck effect,” in case you’ve never picked up a Ripley’s collection, is that sensation of not being able to look away from a scene despite the inherent gross-out factor of what you’re seeing, and it’s what has made Ripley’s Believe It or Not the franchise of choice for boys of all ages for nearly century. Each Ripley’s collections is like a portable carnie side-show, or, more flatteringly, like a pre-teen boy’s version of National Geographic. Yes, the collection contains some photos that are certain to make most people wince, but it also opens a window onto a fascinating wider world of lifestyles.
This book is a lot of fun without a lot of thought, and it’s sure to be enjoyed by kids and the young at heart, not to mention trivia enthusiasts!
A sampling of some of my favorite factoids:
- A book about the Archbishop of Bremen that was borrowed from a university library in Cambridge, England, in 1667, was finally returned in 1955.
- Pensioner Eric Smith… spent six months completing a 24,000-piece jigsaw puzzle [over] 537 hours.
- A Croatian man took a leaf out of Superman’s book by catching a bullet in his teeth and spitting it out…
- Baobab tree… so large that a bar big enough for 60 people has been installed inside the trunk…
- Alexis Lemaire… worked out the 13th root of a random 200-digit number in his head in just 70 seconds in 2007.