Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Shelfie with the QI Elves

Difficulty: 0

Hi everyone, I am James Harkin - I'm Anne Miller

And we are two of the QI Elves

and we are two of the authors of this book: 1,423 QI Facts To Bowl You Over

And we have come to the largest bookshop in Europe

to tell you about some of our favourite books

So we're here in the Food section, James do you have a food book?

I do, I have The Oxford Companion to Food

So you picked the small one.

This is absolute QI fare, this is what we do all of our food research from.

We're currently reading the 'P' series

All about pineapples, papayas... - Pasta

Yeah, all of that stuff. We've got a fact from here about passion fruit because it's nearly Christmas

Passion fruit gets its name because it was used to describe the Passion of the Christ

So all the different bits: the leaves, there were often 12 leaves - they would be the 12 Apostles

And the spiky bit at the top would be the crown of thorns. Full of facts, brilliant book.

Also we love this book which is Gut by Giulia Enders

And we found a great 'general ignorance' last year which is that when you stomach rumbles

because you're hungry, it's not actually your stomach rumbling.

So your stomach's actually up here, this is your gut

So what that rumbling noise is, it is because you haven't eaten for a while

but rather than because you're hungry, it's because your small intestine is empty so it starts cleaning itself.

That's pretty good.

We're now up in the reference section. James, what have you found?

Well, at QI we love books that are about single subjects; about nouns.

And this is The Secret Life of Flies by Erica McAlister

It's a brilliant book, it's all about flies and midges and all sorts of stuff.

For instance they have a section about the midge that lives on Antarctica

Which is the biggest terrestrial mammal on the whole of Antarctica -and it's just a midge!

How big is it?

It's about the size of a midge.

It's a good size.

I have found Hannah Fry's The Mathematics of Love

This is based on her Ted talk which is really great and it includes

such gems as the equation for a perfect marriage, how OK Cupid experiments on people,

and that if you are trying to arrange a seating plan for a wedding and you have 100 guests

and ten tables there are a mere 65...

trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion possibilities.

That's a lot of trillion.

Seven. If I got them right.

Here we are by the Christmas tree and what can be more Christmassy than a book about gambling?!

This is The Perfect Bet by Adam Kucharski

and it's full of QI-style facts in here.

For instance did you know what is the best poker face for you to have?

Is it...?

It's not that. It's a smile

And the reason is because if you smile people will trust you more.

Slightly more festive is Mark Forsyth's Christmas Cornucopia

This is packed with brilliant Christmas facts such as...

The first recipe for Brussel sprouts had them buttered and served on toast.

People used to put Union Jacks on top of the tree, not angels or stars

And he also dates kissing under the mistletoe

began somewhere 1720 and 1784 but we can't be more specific than that.

Thanks for having us Waterstones, we'll be moving in tomorrow.

Yes, and if you'd like to see more facts form the ones that we've said today

Then you can find them in 1,423 QI Facts To Bowl You Over

Merry Christmas!

The Description of Shelfie with the QI Elves