Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Review: Who Do The Hell Is Pansy O'Hara?

Who the Hell Is Pansy O'Hara?: The Fascinating Stories Behind 50 of the World's Best-Loved Books is filled with interesting factoids about some of the most beloved books - both fiction and nonfiction - in the English language. The list is eclectic and, mercifully, limited only to 50 books. It's a canon, of sorts, I suppose. Everybody seems to be writing these kinds of books: about music, movies and, of course, books. This mania to create lists is mostly a male pathos, but women seems to be joining them in droves. Those familiar with literature will find this book a bore, but there are some interesting tidbits that have been underreported.

For example, did you know that the Guiness Book of World Records started out as a promotional item given out by the Guiness Brewery Company to pubs all over Britain to settle arguments on what and/or who is the fastest, tallest, mostest, and every other piece of trivia that are asked in a drunken stupor? It became so popular it was later reprinted and sold to the public. As of today, it is only second-best selling book in the world, behind the Bible.

And what's the deal with the title? Well, according to this news item, Pansy O'Hara was a precursor to Scarlet O'Hara, the heroine of Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind.