Thursday, May 10, 2012

SPL Shelf Life [adult]

mental_floss: feel smart again

New to SPL recently is mental_floss magazine. You have to love a magazine that has an index, even if the index is in the front instead of the back in lieu of the normally-hard-to-locate table of contents. In fact, one can think of mental_floss as the un-magazine, so unlike a periodical it is. It does have ads, but not too many, and most of them are as interesting as the articles – the ad for Chris Schweizer’s new graphic novel caught my eye as quickly as the article on “corpse cupboards”(May/June issue). Based on the website of the same name but different subtitle (“Where Knowledge Junkies Get Their Fix”), the magazine has amusing articles loaded with facts that are divided into chapter-like sections, “Feed Your Right Brain”, “Nurture Your Left Brain” and “Scatterbrained”, just to name a few. The facts cover the whole Trivial Pursuit game-board – sports, arts, history, health, science… and often in fascinating combinations (partying like it’s 1812, for instance). This month’s issue is called “The 10 Issue” and is devoted to lists like “10 Photos Politicians Regret” and “10 Badass Moms Who Deserve Their Own Holidays”. Past issues have been dedicated to money, exposing hoaxes, the power of songs, gutsy world leaders, and the “Most Important Questions of the Year” (ie: How can I rig an election for under $30?) A little subversive and highly addictive, it is a crying shame the magazine only comes out 8 times per year. At least we have the website to tide us over; the current article on “15 Spectacular Libraries in Europe” is excellent. (I may be a little biased.)  The current issue cannot be borrowed until the next one comes in, but it and the back issues can be found and placed on hold at

This review appeared in The Stratford Gazette on May 10, 2012. Written by Robyn Godfrey, Librarian.

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