After trying out for Jeopardy!, the next logical thing to do seemed to be to read Brainiac by Ken Jennings, the guy who made Jeopardy! history by winning 74 games in a row. Brainiac is not just Ken’s memoir about his time on the classic game show, thought that story is woven in there. It’s also a sort of history of trivia, with glimpses into the many diverse ways and places people play trivia games today — in pub quizzes, in college bowl tournaments, and around the coffee table with a Trivial Pursuit board.
As if a memoir and a survey of trivia weren’t enough, there are also quite a lot of trivia facts and questions embedded throughout the book, making it even more fun to read. In the acknowledgements, Ken Jennings mentions that without his editors urging him to write a book about trivia and his fascination with it, he probably would have gone for “the usual ghost-written celebrity bio.” I don’t know if he worked with a ghostwriter on this book, but if so, s/he’s a good ghostwriter, and if not, Ken Jennings is a funny guy who writes well — along with being one of America’s foremost trivia buffs.
I can only hope that when I win a record-setting string of games on Jeopardy!, my memoir is half this enjoyable to read.