Tall Tales and Tittle-Tattle by Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls, Cadogan's trusted arbiters of travel taste promises to be this year's must-read book for all who bought Schott's Original Miscellany. Written by the renowned and best-selling Cadogan Guide authors who have over forty titles in print, Tall Tales and Tittle-Tattle is a fascinating, entertaining, wry and utterly absorbing book, combining hilarious yet unbelievable snippets from their travels, with an array of historical, cultural and travel miscellany and tittle-tattle from around the world.
Drawing from over twenty years of experience going to hitherto untouched parts of Europe and beyond, Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls trace with infectious enthusiasm the history of cosmetics, the customs of the harem of Istanbul, how the Venetian republic was run, the antiquities of Sicily, the werewolves at the ancient Olympics. They examine why gnats buzz in circles, the boiling down of mummies for medicine, Goethe's colour theory, the Napoleonic coincidences, Marie Laveau, the voodoo queen of New Orleans, the origins of the constellations, man made deserts and how English titmice disproved one of the dogmas of evolution in 1946.
The longest words in Turkish, the Egyptian labyrinth at Crocodilopolis, Alfred Packer and American cannibalism along with the over the top cities of Magna Graecia Sybaris, Croton and Akragas are but the tip of the iceberg in a book that will also outline exactly how to eat an ortolon.
Excerpt: The Homeric Riddle
An anonymous work from the time of Emperor Trajan, called Of the Origin of Homer and Hesiod, and of their Contest, does its best to clear up some of the endless mysteries surrounding the two great poets. Even then, however, nobody knew who Homer really was, or where he came from; cities all over Greece claimed him as one of their own. As Of the Origin relates, Homer himself did not know his birthplace or his family. He once stopped at Delphi to see if the Oracle could enlighten him, and he was told `The isle of Ios is your mother's country and it shall receive you dead; but beware the riddles of young children.'
As an old man, while wandering the Greek lands as a minstrel, he happened to visit that island, and while sitting on the shore one day he met some sons of fishermen coming back from the sea and asked them what they had caught. ...click here to read the rest
Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org