Thing Explainer: complicated stuff in simple words
by Randall Munroe (John Murray, 2015)
Reviewed by Ruth Brassington
Randall Munroe gave us the curiously named web comic xkcd and the bestseller What If? Serious scientific answers to absurd hypothetical questions, which explains laws of science with cartoons. Now he offers a nice list of “the ten hundred words people use the most” and uses them to describe lots of interesting things – but what people are these, who use these words the most? Not my locals or whānau, methinks.
Included are: gun, horse, church, cigarette, beer, officer, soldier, village, yard, apartment, sex, love, shoot, god – and lady but no gentleman. And the other 985 words the author’s “people” use most. But in Thing Explainer – which explains things, even though I’m not sure what some of the things actually are because he doesn’t tell me in language I understand – the author left off four-letter words that are very common, because “some people don’t like to see them” and he “didn’t want to use those words anyway”.