a turn-up for the books
a turn-up for the book(s)
A remarkable, unusual, and unexpected event, occurrence, or piece of news. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. Mr. Literature Snob reading a trashy romance novel? Now that's a turn-up for the books! A: "After the concert, I ran into the singer at a pub down the road from the venue. It turns out his mother went to the same school as mine!" B: "Wow, there's a turn-up for the book!"
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Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
a turn-up for the booksBRITISH, INFORMAL
If you say that something is a turn-up for the books, you mean that it is very surprising, and usually pleasing. Pullman's victory is not quite the turn-up for the books that it appears to be. He left an estate valued at £1,215,433 net. Really quite a turn-up for the books. Note: You can also just say that something is a turn-up. Suddenly, I found myself unable to hurt animals. This came as something of a turn-up. I had loved shooting since the age of 12. Note: The reference here is to a horse that unexpectedly wins a race. The `books' are the bookmakers' records of the bets taken on the race.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012