Tag: Books: Humour

Review: Very British Problems

Posted 17 July, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 7 Comments

Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time
By: Rob Temple
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

There’s an epidemic sweeping the nation

Symptoms include:

  • Acute embarrassment at the mere notion of ‘making a fuss’
  • Extreme awkwardness when faced with any social greeting beyond a brisk handshake
  • An unhealthy preoccupation with meteorology

Doctors have also reported several cases of unnecessary apologising, an obsessive interest in correct queuing etiquette and dramatic sighing in the presence of loud teenagers on public transport. If you have experienced any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from VERY BRITISH PROBLEMS.

VERY BRITISH PROBLEMS are highly contagious. There is no known cure.

Rob Temple’s hilarious new book reveals all the ways in which we are a nation of socially awkward but well-meaning oddballs, struggling to make it through every day without apologising to an inanimate object. Take comfort in misfortunes of others. You are not alone.

@soverybritish is one of my favourite Twitter accounts out there. I’m not British, but I can relate to a lot of the tweets mentioned (the obsession with the weather, the constant apologising–some of this is actually quite Canadian, so I wonder if it’s more of a Commonwealth thing, but I digress).

Suffice to say, it’s just what you expect if you do follow the Twitter account. The book is broken down to chapters focusing on a particular tasks and features in life, from driving to the workplace to the constant discussions about the weather (another thing I do quite a bit, the 10-minute discussion about the weather). Some of the points are familiar from past tweets, but others are a wee bit expanded upon (as in, more than 140 characters long 😛 ) and are accompanied by hilarious little illustrations along the way. My favourite chapter has to be the one about apologising–something I do a lot (also a Canadian thing, but anyway)! The chapters are also peppered occasionally with historical events, imagined events that will occur in the future, quotes from television shows and books, and my favourite, the quiz determining whether you are suffering from Very British Problems (need to I disclose if I am? 😛 ).

If you’re looking for a laugh or a bit of awkward social examination, this is a quick and fun read. Oh, and apparently there’s another book coming out this autumn about Brits travelling abroad. Should be fun 🙂

Rating: ★★★★★

Visit the Twitter account @soverybritish || Order this book from the Book Depository

Review: The Happiest People in the World

Posted 19 November, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Happiest People in the World
By: Brock Clarke
Format/Source: Hardback courtesy of Algonquin Books via LibraryThing Early Reviewers programme

Take the format of a spy thriller, shape it around real-life incidents involving international terrorism, leaven it with dark, dry humor, toss in a love rectangle, give everybody a gun, and let everything play out in the outer reaches of upstate New York—there you have an idea of Brock Clarke’s new novel, The Happiest People in the World.

Who are “the happiest people in the world”? Theoretically, it’s all the people who live in Denmark, the country that gave the world Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales and the open-face sandwich. But Denmark is also where some political cartoonists got into very unhappy trouble when they attempted to depict Muhammad in their drawings, which prompted protests, arson, and even assassination attempts.

Imagine, then, that one of those cartoonists, given protection through the CIA, is relocated to a small town in upstate New York where he is given a job as a high school guidance counselor. Once there, he manages to fall in love with the wife of the high school principal, who himself is trying to get over the effects of a misguided love affair with the very CIA agent who sent the cartoonist to him. Imagine also that virtually every other person in this tiny town is a CIA operative.

The result is a darkly funny tale of paranoia and the all-American obsession with security and the conspiracies that threaten it, written in a tone that is simultaneously filled with wonder and anger in almost equal parts.

To be honest it was the book cover that caught my attention first, followed by the title. With such a combination, of course the book premise would have to be just as zany. And I could use a little bit of zaniness in my reading list. I received a copy of this book from the publishers through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers programme. This book was released on 4 November 2014.

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Review: Is It Just Me?

Posted 4 November, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Is It Just Me?
By: Miranda Hart
Format/Source: Trade paperback; was a birthday gift

Well hello to you, dear browser. Now I have your attention it would be rude if I didn’t tell you a little about my literary feast. So, here is the thing: is it just me or does anyone else find that adulthood offers no refuge from the unexpected horrors, peculiar lack of physical coordination and sometimes unexplained nudity, that accompanied childhood and adolescence?

Does everybody struggle with the hazards that accompany, say, sitting elegantly on a bar stool; using chopsticks; pretending to understand the bank crisis; pedicures – surely it’s plain wrong for a stranger to fondle your feet? Or is it just me?

I am proud to say I have a wealth of awkward experiences – from school days to life as an office temp – and here I offer my 18-year-old self (and I hope you too dear reader) some much needed caution and guidance on how to navigate life’s rocky path.

Because frankly where is the manual? The much needed manual to life. Well, fret not, for this is my attempt at one and let’s call it, because it’s fun, a Miran-ual. I thank you.

I’ve recently become such a big fan of Miranda Hart, her range as a performer in the dramatic and comedic is fantastic. Her humour isn’t usually my type, but with her it’s hilarious, I find myself laughing quite a lot (I think a lot of it has to do with her delivery–that and Miranda as a person, she just seems genuinely fun). So I was looking forward to reading her book and got a copy of it for my birthday 🙂

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Review: The Gun Seller

Posted 25 January, 2008 by Li in Books / 0 Comments

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here…the following posts I’m making are long overdue, lol.

The Gun Seller
By: Hugh Laurie

Everyone knows Hugh Laurie from shows like House MD and Jeeves and Wooster, he’s a talented muscian who can play a number of instruments and he’s a writer. The Gun Seller is his first novel (the second one, The Paper Soldier, coming out either late this year or next year), following a man named Thomas Lang, a hired man who gets caught up in international intrigues, double dealings and conspiracies of all sorts. But like Thomas (and the back of the book) says, he’s really a nice guy: he’s just caught up in the plot. It’s everything you need in a spy novel/thriller: a series of unique characters, some of whom you don’t know where their allegiances truly lie, a few “close call” cases, a few chases, mysterious meetings in obscure places, a number of revelations and a main character who’s got attitude and a mouth. Thomas is a wise guy, which makes the plot even more entertaining. What was particularly interesting about this novel is the way Hugh Laurie crafted the dialogue; it’s like you’re having a conversation with Thomas Lang. Thomas Lang himself has a very interesting way of observing what’s going on around him and the analogies he draws in relation are purely hilarious, which reflects just what a talented man Hugh Laurie is. The humour is quirky and witty and the pace never slows down in the book, which is great. I definitely recommend this book if you’re into the spy genre with a twist.

Rating: ★★★★☆

For more information about Hugh Laurie, check out HughLaurie.net || Order the book from the Book Depository