Tag: Billy Connolly

J. R. R. Tolkien – The Hobbit | Review

Title: The Hobbit

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 288

Rating: 9/10


J. R. R. Tolkien - The Hobbit

J. R. R. Tolkien – The Hobbit


The Hobbit is easily the most easily readable of Tolkien’s books, and it’s the best introduction to his work that you could hope for – that’s probably why it’s so iconic. It was the first Tolkien book that I read, when I was about fourteen, and I enjoyed it so much that I’ve gone on to read almost a dozen more of his books. But there aren’t many of his works that are this easy to read, and so it’s definitely recommended as a starter book. Besides, it introduces you perfectly to Middle Earth!

In this story, Bilbo Baggins is recruited by Gandalf the Wizard to join his party to enter the lair of Smaug, the dragon, and help to reclaim the birthright of Thorin Oakenshield. At least, I think that’s right – it’s been a little while since I read it, and I didn’t bother to check. Either way, something like that happens, and then Bilbo finds this thing that sort of changes everything, and then some other stuff happens and there’s a big battle with a guy called Dain of the Iron Hills, who was played by Billy Conolly in the movie. That would be the guy I’m named after, although my mom insisted on changing the spelling so that my name was a little bit more… normal.

Overall, then, The Hobbit is just a vital part of your reading education, even if you don’t enjoy it and go on to read The Lord of the Rings. After all, there are always the movies if you don’t manage to stick through the books – they are heavy going.


J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien


Click here to buy The Hobbit.

John Lloyd and John Mitchinson – Advanced Banter: The Q.i. Book of Quotations | Review

Title: Advanced Banter: The Q.i. Book of Quotations

Author: John Lloyd and John Mitchinson

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 432

Rating: 7/10


John Lloyd and John Mitchinson - Advanced Banter: The Q.i. Book of Quotations

John Lloyd and John Mitchinson – Advanced Banter: The Q.i. Book of Quotations


The problem that we have here is that there’s not enough about this book that makes it feel like a Q.i. book – sure, it’s written by the show’s creators and it includes a prologue by Stephen Fry (and even a jokey proverb by Alan Davies), but once you actually get into it, it’s just the same as every other collection of quotations that are on the market.

It’s actually kind of daunting to read it, because there’s such a huge amount of information packed in such a (relatively) small amount of space. It’s just back to back quotations from the start to the finish, and if that’s what you’re looking for then that’s a great thing. I guess I was just hoping for them to be put in context – more context than the fairly arbitrary categorisations that the authors use.

That’s why I gave this book a seven, my default rating for any book which is professionally written but which nevertheless leaves a little to be desired. There’s nothing wrong with this book at all, but I can’t help feeling like it could’ve been a little better. All of the other Q.i. books are packed full of context, and I would have liked to have known a bit more about some of the people who are quoted here.


John Lloyd

John Lloyd


Still, there are plenty of quotes here that I’d never come across before, and it does also have a useful index at the end for you to look up the people that you’re interested in. There’s a good variety of sources, too – on the cover alone, they reference Billy Connolly, Steve Martin, Dolly Parton, Albert Einstein and P. G. Wodehouse.

You’d expect nothing less from Lloyd and Mitchinson – they’re clearly two guys who like to do their research, and they’ve done plenty of research here, and so there was always going to be a certain amount of skill shown here. It’s just a bit of a shame that it didn’t live up to its full potential, and I’d go so far as to rank it as the worst of the collection.

So I’d suggest that you try one of the other Q.i. books, like the Q.i. Book of the Dead or even just The Book of General Ignorance. If you still want more then you can move on to this one afterwards. Let me know what you think once you’ve read them!


John Mitchinson

John Mitchinson


Click here to buy Advanced Banter: The Q.i. Book of Quotations.