Tag: Column

David Mitchell – Thinking About it Only Makes it Worse | Review

Title: Thinking About it Only Makes it Worse

Author: David Mitchell

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 326

Rating: 4*/5

 

David Mitchell - Thinking About it Only Makes it Worse

David Mitchell – Thinking About it Only Makes it Worse

 

I suppose the first thing to point out here is that this is by David Mitchell the comedian – and not the novelist who wrote Cloud Atlas. I’d actually recommend reading both of them, but for very different reasons.

This book isn’t necessarily a typical book as such, because it’s basically just a collection of different columns that Mitchell wrote for newspapers. Despite that, it does sort of follow a narrative structure – at least, as much as this sort of book can. He’s done a good job of bringing them together in to some sort of order, however arbitrary, and it works well.

The problem is that as soon as you’ve read the first fifty pages, you pretty much know what to expect for the rest of it. It’s different to other books, which are able to repeatedly hook you in with an intense story line. Here, the best you’ll get is a laugh every few pages and the lingering sense that you’ve learned something.

 

David Mitchell

David Mitchell

 

The interesting thing about David Mitchell is that he’s a sort of hero for the cynical, which is probably why I liked this so much. It’s not for everyone, but it’s great stuff if you’re a fan of his or if you tend to lean more to the left when it comes to politics.

My main gripe with this book is the presentation. It felt too text-heavy, and the different columns weren’t particularly well-separated. That only really affects the book’s aesthetics, but I’ve always thought that aesthetics are important. For the average reader, it might be enough to put them off – especially because the newspaper column style starts to get repetitive.

Overall though, I thought this book was lots of fun – and when I wasn’t laughing, I was nodding my head in agreement.

 

David Mitchell

David Mitchell

 

Click here to buy Thinking About it Only Makes it Worse.

 


John Grogan – Marley & Me | Review

Title: Marley & Me

Author: John Grogan

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 372

Rating: 8/10

 

John Groban - Marley & Me

John Grogan – Marley & Me

 

A few of my friends seemed surprised when I started reading this, but I’m not really sure why. True, the movie (starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson) has a reputation as something of a chick-flick, but I just saw it as a bestselling piece of non-fiction, and it’s certainly true that as you read through it, it just reads like a well-written memoir.

A memoir about a dog called Marley of course, but still a memoir. In fact, Grogan also talks about his family life, including the birth of his kids and the trials and tribulations that he and his wife experience along the way. In the postscript to the book, he explains that the two are interlinked – you can’t tell the story of Marley the dog without telling the story of the Grogan family, and you can’t tell the story of the Grogan family without telling the story of Marley the dog.

Of course, the book comes with the obligatory photos that you often see in a non-fiction book like this, and they work well because they help you to imagine what Marley looks like. And it’s not that Grogan does a bad job of depicting him throughout the book – it’s just that he’s even better at showing Marley’s personality, and so it’s easier to focus on reading about that while looking at the photos to get a well-rounded view of the beloved family pet.

 

John Grogan

John Grogan

 

Grogan is a journalist by trade, which means that he has plenty of practice at stringing words together to tell an evocative story. In fact, the book itself came about after he wrote a column about Marley’s death for the paper that he worked at and received a phenomenal response from the general public, who responded with their own stories about their beloved family pets.

And that’s the thing about this book. If you love animals – and dogs in particular – then you’re going to find something in the story for you to relate to. I don’t have a dog, but I’d love to have one, one day – just maybe one that’s a little bit smaller than Marley.

 

Marley

Marley

 

Click here to buy Marley & Me.

 


Newsletter Signup

Get special offers, new book news, cover reveals and more!