Tag: Comedian

Tony Hawks – A Piano in the Pyrenees | Review

Title: A Piano in the Pyrenees

Author: Tony Hawks

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 312

Rating: 4/5

This non-fiction book tells the story of what happened when a middle-aged British comedian called Tony Hawks decided to buy a house in France, almost on a whim. He also decided to take his piano over there so that he could finally learn to play the thing.

It was a fun little book, and overall I found it to be a pleasure to work my way through it. My only real complaint would be that the pacing was a little off, in that it felt as though the whole book covered a period of just a couple of months or so.

Other than that though, there were some great little insights into French culture here, as well as a few smatterings of French dialogue that were enjoyable for me as someone who’s slowly but surely trying to learn the language. There were also some great little examples of culture shock or of misunderstandings, particularly when Hawks was trying to navigate the complicated French legal landscape to purchase properties and to build swimming pools, despite being utterly useless at assembling basic flat packs.

I’ve read a couple of Hawks’ other books at this point, and tonality and sense of humour wise, it’s pretty similar to those. That means that if you enjoyed Round Ireland with a Fridge, for example, then you’re probably going to enjoy this one too. Sure, his sense of humour might not be quite right for everyone, but Hawks has always made me laugh and he did so here, too.

There were occasional borderline sexist comments in it here and there, but then I suppose that gave it a certain sense of realness. He was a single bloke surrounded by Frenchwomen, after all. But overall, yeah.

Learn more about A Piano in the Pyrenees.

 


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.

 


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