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Guy Browning: Never Hit a Jellyfish with a Spade

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Warning: This post was published more than 11 years ago.

I keep old posts on the site because sometimes it's interesting to read old content. Not everything that is old is bad. Also, I think people might be interested to track how my views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured!

But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views might have changed in the 11 years since I wrote this post.
  • This post might use language in ways which I would now consider inappropriate or offensive.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
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Many thanks for your understanding.


Guy Browning writes his How to… column for the Guardian’s Weekend magazine each week, and Never Hit a Jellyfish… is a collection of those columns. I think it’s absolutely hilarious – one of the few books I’ve read that is genuinely laugh-out -loud funny, and I would personally highly recommend it.

The Amazon reviews, however, appear to show that this book has something of a polarising effect:

I like a book that makes me laugh, but they don’t usually have the same effect on my family when I read them extracts, that is until now. Even my 17 year old son a very reluctant reader, was drawn in by this books short snippets of hilarity.

I bought this book off the back of some of the other reviews I read, plus I must admit I found the title quite amusing. However, I can’t stress enough how disappointed I am with my purchase. The small stories/challenges are, in the most part, dull. There is the occasional line or comment which causes a small chuckle, but they are rare. It is mostly mindless rubbish, which may work as a small column in a newspaper where people only read one a day/week, but reading them in a book (more than one a day) will send you to sleep.

This must be one of the funiest books I’ve read in ages, just about every observation Browning makes is spot on, with most of the chapters reducing me to tears of laughter by the second paragraph, annoying anyone close by no end. A perfect gift for anyone in danger of taking life a bit too seriously.

The stories are only mildly amusing, I found it a bit of a struggle to read, maybe you need to enjoy this type of humor. Each mini story follows the same format in terms of tone and structure; as a result the book gets a little monotonous.

In cases like this, it’s difficult for me to say anything other than that I liked it, and if you like Browning’s style, you might well do too. Perhaps try looking through some of his previous columns, and see if you like those. I’ve been an avid reader of the column for some time, so it’s hardly surprising that I should like the book.

So, to summarise: I certainly enjoyed Never Hit a Jellyfish…, and would highly recommend it to anybody who likes the How to… columns.

This 693rd post was filed under: Book Club.






More posts worth reading

What I’ve been reading this month (published 6th February 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 31st December 2016)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 30th November 2016)

Queen ‘does great cockney accent’ (published 19th February 2005)

Money matters: Doctors vs Teachers (published 30th March 2006)

2D: The economics of science & healthcare (published 17th July 2013)

Six years in the making… (published 23rd September 2005)


Comments and responses

Trackback from elsewhere on the site



Trackback received at 12:30 on 30th October 2005.

This post has been referenced by another on this site:
sjhoward.co.uk


Trackback from elsewhere on the site



Trackback received at 23:48 on 17th February 2012.

This post has been referenced by another on this site:
sjhoward.co.uk » Summer Books: Never Push… by Guy Browning


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