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Guy Browning: Never Hit a Jellyfish with a Spade

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Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 14 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 14 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and wrote about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

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

  • My views may well have changed in the last 14 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find utterly cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...


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 692nd post was filed under: Book Club.

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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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