A Beginner’s Guide to Acting English – Reviewed

A Beginner's Guide to Acting EnglishA Beginner’s Guide to Acting English by Shappi Khorsandi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good opening hook: an infant eating the goo out of her snotty nose and flashing her knickers at the author. Very easy to read and entertaining. I liked learning about Iranian culture and history, which I knew next to nothing about and there was comic relief throughout, dealing with the heavier subjects. One of my favorite bits is when Shappi’s grandma asks her why baby Jesus was gifted a lamb. She offered “Was it to make kebabs?” – in true Irooni style.

This book could have done with a family tree, akin to Dr Zhivago, because there are so many relatives it gets hard to remember who is related to who. Also, a glossary of Iranian words would have been helpful, though Shappi does define most of them in situ, there is a minority she doesn’t and you’re liable to forget some meanings. I would have liked her to talk more about Iranian history, especially the cause of the Iran-Iraq war.

It is written in the first person from the perspective of Shappi as a young child which I liked. I am quite amazed by the detail, with which she was able to recall all the various conversations, feelings and so on. Unless of course she’s embellished with poetic license.

The original title was in fact “English People Smell of Milk”, which I feel is better, but her publishers forced her to change it.

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I Think You’ll Find it’s a Bit More Complicated Than That – Reviewed

I Think You'll Find it's a Bit More Complicated Than ThatI Think You’ll Find it’s a Bit More Complicated Than That by Ben Goldacre
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goldacre is on top form with this compilation of work, from his columns. I consider this a sister book to “Bad Science”, as it touches on similar themes. Very easy to read, a page turner, you don’t need to be from a science background to understand it. I like his persistence and committal to scientific values. The way he debunks Bad Science is both laudable admirable. The chapter on libel was especially eye opening. The fact that people reporting the truth are being silenced by charlatans, such as chiropractors, was especially eye opening. (I now know they’re bogus.)

I look forward to his future work.

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Parsnips, Buttered: How to baffle, bamboozle and boycott your way through modern life – Reviewed

Parsnips, Buttered: How to baffle, bamboozle and boycott your way through modern lifeParsnips, Buttered: How to baffle, bamboozle and boycott your way through modern life by Joe Lycett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lycett fights the good fight against modern society, by bamboozling them with his brand of buffoonery. The art of trolling has been forgotten especially by the media, who characterise flaming as trolling. Lycett does not make such an elementary mistake here. Armed with a legion of sockpuppets, which impressively includes the Chancellor of Germany, he unleashes justice on the public. There was audible mirth throughout the book, which is incredibly funny.

In short, FIVE STARS.

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The Book of the Year – Reviewed

The Book of the YearThe Book of the Year by James Harking
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was highly anticpated by myself. I highly enjoy the weekly podcast so naturally I would be inclined to read this book. Thankfully, due to the constant shilling/self promotion on the podcast, it felt like a must have. This is the first QI book I have read and actually enjoyed. Probably because the material in it is largely original. There is some overlap between the podcast and the contents, but given that they both sometimes have facts from 2017, it’s not the authors’ fault.

Sometimes I did find it slightly boring but other times it was highly entertaining, the tragic life of a compilation book. The part about a man mistaking a cat’s anus for a wound was espeically funny.
They could have improved this book with a references section. Sometimes I find it quite hard to find more inofrmation of some of the facts, even with the power of the internet. I felt like certain sections could have done with being longer.

I also found the “For x, See y….” sections almost always verbose and not needed. With the exception of the section on Donald Trump, I didn’t find them funny at all and tended to skip them (the back handed barbs at POTUS were much appreciated though). Having listened to the first chapter of the audiobook, I would probably have liked listening to that rather than reading the actual book, because you have the chemistry of the QI elves.

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