Saturday, July 11, 2009

Book Review

At the beginning of June, Tom Reynolds of Random Acts of Reality fame released his second book, More Blood, More Sweat and Another Cup of Tea (also known as BST2 for ease of tagging).

I eagerly ripped open the Amazon package, started reading, almost joined gentleman blogger extraordinaire Scaryduck in a typo-spotting spree, and announced my intention of doing a quick review just as soon as I got to the end...

... and suddenly lost more or less all of my ability with words. Seriously. In the last two months Steve's finished working, he's been off on holiday (biking/camping in Scotland), I've been off on holiday (back to Lowestoft to see friends and family), I've finished several knitting projects, I've enjoyed weekly excursions with my PA, been to a couple of parties and generally been living a pleasant and stimulating life, yet all I've managed to blog are a couple of half-baked rambles about my disability-enhanced shopping skillz0rs and a G1 app that I wish existed. I've also had difficulty reading, which is why it's taken me until now to finish BST2.

I'd be ashamed to admit that and probably would have brushed my intent to review under the carpet as "no longer relevant" if it wasn't for the fact that Tom is probably wondering why it has taken me so long to notice that he's been lovely enough to namecheck me in the acknowledgements as one of the regular commenters on his blog, and I'm therefore even more ashamed that I have not in fact been commenting at all since then.

Still. The book is now finished, and a review was promised, and so a review there shall be, half-baked ramble or otherwise.

The first thing about this book is that it's available for free online as well as for cash from Amazon and regular high-street bookshops. I quite like having a tangible copy, myself.

The second thing about this book is that it isn't really a "read it all in one go" kind of book - it's a series of self-contained blogpost-length entries with very little by way of continuity or story arcs. This makes it rubbish as a novel, but fantastic as a book for looking at for ten minutes at a time, while you wait for the bath to run or the oven to preheat. It would also be a good book for the bathroom (insert obligatory joke about soft pages) or to take on holiday, because it doesn't take an hour to "just finish the chapter" or "just see what happened to this person" while someone else is tapping their foot and waiting for you.

It is quite similar in many ways to the first book, as you would expect for an autobiographical account of the same job with the same company by the same person during the same decade. There is a slightly different feel to it though. The first book Tom was quite "angry young man", whereas in this one he seems more cynical, but also more stoical.

That said, if you haven't read the first book or the blog, then odds are you will start to get angry about some of the nonsense that Tom and his colleagues have to deal with day in, day out. I'm sure most of us could put forward a few stories about out-of-touch management, irrelevant targets, and clueless customers, but for most of us, there aren't lives hanging in the balance.

It's not all doom and despair, though. Tom's dry sense of humour provokes more than a few quiet chuckles, and there are plenty of positive encounters, often when least expected. So although you get caught up in the writing and grind your teeth about the morons with the inflated sense of entitlement, you also feel gratified when people's humanity shines through and absolutely jubilant when a life is saved.

Edited 12:08 12/07/09 to update link


Pandora Caitiff said...

Sounds cool. But I'll have to wait till I have money and am near a bookshop. Issu no longer have the book on their site: "PUBLICATION NOT FOUND. Sorry, that publication is not available anymore."


Mary said...

Oops. I've edited the post to give the correct link - or click here.

Pandora Caitiff said...

Thank you :)