Book Review: The 10 Worst of Everything

The 10 Worst of Everything: The Big Book of Bad, by Sam Jordison, is a compendium of lists that should spark plenty of conversation as readers randomly dip in. As such it is an ideal stocking filler or book to leave lying on your coffee table. With its unashamedly subjective judgements and authorial prejudices it offers amusement alongside verifiable nuggets to wonder over or squirm at, and wider opinions to debate. Some lists are taken from recorded data, many online so gathered post internet, while others are simply an ordering of the author’s choices on eclectic themes.

Divided into ten sections it opens with Bad Nature which may put you off leaving the safety of your home let alone travelling to far flung outposts of our apparently not so hospitable world. Offered for readers’ delectation are details on: deadly parasites, insects, scorpions, spiders, snakes. Killer plants and fungi are included. The deaths described are painful and not always swift.

The second section looks at various languages and how baffling and difficult they can be to learn. There are lists of: brutal Shakespearean insults, harsh reviews of respected writers, regrettable literary rejections.

Next up is a section on Unpopular Culture, which sparked much discussion in this house. The Ten Daftest Prog Rock Song Titles are, according to my aficionado husband, pretty much generic. We pondered if the author was, perhaps, a tad young for appreciation of progressive rock. Top spot, I was told, should have gone to Pink Floyd’s ‘Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving With a Pict’.

The Ten Worst Films were taken from the website, Metacritic, and for us proved too obscure. We were surprised that the Ten Biggest Box Office Bombs didn’t include Waterworld, and this set off a search to see if it was true that part of the hugely expensive set used in this epic sank during filming and had to be rebuilt. Part of the fun of books like this is the tangential debates sparked.

Much like the Booker Prize it seems, the Ten Worst Winners of the Best Picture Oscar gave little credit for effortless entertainment, or even cinematography. We laughed at the list of Ten Worst Christmas Songs and felt our age at music lists populated by albums and tracks we hadn’t heard of. Our musical tastes appear to be looping the vinyl of passed decades.

Having enjoyed this section, the next, The State of Our Nations, once again made travelling appear unwise. Noise, pollution, transport issues and bedbugs all feature alongside the cost of a pint.

The Fun and Games section offers sporting facts, The Ten Worst Things To Do In A Public Swimming Pool, and notable failures at Olympics and world record attempts. Further foolish things that man will choose to do to himself are presented in the next section on Health and Wellbeing.

The focus then moves back to the good old days which were, of course, anything but. Given current circumstances it felt almost comforting to be reminded of the terrible leaders endured over centuries. Accepted facts that have since been disproved are listed along with bizarre treatments and medical procedures once commonly administered.

The section on Modern Life is a reminder that we still do dumb things, including buying stupid kitchen gadgets.

On a personal note again, I had to smile at the list: The Worst Car To Buy During Your Mid-Life Crisis. I have never owned a BMW but do enjoy travelling in our Audi TT.

The penultimate section on The Future amused with its lists of predictions that time has proved wrong. The End suggests ways the earth may end – I do hope it is only foolish man who extinguishes himself and that more deserving lifeforms survive.

The author has no qualms about questioning the intelligence of those who don’t agree with him on certain pet topics. Mostly though this is a fun reflection of his tastes, such as his apparent dislike of vegetables.

A book of lists that I enjoyed reading and will now be leaving out for visitors to peruse. It offered a welcome distraction from the bad things our media endlessly expounds on, and a reminder that we have somehow survived similar and worse.

My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Michael O’Mara Books. 

Me, the Literary Hero

superhero

Image (c) Irena Sophia 

Influx Press put out a list of their literary heroes from 2016 last week and included me. I am still in shock. Good kind of shock, obviously. Influx are a bit rad which makes this even more unexpected and delightful.

Please go and read their post. When you see who else they have included you will understand why I am so chuffed to be standing amongst them. Or sitting down at the back drinking it all in. I shall certainly be drinking something to celebrate.

Thanks Influx. You rock.

Rather than write about our favourite books of the year from other publishers as we have done for a few years, we thought we’d write about the people in the publishing industry who we think were absolute heroes during this year.  So without further ado, we present the Influx Press Literary Heroes of 2016

Read on: Twelve Literary Heroes of 2016 according to Influx Press — Influx Press

This is now a Liebster Blog!

Big thanks to Mel over at Featured Fiction | Prompted Writing Contests for nominating me for the Liebster Award.

the-liebster-award

In keeping with tradition, here are the rules:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.

2. Answer the 11 questions given to you.

3. Nominate 11 other blogs with less than 500 followers.

4. Post 11 questions for your nominees to answer.

5. Tag your nominees & post a comment on their blog to let them know you nominated them.

Mel set the following questions for her nominees to answer:

Morning or Night: Morning, but not too early please

Batman or Superman: Batman 

Pen or Keyboard: Keyboard, although I always carry a notebook and pen for ideas

Pancakes or Waffles: Pancakes if I’m making, Waffles if I’m eating

Twitter or Facebook: Twitter

Harry Potter or Lord of The Rings: Lord of the Rings

Tea or Coffee: Tea when I wake up, Coffee thereafter

Talking or Texting: Texting

Hot or cold: Hot

Books or Movies: Books

Cats or Dogs: Dogs because they are so loyal, but I am too afraid of them to own one.

To pass on this award, I nominate the following:

(note: I realise that not all of these awesome but somewhat specialist blogs will wish to take part as their readers do not want or expect posts such as this one. I nominate them because I think that my readers should pop across and check them out. Liebster means beloved, and I am trying to share the love, and point people at blogs they may not otherwise have found.)

TheLitCritGuy | Literature, Criticism & Theory – For Everyone, Everywhere.

Outmanned | When fart jokes and belching contests just aren’t enough.

Kerrie Ann Salsac | Writing for Life.

Momma Roars | TIME TO LET IT OUT.

stirlingwriter | putting thoughts on the page.

watchful creature | Fiction Writing/Advice/Chat.

Ericka Clay | AUTHOR.

Taking Words for a Stroll | Original poems for the young at heart.

fairmount | Bless your waters, bless your doubts..

gillybirds | What came first- the chickens or the blog?.

Jane Fae | A fine WordPress.com site.

For those who wish to take part, please answer the following:

  1. What is the last book that you read?
  2. Recommend a favourite book
  3. What is the last film that you watched?
  4. Recommend a favourite film
  5. Share a quote that inspires you
  6. How would you spend an ideal Sunday morning?
  7. When relaxing alone do you prefer music or silence?
  8. Have you ever learnt to play a musical instrument?
  9. If you could magically change one thing about yourself, what would you do?
  10. Where do you write?
  11. Do you have a hero and, if so, who?

Thank you for reading. Now I must go add another trophy to my sidebar…

21 things…

A little bit of fun for the end of the week. This post was inspired by Erika at Tipsy Lit and Dawn at Tales from the Motherland.

May I present, 21 Things I Irrationally Hate.

angry_cloud_by_JaponicaChan

  1. Finding a stack of unwashed pans on my stove first thing in the morning, because I couldn’t be bothered to wash up the night before.
  2. Wearing gym clothes on most days, then pulling them on again because they are so comfy and I might just get to the gym later.
  3. Going without all the food that I really want to eat for 24 hours, and finding that I still can’t fit into my smart black trousers.
  4. Going to the fridge for a glass of crisply chilled, white wine and finding none, because I drank it yesterday then forgot to replace the bottle.
  5. Having to organise yet another family member’s birthday when they had one just a year ago.
  6. Starting a daily routine of visiting the gym, only to wake up after the first day aching so much that I cannot cope with moving, except to the fridge.
  7. Discovering that there is no chocolate in the house after I told my son that I was trying to consume less junk, so he ate it all for me.
  8. Not feeling rested when I wake up the morning after finishing that bottle of wine.
  9. Buttons. And collars. And having to wear anything tight or constricting.
  10. Not having enough hours in the day to pointlessly scroll through my numerous social media feeds.
  11. Matching the seemingly endless pairs of black socks from the clean laundry pile after black socks were discounted at the store and I bought everyone multipacks.
  12. Never having a thing to wear when I go out because I plan to lose weight rather than buy bigger clothes.
  13. Feeling too tired to read the book I am eager to get back to after spending my evening pointlessly scrolling through my numerous social media feeds.
  14. Always having to walk or cycle uphill to get home because we chose a house with a fabulous view and I dislike driving.
  15. Not seeing enough of my friends because I procrastinate instead of arranging to meet up.
  16. Ironing,
  17. Forgetting to complete that important task because I was too lazy to get up and add it to my list when asked.
  18. The shape of my legs, especially in gym clothes.
  19. Being the butt of the family joke, especially when I know I am in the wrong.
  20. Not having applied the wisdom gleaned from raising my three children while I was raising them.
  21. Feeling obliged to practice what I preach.

What would you put on your list of irrational hates?