Tagged: Non-fiction

The United States of Absurdity

THIS IS DEFINITELY MY NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR.

The United States of Absurdity by Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds illustrated by James Fosdike is one of the funniest books I’ve ever come across.

I was only introduced to The Dollop a few months ago by one of my best friends. I’m somewhat of a podcast addict, I love Night Vale, My Favourite Murder and Hamish & Andy. When I first listened to The Dollop is wasn’t feeling it, then my friend said “Listen to the Rube episode.” after that I was hooked.

Earlier this year the hosts of The Dollop announced they were releasing a book, obviously I couldn’t wait.

I don’t even know where to start when taking about this book as it’s so obscure. If like me you have no interest in American history whatsoever, this is the book for you! Every page of The United States of Absurdity is hilarious. Dave Anthony and Garry Reynolds have plucked some of the most ridiculous stories from America’s past, by the time you reach the end of this book you’ll be left fathoming how as a race we are still alive.

Have you heard of Oofty Goofy or Ten-Cent Beer Night? No, of course you haven’t, but they’re amazing stories you need to read to believe!

The illustrations by James Fosdike are great and a little traumatising (check out The Stomach Men page for nightmare fuel).

This book is worth every penny and I really hope they decide to do a sequel.

We’re all a bit mad

Earlier this year when I reviewed Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ I briefly spoke of my disregard of non-fiction.  Well I took the plunge and decided to have another crack at a non-fiction title; The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson.

Working with books I admit that I should have read this book ages ago, it’s a real bestseller and it’s part of a new breed of a non-fiction genre called ‘Smart Thinking’.  A majority of Smart Thinking titles tend to be economic pretentious brain fodder so this put me off reading The Psychopath Test or anything else that comes under Smart Thinking.

 Well turns out I’ve been completely missing out. Within an hour I had sped through the first one hundred pages of The Psychopath Test.  Ronson starts the book by making it clear that this is a book about madness and he’s not lying. The psychopath Test is so cleverly written and it’s not a book that forces you to agree with one opinion or another.  It’s starts with a mystery that engages you off the bat then descends into some of the darker places that madness takes us.  The main theme of the book is psychopaths; what makes someone a psychopath and what the medical profession have being to study and cure.

 My main fear that always puts me off of reading non-fiction is that I simply won’t understand what the writer is trying to convey and that I’ll give up half way through because the book’s making me feel stupid.  The Psychopath Test is so easy to read, it’s genuinely interesting and Ronson doesn’t alienate the reader by waffling (I know, I couldn’t come up with a better word).

 

I rarely read a book in one sitting but thanks to a long train journey, a Sunday afternoon with no plans and copious amounts of tea I flew through The Psychopath Test.  It’s a book that will make you laugh and it’ll really get you thinking.  The one question that niggles away at you through the entirety of this book is ‘Am I mad too?’.

Image