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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 19 October 2012
In nearly every article of the book, journalist Jon Ronson is able to pick an extraordinary subject to write about in an interesting and engaging way. I loved reading about real life "superhero" Phoenix Jones as he patrols the streets of Chicago, trying to make drunk drivers eat tacos before getting behind the wheel, or discovering that the rap duo Insane Clown Posse have been covert Christians their entire careers, believing they were making converts of their listeners subliminally for 20 years. Other subjects are equally fascinating such as finding out pop star Robbie Williams is a UFO enthusiast and that Stanley Kubrick was a hoarder of everything related to his film career.

There are some really funny pieces included such as Ronson's recreation of James Bond's car journey from Ian Fleming's "Goldfinger", eating and drinking everything Bond did on the journey and making himself very sick (Bond, it turns out, was a glutton alcoholic chain smoker who rarely exercised). Ronson also goes on a cruise to meet psychic Sylvia Browne, a woman who goes on TV to tell parents of missing children (often incorrectly) their kids are dead, and finds out, surprise surprise, she's not just a fake but an unpleasant old bag as well.

Religion and pseudo-religious beliefs play a big part in the articles where Ronson meets the Jesus Christians, a fringe Christian group with a membership of 24 people worldwide, most of whom have decided that as well as giving away most of their possessions that they will give away a kidney as well! He meets the UK's biggest atheist-converter Nicky Gumbel, meets TV hypnotist Paul McKenna and his colleague Richard Bandler who admits to being a sociopath and has a sketchy past involving murder but who now makes millions teaching people something called neurolinguistic programming (NLP) which promises to make you a better salesperson.

The other side of the book take a sobering look at the dark side of humanity. They include a couple of murder/suicide cases, the economic class issues in America, and the sad story of Richard Cullen who committed suicide after becoming hopelessly in debt. Richard Cullen took out numerous credit cards which gave him money with crippling interest rates and was approved for various loans different banks approved, leaving Richard with a six figure debt and no way out. From this one man, Ronson follows the trail back to the banks and exposes the fiasco that was the sub-prime market. This article came out 2 years before the sub-prime crash of 2007.

My favourite piece in the book, "Santa's Little Conspirators", is the story of a group of 13 year old high-school students in the town of North Pole, Alaska, accused of conspiring to commit a Columbine-style massacre at their school (they were stopped before anyone was hurt). North Pole is unique as a town where it is Christmas 365 days of the year and everything in the town is Christmas themed. The would-be killers, like all students in North Pole high school, answered letters from children all over the world addressed to "Santa, North Pole" under elfish pseudonyms. Some of the letters written by small children and given to them to answer are heart breaking like "please make mummy and daddy stop fighting" and "I would like to wear more clothes this year".

While parts of "Lost at Sea" have been published in Ronson's other books - more than half have been printed in "Out of the Ordinary" and all but one have been printed in "What I Do" - and numerous other articles have appeared in GQ magazine and the Guardian newspaper, for those who've not read Jon Ronson extensively, this is an excellent collection of his journalism in one handy volume. Like most of Ronson's journalism, the articles feel too strange to be real, this mixture of strangeness and truth adding to the readability of the articles and lending them an air of surreal-ness. "Lost at Sea" is a fascinating collection of oddball human stories that offers hours of riveting reading pleasure and is a must-read for all readers looking for extraordinary and entertaining non-fiction stories written in an accessible and compelling style.
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on 21 January 2016
I love Jon Ronson's books and have now read a fair few of them. A couple of the more recent stand out in my memory (So You've Been Publicly Shamed and The Psycopath Test) but I still remember discovering Ronson with the brilliant Them: Adventures with Extremists. Ronson is also the only author that both me and hubby read - our tastes in reading diverge so wildly but Ronson brings us together.

Lost at Sea is a collection of his non-fiction articles that have appeared over the year. Endlessly compared to Louis Theroux (who I also love but like reading less than Ronson) this book covers a lot of weird and interesting ground. His writing style is so easy to read, and that doesn't mean simple, it's more like he's a good friend and he is telling you deeply interesting stories that surprise and intrigue. A modern day raconteur. I honestly can't get enough of his writing and every night going to be I looked forward to getting stuck in again.

Some of the tales that really stood out for me: Robbie Williams interest in aliens, where Jon joins him at a UFO convention and Robbie leaves with 15 DVDs, the Indigo children and the bizarre belief of their parents, when Jon joins the Alpha Course which terrified me and the tale about Jon spending time with Stanley Kubrick's files. But to be honest, I struggle to highlight tales because every single one is a damned delight.
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VINE VOICEon 6 October 2014
A trip through the work of Jon Ronson is like submerging yourself in some of the weirdest cultures in human existence. Real superheroes, UFO conspiracies (with Robbie Williams of all people), born again Christian hardcore rappers, from Jon Ronson you'd expect nothing less.

The interesting viewpoint you get from some of these stories is the openness with which Ronson explains how the subject tries to spin his story, sometimes to the detriment of themselves. There are a couple of stories where no one comes out of it well, and you wonder how much his reputation has gone before him, and how much that has coloured the tone of the article.

Of course, if you are a huge fan of printed (or online) media such as GQ or the Guardian, there's a very big chance you'll have read all of these, but if not, you are in for a treat. Ronson approaches the weird and wonderful with all the style of Louis Theroux, but with none of the smarm.
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on 31 October 2012
I'm a big fan of Jon Ronson and I've bought every book he's brought out so far. But I feel a bit cheated with this one, as most of it is material that I've read before, either in his columns or in other books. As the other reviews say, don't buy if you're a fan and have read his other books, as a lot of it repeated here.

So, anyone wanna buy an 'as new' copy of Lost At Sea by Jon Ronson??
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 August 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful collection of stories about some of the oddities of life, and about unusual people doing unusual things. From a tiny group of Christians who give away their kidneys for transplant, through real life superheroes who tackle crime dressed in costumes, to evangelists, Paul McKenna and NLP conferences, and to a working man who ran up £130,000 in credit card debt, these tales are always lively, entertaining and informative.

Jon Ronson writes superbly and this was easily my favourite of his books
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on 21 January 2013
I've been a fan of Ronson's written work since coming across Them some years ago, his style of writing always seems to bring the subject alive without indulging in any deep seated judgement. Lost At Sea is more of a collection of stories that have become very relevant to this moment in time, covering celebrity paedophiles, credit card debt, social inequalities and a number of other topics. An enjoyable and informative read that's given me a taste to find out more about a number of topics.
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on 14 June 2013
Ronson is an investigative journalist of some note. He has always sought to engage those at the very periphery of society, and his sympathetic form of interviewing enable him to get the best out of his subjects.

This book is a collection of his writings on meeting all sorts of people, from Robbie Williams at an alien abductees conference to correspondence with the despicable Jonathan King at his trial for child abuse. He talks to families who have lost sons and daughters working on cruise ships and joins and Alpha course. He accompanies super heroes in America trying to rid their streets of crime and rifles through the files and photos of Stanley Kubrick, and meets the elves at the North Pole.

He writes the way he thinks; he probes and is unafraid of asking the difficult questions, and following it up with further questions when the answer is not adequate. He is very sympathetic to those on the fringes of society, but bold enough to know when he has to ask the tough questions to those who seek to evade telling the truth.

Great book, makes me want to read the psychopath test.
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on 15 January 2013
Another hilarious collection from Jon Ronson. Now I know why I hate Noel Edmonds. A book full of some of the strangest people on the planet.
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on 12 October 2012
I just want to say that i've become a big fan of mr ronsons writing since being away alot last year and coming across his books first on the kindle store and then finding both his collections in a second hand book shop. So when i found out he had brought out this book just as i was due to travel again i was overchuffed. Unfortunatly nowhere on the book, website or publisher's desciption does it say that this is mostly second hand material from his collections or from articles written from the guardian. If your new to jon ronson then yes, this book will be interesting and funny. But as a warning to anyone thats read more than his 3 previous books, then you'll be miserably skipping the majority of this. X
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on 18 August 2015
It's a fun read when you've 30 mins spare and want to wind down with some interesting content. However, the articles are just too short! You get in to them then they abruptly end with one of the author's mundane comments about how that person/people/organisation applies to or affects his life and family, and no closure to the actual story at hand. Frustrating!

I'd strongly recommend Louis Theroux's Weird Weekend book instead. It's the same concept, and even has one or two character crossovers, but is a lot more in depth and better written - Ronson's penchant for simple present tense really grates (in my view) and makes it read like the witterings of a madman more often than not.

Don't get me wrong, I am enjoying this, just often left feeling cut short at the end of each and every chapter.
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