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The Best of Betjeman Paperback – 16 Jan 2006

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The Best of Betjeman + John Betjeman Collected Poems + Trains and Buttered Toast: Selected Radio Talks
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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (16 Jan. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719568323
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719568329
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 207,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

His humour is remarkably versatile, for it can be used to serve both his deepest love and his most remorseless hatred (Observer)

His poems spring from what he really feels about real life, and as a result he brings back to poetry a sense of dramatic urgency it had all but lost (Philip Larkin)

Betjeman is perhaps as completely original a writer as has ever existed (Times Literary Supplement)

'This "best of", which shows just why Betjeman came to be regarded with more affection than any other poet of the 20th century, lives up to the claim with a selection of his greatest poetry and prose' (Western Daily Press)

'Who could ever tire of the amusing and poignant pictures he painted in verses...' (Oxford Times)

Book Description

A delightful anthology of Betjeman's greatest poetry and prose

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ian Shine VINE VOICE on 27 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
Like most people I am most familiar with Betjeman's poetry, most notably Slough.
The tone of that poem - humorous; sardonic - is the main tone throughout the rest of his poetry, but they only make up half of this book.
The second half is full of Betjeman's prose, a section of which is made up of his pieces about Britain's churches (a passion of his, and his architectural knowledge is clearly beyond that of the amateur), the script for his commentary on a TV piece called Metroland (about the commuter belt outside London), and various other pieces.
One note-worthy piece for me was a letter found by his publisher written half in French, half in English, that seems somehow to capture the very essence of Betjeman's fun-loving nature and irrepressible desire to play with words.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Mr. And Mrs M. Enticknap on 6 Jun. 2004
Format: Paperback
I love this book - it captures all aspects of Betjeman's writing and is accessible for those of us who aren't otherwise great readers of poetry.If you're abroad , this could make you homesick! It is rather nostalgic and to me conjures up all that is best about England .The prose is as interesting as the poetry and in bite-sized chunks so it's perfect for reading on a journey too. Definately worth buying!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steve O'Donohue on 6 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
A perfect companion for someone preparing a best man's speech. I bought it about three weeks before the big day and managed to cobble together a speech that got a few chuckles and seemed to make the bride and groom happy.

The first half of the book covers the 'other duties' of a best man i.e. role in supporting wedding plans, organizing stag etc. (this section got a 10 minute glance from me - as I didn't see it as particularly relevant to the stage I was at. The bride and groom had already spelled out where they needed my support)

Part 2 of the book: The Speech gives you - in a short number of pages- all the guidance you need. i.e. Structure,strong opening and closing, Dos and Don'ts, tips for delivery, confidence tips etc. It includes apprx 10 sample speeches which you can pluck relevant funny one liners from and make them your own. The author provides heaps of food for thought to facilitate you in producing your own original speech.

To make best use of the material takes a little bit of time so do purchase with some time to spare before the wedding........
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Arctic Nomad on 23 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
Now, obviously there was a wedding approaching, and I had been asked to be the best man, which in itself is a dubious honour. A honour yes, but it comes with the responsibility of keeping that bloody speech. And since you are looking at this book now, I'm assuming you are in the same boat as I was.

The biggest challenge of being the best man is, no doubt, the speech. And that was the reason I got this book. Sure half of the book is dedicated to the other responsibilities of the best man, but that is just common sense, that doesn't require a book. The other half of the book is about the speech, which in the end isn't too much information. It gives you a flexible structure for the speech with some examples, what to mention, what to avoid and some example speeches.

Now considering we are living in the time of the Internet. There are plenty of web sites out there offering example speeches, even for free. And YouTube is full videos about this. So all the information in this book can be found from somewhere else, and I would highly recommend you to look into those places. But then again, it is nice to have something in writing, and the outlay in the book is ok, if only to give you a hint on how to organize your speech, but this by itself won't be enough.

Now, about the speech itself, looking at this book, Internet and YouTube, it seems to be that the same jokes are repeated over and over again, ad nauseam (if you didn't recognize the joke in the beginning of he review, you haven't done your research yet). The one good advice that this book gives, is start collecting material early, and I do mean early, months before the actual event. And whatever you do, don't try to wing it. We are talking about the best day of your mate here, put some effort into it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A useful, possibly essential companion to the build up to this seemingly colossal responsibility - I certainly benefitted from this entertaining and practical book. It let's you know very clearly what is expected of the best man and takes in to great consideration the many changes in society over the last few decades that have had an effect on the UK marriage scene in general - and bears in mind that this may differ from the traditional marriage cliche!

Of course the reason most best-men-to-be would be buying this book is for help with the most daunting and nerve-wracking task of writing and eventually performing the speech. I was absolutely bricking it as soon as it sunk in that I would have the responsibility of making a speech. Such high expectations to be funny and have mass appeal, from Grandma to your mates, the pressure seems crushingly scary. At first I was trying to find a way out... could I just ask the groom if I could just not do the speech?!? Of course this was not really an option... so I chose to see it as an oportunity to learn how to do public speaking and make speeches. I started by buying this book.

I found it useful as a starting point, - it gives great starting points for a brainstorming structure...However, the sample speeches at the back are mostly very cheesy, not classy at all... boardering on chavvy. Luckily, I started writing very early and found that the book did influence me to write in a similar style to the sample speeches, that I then evolved into my own style and eventually into a great speech that was very apt for the groom and the wedding.

Due to my fear of speaking in public I actually went to some training sessions with an actress and public speaking trainer. That really really helped and was beyond the scope of the book.
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