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3.1 out of 5 stars31
3.1 out of 5 stars
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on 17 April 2012
This is a great book - just as it was when I read it almost ten years ago, so I was surprised to see it listed under "advance release", on amazon, implying that the kindle edition in 2012 was a precursor to hard copy publication.

Unless there have been substantial changes to this edition, I'd say this is at best misleading...

However, it's still a great book, Geoff Dyer remains one of the most incisive, wry, dry humoured and generally delightful writers in the universe, and if you somehow missed this during the intervening decade, it's worth a read in any format.
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on 23 September 2014
Dyer sounds from this book like one of those annoying self regarding narcissistic personalities I used to avoid like the plague while travelling round Asia and Australia. The type that wouldn’t get out to push when the bus got stuck because he was scared he might get his toes dirty and catch some dreadful disease but who would happily sit on board while every one else did the hard work spouting the most awful philosophical tosh about f~@k knows what.

I am guessing we are about the same age now and while I may have grown out of this sort of adolescent navel gazing it would appear that Mr Dyer has not but at least he has found a way of making a living from it. When I was a young man I would have liked to have done the same but clearly I lack the skill and had to go out and get a proper job.

I only bought this book because I liked the title and the totally misleading review printed on the cover. But Yoga for people who can’t be bothered is not “screamingly funny” and while it may be “genre – defying”, being an indigestible mish-mash of cod philosophy and travelogue, there are much better examples of either genre out there for consideration.
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on 23 April 2013
I ordered this book because I found the title amusing, however I was quite disappointed with the actual content. Dyer strings together a couple of short stories which have made me giggle occasionally but more often than not sent me off to sleep and I have yet to finish the entire book. The only thing that shines through continuously is the voice of a middle-aged 'writer'' who's a bit full of himself. Not my cup of tea, sorry.
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on 6 January 2008
This is not Geoff Dyer's best book. In fact, it's his worst, but Dyer's less good books are so much better than most other writer's best books that it deserves five stars anyway.

This only appears to be 'Geoff Dyer writes a travel book about some exotic places'. In fact, as fans of the man's work are aware, each book he writes is a chapter in a sort of ongoing autobiography. The problem with this one is that it's the most nakedly autobiographical one, travel books being what they are. The Travel Writer persona is not a mask that suits Dyer. His book on WW1, or his sort-of critical study of DH Lawrence, are more absorbing because they're about Dyer identifying with his subjects. Here, he has only himself as tourist to identify with. It also appears that he wasn't having the best time during his travels; there are strong hints at some sort of serious breakdown. This means that his customary stimulating interest in the outside world is somewhat muted - it's one of the most introspective travel books ever written.

Fortunately for us all he seems to have rallied, because he went on to write one of his best and richest books, 'The Ongoing Moment', a superb meditation on photography. In the meantime, savour this book for its melancholy, its troubled nostalgia, its longing to be somewhere else, and not least for its hilarious account of the author attempting to change out of his wet trousers in the toilet of a cafe in Amsterdam while very, very stoned - possibly the funniest two pages of English literature I have ever read.
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on 24 October 2006
I finished reading this book last night and breathed a deep sigh of relief when I got to the final page.

Dyer is clearly very erudite and his artistic,poetic,philosophical and anthropological references are no doubt well-informed (although often quite tenuous!)but my overall feeling about his musings are that of the kind of people you meet when far away from home who are pot-smoking drifters who take great pleasure in leading the lives of self-professed 'hippies' and over-philosophising everything which, after several chapters, becomes highly irritating, particularly as Dyer is so self-congratulatory about his ramblings and those of his girlfriend 'Circle' (oh please...).

Many of us can identify with the experience of getting to know oneself and finding some kind of inner peace and I too have a knowledge of the arts etc... and understand the allusions but feel the book is totally self-indulgent and has no more of a 'wow' factor than any other amateur travel journal.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 9 March 2016
I picked this up because someone had described this book to me as a fascinating set of travelogues. The eleven sections do, indeed, jet set around the world to colorful locales from New Orleans, Detroit, Miami Beach, and the Burning Man Festival in the US, to Amsterdam and Rome, Roman ruins in Qadaffi-era Libya, to Bali and moonlit beach parties in Thailand. However, the book fits more naturally into a genre I generally avoid -- the memoir.

Dyer's travels are more about him grappling with his own restlessness in the world, than the places themselves. Perhaps the defining passage appears on page 211: "I was distracted, constantly, by one thing or another. Everything competed with and detracted from everything else. Nothing was satisfying, nothing held its own. If I was out I wanted to be in and if I was in I wanted to be out." That sentiment is kind of the thematic glue that binds his journeys together.

I suppose the book could be really interesting for a reader similarly struggling with how to "be" in the modern world (although bear in mind, the book predates the explosion of social media), but I'm not that reader. I suspect it's my own lack of introspection that makes me completely uninterested in memoirs, but Dyer's brand of Rilke/Larkin/Woolf quotes juxtaposed with accounts of which drugs he's taking to heighten his experiences seems almost custom-made to annoy me.
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VINE VOICEon 19 July 2006
Ever had a dinner guest who seems amusing at first, but then doesn't stop talking about himself all night long? Well - this is the book version.

Despite all his globe-trotting, Dyer is interested only in his internal landscape, which is pretty barren territory.

If you're a youngster having a pre-university gap year abroad, this pseudo fluff may appeal. If, however, you've had a modicum of experience yourself, this book is likely to come across as tedious navel-gazing.

Add my name to the list of people who can't be bothered - with any more Dyer.
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on 29 February 2008
At first I found little to admire about Mr. Dyer - a self-confessed drug-taking slacker. At the same time I couldn't help but envy him - his ability to feel at home in many places across the globe, each with a girlfriend attached, and an endless supply of free time in which to enjoy them. Then there is his effortless knowledge of cultures and philosophies, in fact everything seems effortless!

Of course the author does make a contribution to the world - it is in his writing. This is candid and often amusing. It is precisely because he takes the time in any one place we get something more insightful than any travel brochure/etc.

OK, it is easy to wish he HAD tried a little harder, and philosophised a little deeper, and edited a little more. But I guess if you try to force the pace you'd loose a lot of what this book is about - an experience rather than just a sense. And, yes, it jars to step into Dyer-time, but I admit, in the end, I found it an interesting and enjoyable place to be! If you are not prepared to make the journey, then why read a travel book!
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on 7 June 2007
Travel books are invariably about more than mere journeys - they are evocations of places (the sights, the smells); they detail strange cultures experienced and fascinating people met; often, they reveal as much about the author as they do about the journey. I'm sad to say that this book is almost entirely about the author, which might have been worth reading had he come across as an interesting, insightful or even insane character. He doesn't. This book is a woeful waste of paper; an almost endless plod through a series of fascinating destinations, none of which the author bothers to investigate for the reader. Instead he talks endlessly about himself and his tedious little adventures. There are mild nuggets of humour here and there, granted, but they are rare. Much more common are his accounts of getting wasted, and the utterly dull 'adventures' he has while under the influence. The Paris Story can be summed up in a sentence - "Met a girl in a cafe, smoked some dope, she wandered off, I was a little worried about her but fortunately she got home alright." I challenge subsequent reviewers to prove that I've missed something of epoch-defining importance in this chapter.

He comes across as the very worst type of teenage drug bore. What's more, he seems to regard himself as something of an intellectual, justifying this rather mystifying belief by repeatedly reminding the reader that he's "read a lot of W. H. Auden." Good for you old boy!

Read this book if you must. If you like it, please drop me a line and tell me what on earth I missed.
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on 2 April 2014
The funniest thing about this book is its title. Look no further. Could not wait to reach the end - bliss.
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