on 19 September 2011
Everything Worth Knowing: The Simple Truth About Most Things is a gem of a book. It is also extremely funny, in fact it is one of the funniest books I have ever read. My only regret is that I didn't know about it much earlier in my life, it would have made things much easier for me! This book should be on the school curriculum, mainly because it is a very practical aide memoire to coping with the vagaries on living in the complex society most of us inhabit. No aspect of modern life escapes Carter's basilisk and iconoclastic gaze. The Church of England, the Royal Family, the Government, politicians, language, insurance companies, interest rates and bagpipes are all included. All topics are examined tongue in cheek but with a massive element of truth; often portraying the helplessness and frustration of the modern citizen in the face of an impersonal bureaucracy or seemingly random, hostile world. Entries I particularly enjoyed were The Home Office. Where law and order is thought up. It is so called even though no one lives there and Interest Rates. Fines imposed by the Bank of England on people who borrow money. The Bank calls itself the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street, which is an insider's pun about stitching people up. I won't include any more, I would not want to spoil your enjoyment. In closing I am surprised this book hasn't been used as a training manual for stand up comedians.