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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
Queuing for Beginners: The Story of Daily Life From Breakfast to Bedtime
Format: Paperback|Change
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on 14 October 2015
Joe has an enjoyable, gentle way about his writing, yet is able to make seemingly trivial minutiae fascinating. Quite a trick. And addictive. So I've bought his others, too. I've learned stuff I didn't realise I ought to know.
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on 2 September 2013
Informative and often funny. Hightlights lots of interesting historical social facts and peculiarities. Easy reading for anyone intested in how we got to where we are.
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on 13 September 2010
Queuing for Beginners

First thing - I will never look at Andrew Marr with quite the same degree of awe following his remarks on the front cover. You let me down, Andrew!

I was very excited by the reviews and its promise of humour and enlightenment. By the end of the first chapter I was already disappointed. Almost bored. It is an `obvious' read with nothing very new. By chapter 3, I was longing for a novel.
The writing style did much to influence my opinion, akin to reading a report by your sales manager.

This is a book with buckets of information and facts and figures which in the telling, we should be glorifying. But it does disappoint and I think it is mainly the writing style which is to blame.

Page 55 was my first taste of interesting/good writing, "there is even a purpose to that unloved subset of office gossip, whingeing". Lovely.
Page 57 my favourite quote "Cappuccino might not be everyone's cup of tea, but a deal's a deal." Fab.
Page 71 Disagree vehemently about the British not queuing well. We are definitely the best in the world.

About halfway - and so it starts. .............The Thatcher Obsession. The book's time period spans quite a number of decades but no other PM gets a mention. She is even blamed for the weather at one point. I actually started marking the pages and by page 210 I wrote in the margin `beyond a joke now!' No idea why there is such relevance (or guilt) put on Thatcherism but it is certainly evident.

In essence - felt like I was reading a cut and paste job and although it did not live up to expectations I enjoyed it.
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on 13 October 2010
I read this after reading the Author's "On Roads" which takes a single mundane subject and, by subjecting it to intense scrutiny, makes it rather interesting. This book skips over too many areas; none of them are really examined in much depth. It's an easy, fairly entertaining read (although the overuse of the word "quotidian" did irritate me - "ordinary" or "everyday" would have done just as well, fitted better with the author's general style, and not had me reaching for the dictionary). You'll probably pick up one or two interesting facts in each chapter as well as (depending on your age of course) wryly reminisce about how things used to be 20 or 30 years ago. But that leads me on to another (perhaps inevitable) shortcoming of the book - what's "quotidian" is constantly changing and already 3 or 4 years after publication there are some glaring omissions from his commentary; the explosion in mobile Internet / Blackberry use being one obvious example.
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