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on 14 October 2009
This anthology of chips from the writing block of a great author lives up to its name. There are one hundred and fourteen short essays on all manner of things that have given Priestley delight. Not all of them are simple or innocent : there's more than a little malice to be found, for example, in Frightening Civil Servants and Quietly Malicious Chairmanship; and a touch of mischief in Being Solemn About One's Tastes and Not Going. But mostly this is Priestley finding simple pleasure in music, family affairs, smoking, remembrances of childhood, and so on. One of the most amusing, tongue-in-cheek pieces is No School Report, in which Priestley writes just such a report on himself and a frankly bad one. The anthology is beautifully re-produced by Great Northern Books and makes a suitable companion piece to the newly-compiled Modern Delight, published for charity by Waterstones.
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on 11 November 2009
J B Priestley (a fellow Yorkshireman) strikes me as the Keith Waterhouse of his day. This collection of more than 100 mini-essays, from 1949, is delightfully old-fashioned, a book for dipping into (though it could have been pruned, some are much better than others and he does get a bit repetitive.) Priestley is a benign sort of chap who takes pleasure in mild grumbling. Some of his pleasures, sadly, have all but disappeared ... sea travel (I doubt he would include cruises), tobacco from real tobacconists, buying sheet music, stereoscopes. Others bring a flash of delighted recognition ... the feel of a new box of matches, theatre curtains, the sound of an orchestra warming-up, mineral water in hotel rooms. Still others are delights in something not happening ... not going out socially, not being the subject of school reports. Written during the Austerity era, this clearly wasn't a golden age - everything has changed since Priestley's childhood and taxes are sky high. But reading this I could smell the world we have lost (if books were smells, this is a tweed jacket with leather patches, rarely dry-cleaned and owned by a pipe-smoker). My personal delight was finding an old-fashioned library copy from the days before my local library became an internet cafe.
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on 9 December 2015
Very good service and exactly as described. Thank you.
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on 9 September 2010
A kind of autobiography of the author written in many different separate brief instances rather than with complete continuity as if the author is telling you what he wants you to know rather than making a clean breast of everything.

The brief looks into the various facets of his life, likes and character show the author to be a mixture of seriousness and fancy in that he sometimes has very strict opinions of what he considers to be right while in other instances revealing personal tastes that show he was a man who cared for all he held dear.

These little snippets taken as a whole show the author to be someone of very personal feelings while also revealing him to be a man of the people.
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on 16 May 2016
Great little book. Love it!
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