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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 21 January 2006
I was born with a debilhitating disease. That of idleness, which, until recently, was a character trait I despised in myself. Thankfully I fell into a phase, much ongoing, of reading 19th century literature, and that is how I came across Jerome K Jerome and his wonderful book of idle thoughts.
It is very much different from any other book I have ever read, sometimes when you read a book you may feel as though your there, but with this Idle thoughts... you get the feeling Jerome is there with you, idling away the hours, discussing various points, still very much relevant today, such as tips on what to do if you find you have to pawn your watch.
It is amazing how many things I agreed with with Jerome, written over 10 decades before I was born. It was so good the very same day I bought the second installment.
Idle thoughts is a dangerous book, it will encourage you to utterly embrace idleness......
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on 31 October 2004
I bought this book after reading the first one in the series, Virginia Woolf's The London Scene, and also after I enjoyed the revelatory, mind-altering "How to be Idle", and I wasn't disappointed. I'll be buying several more copies for Christmas presents as it's the best, most beautifully presented book I've read in ages. It was first published over 100 years ago, yet still manages to be current, touching and funny. Jerome K Jerome says in the Prologue "if you get tired of reading the best 100 books, pick up this for half an hour. It will be a change", which I thought was remarkable foresight: as it happens, Jerome's best known masterpiece, Three Men in a Boat, came in at number 101 in the BBC Big Read.
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on 7 December 2007
This little comic gem from the 1800`s thoroughly deserves a new edition - many comic observations such a those on babies and their parents could have been written yesterday - except the writing is of much finer quality than one would expect today!

Mick Drake author of the comic novel All`s Well at Wellwithoute.
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on 24 April 2016
If you are expecting a Three men in a Boat/on a Bummel then you'll be disappointed. It's exactly as the title says, almost a stream of conciousness of thoughts about Life, the Universe and Everything. Some of it comedic, some acute observation. Whether these are JKJ's own thoughts or are pure fiction ?
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on 23 April 2012
I read Three Men in a Boat and liked it. I read Three Men on the Bummel and didn't like it.

So I didn't know what to expect from this book. Pleased to say it was a decent read. Humorous, well observed (some of the observations are still valid today).

A bit sexist in places if you are offended by things like that, but it was written over 100 years ago when a slightly patronising attitude towards women was not taken as seriously as it might be today.

Much better than 'Bummel' which I felt deteriorated into a long winded treatise on the Germans.
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on 20 May 2012
These essays cover a wide variety of subjects from women, babies, cats and dogs and growing old.Some are more whimsical than others and the final essay is very philosophical and nostalgic on growing old. The Victorian/Edwardian atmosphere adds a certain charm to the book. If you want a fairly light book, whimsical and one you can dip into when you want, this will make an ideal travelling companion.
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on 12 April 2013
Who wouldn't be delighted to find the public domain list of FREE classic literature. This is fantastic. All the titles I've always wanted to read and for free - this is my kind of kindle heaven. I love the way they arrive on your kindle, they're so quick, it's like magic. Thank you public domain!
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on 18 January 2011
This book is a series of essays on various topics; Jerome is pontificating on subjects such as Love, Vanity, the Weather, the Raising of Babies, Dress and Memory. I particularly liked the piece on cats and dogs; very familiar to anyone that has had one of these pets. His comments on being hard up also stuck a bell, as I have also been in that unfortunate state.

Jerome has a wonderful way with language. Even though the book was written a century ago, the the text flows nicely and can be read very easily. He makes the comment "this book wouldn't elevate a cow" meaning that there is nothing in it to educate someone. I could not disagree more; the book has much to commend it to people of all ages, and if nothing else will provide a useful example of how to use the written word to communicate ideas effectively.

I had the kindle edition; my only complaint is that the transcriber has changed English spellings to American spellings. However, this is a minor consideration these days; and as the book was free, I suppose that I shouldn't be too much of a misery!
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on 29 May 2010
I read this as a kid and suddenly got the urge to read it again. Jerome K Jerome's humour and manipulation of the English language is incredible and the way the book drifts from one topic to another while still maintaining the basic theme of each chapter provides a very enjoyable read.

Although this book is freely available in electronic format (public domain) there is something nice about actually having a real paper copy for this kind of literature and this is a well produced and reasonably priced version of a timeless classic with very prompt delivery.
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on 24 March 2012
Don't read this book on the train. People will stare at you when you laugh out loud. A few of Jerome's comments have dated over the years, but most of it's still as fresh, vivid and hilariously funny as when he first wrote it.
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