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on 5 October 2005
Guy Browning is the funniest columnist in the Guardian and this is a collection of his best pieces.
I laughed a lot, but I have really come to like the ingenuity and style of the short columns. Every one is an exercise in verbal pyrotechnics.
'Bitter people aren't glass half full or glass half empty people. To their minds, some malicious bastard has drunk the other half of their glass.'
'Occasionally, a barber will ask you whether you want something for the weekend. By this he doesn't mean a bag of charcoal briquettes.'
I find he always seems to fix on that detail you've always wanted to draw attention to, but never quite managed to put it into words. It's really difficult to get through a novel if you've got a busy job, so reading one or two of these pieces before you go to sleep at night is a real joy.
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on 25 September 2005
I'd seen the author's previous book at a friends and rudely chuckled for an afternoon when I should have been making conversation so when I saw this I couldn't help but get a copy immediately and I'd advise you to do the same. It's a smart little book and Browning's good-natured dry wit highlights the funny truth of many everyday events. For example he points out that 'Bank robberies happen a lot more than you think. The technical term for them is personal loans.' And he suggests 'Whenever you get the feeling that mankind is at the top of the evolutionary tree and that our civilization is a great and wonderful thing, see if you can change a duvet cover without looking like a complete idiot.' So true.
This book is applicable to all so a great present for absolutely everyone - and how often can you say that? Though as it is written in handy two-page bites and it'll fit snugly into a pocket or little handbag, it should come with a warning that you'll be crying with laughter on the bus. Other than that, I just can't recommend it enough.
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on 30 November 2005
.... the first is DO NOT read this book in any place where laughing could get you into trouble, eg libraries, funerals, or while your maths class are doing an algebra test!!
the second piece of advice is buy this book.
If you enjoyed (like i did) the little excerpt regarding 'lifts' on Amazon you will not be disappointed with the rest of the book. I particularly liked the sections on how to run a bath and how to keep tidy. Seriously funny!!
Are you still reading? It's simple - click the 'buy' button and enjoy a very funny book
nuff said?
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on 6 October 2005
Guy Browning is one of the few writers in the world guaranteed to make me laugh. Every Saturday I read his How To... column in the Guardian, laughing in an irritating way to myself. Then I usually read it aloud to whoever I can find around the house. Then I often cut the column out and stick it on the fridge. This book is a perfect way to enjoy his wise and hilarious words whenever you feel like it - which I think you often will. A great book to have about the place.
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on 4 May 2014
Never Push When it Says Pull is something of an odd-man in my series of book reviews: it was published eight years ago, and is a collection of inconsequential but amusing newspaper columns. Yet I recently re-read it, and enjoyed it so much that I couldn’t resist including it some time.

Guy Browning’s series of five hundred How to… columns in the Saturday edition of the Guardian, which finished in 2009, remains one of my favourite columns of all time thanks its absurdist satirical view of everyday life. This book is the second collection of these columns – a follow-up of sorts to the previously released Never Hit a Jellyfish with a Spade.

The fact that I find each individual column laugh-out-loud funny means that the book is like a little bundle of hilarity. I read this pretty much in one sitting, but it’s also the perfect book for reading at random, in odd moments – after all, each column is only about 500 words, and each is an individual nugget of joy. Read it when you’re stressed at work and need some light relief, read it while relaxing on the beach, or read it on the toilet. All are decent options, although reading it at work might be inadvisable if this book makes you as prone to outbursts of laughter as it does me.

If you want a taster of what you’ll get in this book, all Browning’s columns are available on the Guardian website. You can read up on how to use a library (aka brothels of the mind), how to wiggle (after all, pleasure is wiggle shaped), or – if this review isn’t doing it for you – read up on how to sulk. I should confess that I’m writing this review in a coffee shop, and have attracted some strange looks thanks to the outbursts of laughter that re-reading those columns has produced.

I cannot give this book anything other than five stars. It might be the case that the slightly strange humour of this book passes you by, but for me, this is pure comedy gold, and I can only highly recommend it.
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on 15 November 2006
Brilliant!

Short pithy chapters on the subject of life. Guy Browning is very observant, and is able to make fun of the silly things that we all do. A lovely antidote to a miserable day.

I found some chapters much funnier than others, but every one made me smile and some keep me giggling for the entire day.

Each chapter be read in a matter of minutes. I find it best to read just a few chapters at a time - reading too much at once makes me somewhat immune to the humour, which is a shame, because it really is very witty. A good book for the smallest room.

In places a little sarcastic and/or infantile, but this is not a constant theme. Mostly just very funny.
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VINE VOICEon 22 March 2006
This is one of those books that periodically has you laughing helplessly and is a great de-stresser after a hard day! As so often with the best in comedy, it is the observances of the bizarre in everyday life that gives this its strength. You read it and think "YES - I do that!" or if you don't, you know someone who does!
Each little chapter covers one subject such as "how to queue", "how to parallel park" "how to sunbathe" and each piece is only around 2 pages long, so it is easy to dip into. There is a wealth of wit in these pages. Get yourself a copy and enjoy!
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on 11 May 2006
I can honestly say this is one of the funniest books i have ever read and contains such witty observations on life - the sort of stuff we all experience. I bought it to read on a long aeroplane journey and i am sure i must have had the other passengers wondering what on earth i was laughing at - i kept having to show my partner the relevant sections so he could share the hilarity. Believe me it is well worth purchasing, you definitely wont regret it, and on the strength of my experience i will be buying lots more stuff by Guy Browning
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on 19 July 2006
This book will make your day. It is really really really good, it is really difficult to keep a straight face and read this book. I really liked 'How to Study' and '...Jury duty' they were really good.

You must get this book.
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on 22 September 2008
I bought this book ages ago and am now on to buy another for a friend, this will be the 4th copy I have bought. I don't find a lot of these types of books funny but I actually had to wipe away tears which is unheard of with any other book. Buy it.
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