Having just missed one hundred books in the first year of The Book Challenge, in 2010, I made the full tonne. Still reading, but without the challenge, take a look at the reviews for the books that I have read this year.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Book 90 - It Is Just You, Everything's Not Shit

Book - It Is Just You, Everything's Not Shit
Author - Steve Stack
Year - 2005
Genre - Toilet Book

Written as a counterpoint to the books that go under the name of Is It Just Me Or Is Everything Shit?, Steve Stack's books set out to show that actually the world is a much better place than that, and such cynicism is unnecessary.  Only a true grumpy sod could find fault with that.  Well, chalk me up as a grumpy sod then, because I wasn't impressed.

Some of the entries in the book are genuinely quite charming - such as Staying Up Late To Finish A Good Book or The Xylophone Playing Of Patrick Moore - but in the main the whole thing pretty much read as Here Is A List Of Things Steve Stack Likes With No Particular Regard As To Whether You Do Or Not.  As a result shows like Monkey make the list, as does Stack's favourite director, despite him not being someone that I have heard of at all.  Not that I am saying they are not good, but I would hardly call them bastions of what is great about the world.  He just about manages to stay shy of the cliche of The Cold Side Of A Pillow (if I remember correctly), but the whole thing is not fully explored.  Having an entry in your list book such as A Nice Cup Of Tea And A Sit Down, and following it with the illuminating description of 'there is nothing like a nice cup of tea and a sit down.  Heaven.' does not constitute great writing to me, and in an entry about great sandwiches, listing the recipe for how you make your own favourite sandwich - when really of all the foodstuffs the sandwich must be the most simple to make without the aid of a recipe - reeks of self indulgence.

I know I am being picky now, but some things do just annoy me.  The original books that spawned this one are called Is It Just Me Or Is Everything Shit?.  To twist this around, this book is titled It Is Just You, Everything's Not Shit.  However, this implies that everything in the world is not shit.  Crime is not shit.  War is not shit.  Michael Winner is not shit.  As you can see, this obviously doesn't work, and should read, It Is Just You, Not Everything's Shit.  See, told you I was a grumpy sod about this book.

To make it all worse, this website, 1000 Awesome Things which I have been following on and off for a fair while, manages to fulfill the aims of Stack's book in a fair more eloquent, funny and heartwarming way.  If you have a few minutes to spare then I suggest you bookmark it rather than read it, because once you start you will want to keep reading the whole thing, which will take up rather a large amount of your time.  Do take a look though, because it is a brilliant website.

In conclusion, not everything is shit about this book, but I wouldn't waster my time reading it.  Except that I did.  Damn.  Now I'm an even grumpier sod.


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