Reading Maze For Book Reviews

Reading for the Young & Old

Man in a Room

I wrote recently about David Shrigley’s How Are You Feeling. I guess you could call that his first full length feature book, and all the better for being in hardback.

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Man in a Room is pretty much the antithesis of How Are You Feeling. It is small, very small in fact – sort of A7 ish, although not quite in the right proportions.

It is simply the story of a man in bed, his mouse, spider and cat, him feeling horny, calling a hooker, getting drunk.

That’s it. No more story than that, yet I have read it, often out loud sharing the pictures with friends, many many times. It is funny, daft and brilliant for it.

Who knows where you will find a copy. Mine was a birthday present nearly a decade ago. I keep it on the bedside for guests – they all read it and love it too.

How Are You Feeling?

I’ve tagged David Shrigley’s How Are You Feeling as both comedy and art. The latter is a very loose tag, but relevant, indeed he even has an exhibition over several floors in the Cornerhouse Gallery in Manchester at the moment, and it was that exhibition that led me to buy this bizarre but at times hilarious volume.

As art, it could be a while before children, students, are writing an essay on the work of David Shrigley, but who cares, because by then the man will be rich many times over from taking his strange and undoubtably funny work to the public for many years.

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I love his series on work called Modern Toss and How Are You Feeling follows a similar vein of madness – a typical page that I have just opened on to has a badly drawn picture of a plane and the line ” I find it hard to concentrate whilst I am preforming important tasks”. Genius – or maybe crap, depending on your point of view.

I actually think that his best medium is the cards. You don’t spend enough time with a card to get bored of it, whereas with a book you may well do.

I manage that be just taking little snapshots now and then rather than ceeding to the temptation to read from end to end.


Out of Your Townie Mind – Richard Carze

With a wealth of TV programmes dedicated to encouraging us to switching from the noise, grime and crime of the big city to seek out the tranquility of life in the countryside it is a refreshing and at times eye opening relief to read Richard Craze’s irreverent look at life out in the green, but without the rose tinted spectacles.

Do you long for that old community spirit that our parents may have waxed lyrical about? Well, have you ever thought that what some call community generally means that everyone knows just what you’re doing, what you’re eating, who you are, well, you know, kissing.

Do you crave the proper local where the old boys bring there faithful terriers in that then sit obedient at their feet? While the bigoted old bastards rant against the slightly fey bloke who dared open a new shop in the next village and they plan their campaign of hatred against him.

Have you thought how your desire to live a greener life is completely shot when the nearest shop is a few miles away and shuts just before you finish work meaning that you’ll have to drive ten miles to the big beastly Tesco that you thought you had eschewed, just for a pint of milk, but then because you feel guilty you buy a load of stuff that you don’t need, only to throw it onto your compost patch where the rats will love it?

Craze, despite the rants against the idyll, isn’t out to put us off the countryside, just to help us go into the country with our eyes wide open and our Tods shoes neatly packed away. Gum boots, strong character and an acceptance of rain are what’s needed.