Never Hit a Jellyfish With a Spade : How to Survive Life's Smaller Challenges

by Guy Browning | Humor |
ISBN: 1592401694 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 5/14/2006
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
8 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Sunday, May 14, 2006
I thoroughly enjoyed this book on audio (from and also in book form - so when I found it listed on Amazon's bargain-books pages at a ridiculously low price I had to get another copy so I could have my book and release it too...

This is one of those books that is now studded with little bits of paper marking the sections I wanted to quote. Since if I quote them all I might as well just scan in the whole book I shall try to pick a small sample, but it's tough. The overall tone is a sort of mild British version of Dave Barry, with similar flights of fancy and toggling between relatively serious advice and the totally frivolous. One of my favorite passages combines both; it comes in the "How to Love" chapter:
Men love women because they are the loveliest things on God's earth. Women love men because chocolate can't mow the lawn. Some men prefer to love other men. Equally, some women prefer to love other women. There's a word to describe this kind of behavior: Love.
The book starts off with a chuckle ("They say the devil makes work for idle hands. He also makes work for other parts of the body and this he calls exercise.") and keeps on going. I realize its mild tone and scattershot subjects might not appeal to everyone but I adored it - both in the text version and in the audio version (read by my favorite narrator, Simon Vance, aka Robert Whitfield, aka Richard Matthews - he's got a wonderful voice, and he's cute, too - not that that shows on the audio, but I thought it was worth mentioning!).

A few more samples:

from "How to Use a Changing Room":
It's important to wash your private bits in the shower, but they must only be given a brisk buffing. Anything more leisurely will be seen as indulgence bordering on wanton self-gratification.
from "How to Do Extreme Sports":
Extreme sports all boil down to thinking up great new ways of killing yourself and then extracting the death part at the last moment.
from "How to Climb a Tree":
Climbing trees has become a bit of a forgotten art. The only time you see someone up one is when they are cutting it down or trying to prevent it being cut down. Children wouldn't think of climbing a tree unless it was a fully interactive computer game featuring Gonad the Larchslayer.
from "How to Sneeze":
Sneezing is an enormously powerful bodily convulsion second only to the orgasm in its intensity. Both are difficult to fake with any degree of accuracy, and it's best not to attempt either in a lift unless you are by yourself or with someone who loves you a very great deal.
Um, I just noticed that I'm only on page 27 and the book is still studded with little paper strips marking excellent quotes, so I think I'd better stop here and advise you to get a copy and read the whole thing!


Update: to see more of Browning's columns, look for his "How To" features in the weekend editions of the UK's Guardian Unlimited online.

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Friday, May 26, 2006
Controlled release: I'm giving this to my sister in New York.

[Update: she read it while visiting me instead, so it's still here. She didn't mention a favorite bit but did laugh a lot!]

Journal Entry 3 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, July 15, 2006
I'm offering this for a bookray (see forum post here).

Bookray/ring instructions:

When you receive the book, please journal it, and PM the next person in line for their address so you'll have it ready when you've finished the book.
Note: even if you've sent books to that person before, please PM them before mailing this one, to confirm that the address is correct and that they're able to take on a bookring book at this time.
Try and read the book promptly - ideally, within a month of receiving it. (If you expect to take longer, you can request to be put at the end of the list. If you find you're swamped with other books when the person before you contacts you about the bookring, you can ask to be skipped, and then let me know whether you'd like to be moved down the list or dropped entirely. If you receive the book and find it's taking longer than you'd planned to get through it, I'd appreciate an update in its journal entries or on your profile, just to let me and the other participants know you haven't forgotten it.)

When you're ready to pass the book along, please make another journal entry containing your comments about the book and stating where you've sent it, and set the book's status code to "traveling". [If you find that you're having problems contacting the next person in line, or don't think you can manage to mail the book as originally agreed, please let me know; I'll be glad to try to work something out.]


Participants, in mailing order:

labmomnm [New Mexico]
ladilee24 [Pennsylvania]
macewoman [North Carolina]
LastEdition [Denmark]
FutureCat [New Zealand]
amberC [Australia]
rebeccaljames [Ohio]

Journal Entry 4 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Monday, July 31, 2006
Controlled release:

Jellyfish is on its way to BCer labmomnm in New Mexico, to kick off the bookray. Hope you enjoy it!

Journal Entry 5 by winglabmomnmwing from Albuquerque, New Mexico USA on Monday, August 14, 2006
Arrived in the mail - I sat down and started to read it as soon as I opened the package!

27 August 2006 - This was a lot of fun, even though I never *did* find the bit about jellyfish (maybe the "How to have fun at the beach" chapter was cut?!)...I was wondering how he'd work that in, but he brutally left us haning on that one. The nerve...Grrr.... Anyway, the two things that have stuck in my head are the "How to run a marathon" chapter and the bit about slicing a cake...359 degrees seems a perfect "slice" to me, sometimes.

Mailed yesterday

Journal Entry 6 by ladilee24 from Newark, Delaware USA on Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Just arrived today. Thank you.

Journal Entry 7 by ladilee24 from Newark, Delaware USA on Tuesday, September 05, 2006
This was really a fun little book. I like GoryDetail's comparison of this to Dave Barry, because it is full of the kind of tiny think pieces that really make you laugh while you find yourself agreeing. I liked the bit on ice cream a lot (because I fit his profile of female ice cream lover), as well as the climbing tree bit and the piece on exercise that started the book and made me laugh out loud. I had company over the weekend, and my aunt was reading a few of these to all of us while I was cooking Saturday night. Good stuff. I had the feeling that I'd get more out of some of the articles if I were British, but there was plenty to amuse me here. Thanks GoryDetails for making this ray!

I'll ship this to macewoman tomorrow or Thursday (Sept 6 or 7, 2006)

Journal Entry 8 by macewoman from Winston Salem, North Carolina USA on Monday, September 11, 2006
It's here and I couldn't help reading the first couple of chapters. I actually have another ring book that I need to finish first, but I'm sure I won't be able to stop myself from peeking.

Thanks Gory for sharing this with all of us.

Journal Entry 9 by macewoman from Winston Salem, North Carolina USA on Monday, September 25, 2006
I really enjoyed this book, but I found it almost impossible to read in one sitting. The constant switching of topics almost became tedious, so I slowed down and read it in short bursts. This worked out much better and I found myself laughing out loud again.
I had the same situation Gory did with the slips of paper marking amusing sections. The guys I work with are probably tired of hearing me read sections aloud to them. But they were the ones who kept asking what was so funny when I couldn't help laughing out loud. It got more than a few chuckles and a couple of confused looks regarding the British language.
A couple of my favorite quotes were from the "How to Swim" chapter:

With breaststroke you can choose to do it either with your head out of the water or dipping under. If you choose to dip and you haven't come up after the third dip, the technical name for what you're doing is drowning.

and the "How to Be Sorry" chapter:

Apologies are the old rubber tyres hung over the sides of huge egos to prevent damage when they rub up against each other.

Thanks for the chance to read this book. I already have LastEdition's address and I'll get this mailed by the end of the week.
9/27 - Book is on its way to Denmark. It's taking a plane so it should be a quick trip. Hope you enjoy.

Journal Entry 10 by LastEdition on Thursday, October 05, 2006
Arrived today. Thank you.

Journal Entry 11 by LastEdition on Tuesday, October 17, 2006
I found many topics that had me laughing and I have jotted them down so I can enjoy them at another time. I very like this British dry humour.

Thank you for raying this book, Gory as I doubt I would have come by it otherwise:-)

Air-mailed to Futurecat today.

Journal Entry 12 by wingfuturecatwing from Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Friday, October 20, 2006
Arrived safely in NZ today. Looks good!

^ ^

Journal Entry 13 by wingfuturecatwing from Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Saturday, October 28, 2006
A cute and funny wee book, with loads of quotable bits. I forgot to make note of my favourites as I was reading (I was too busy reading and giggling!), but flicking through it now, a few that popped out at me were:
How to Do First Aid can check their breathing by holding a mirror in front of their face. Don't use one of those heavy, gilt-framed monsters as these can fall on top of the injured person and crush them.

How to Have Neighbours
When buying a house, allow an extra 10 percent on the mortgage for keeping up with the Joneses. If you are the Joneses, then allow an extra 20 percent.

How to Socialize
Socializing shouldn't be confused with socialism. Socialists are the ones that like to meet people's needs, and socialites are the needy ones that like to meet people.

How to Meditate
Finding the right place to meditate is vital. You should be as far away as possible from work, children, overhead power lines, traffic, shops, friends, computers and telephones. Strangely, if you manage to get away from these, you automatically acquire inner stillness and calm.

Right, no more, or between Gory and I there be none of the book left to read :-)

I would like to know where the jellyfish comes into it though...

^ ^

Journal Entry 14 by wingamberCwing from Darwin, Northern Territory Australia on Friday, November 17, 2006
A well wrapped and nicely decorated parcel was waiting for me when I got home from work.

I have another bookring I should read before this, but have already dipped into it.

Journal Entry 15 by wingamberCwing from Darwin, Northern Territory Australia on Saturday, November 25, 2006
Some parts had me laughing out loud, which got a few comments at work and queries as to what I was reading now.

I was disappointed not to find out why not to hit a jellyfish with a spade. Not that I will try it to find out why, any contact with our local jellyfish involves a trip to hospital.

Posting to rebeccaljames tomorrow. It will be travelling by slow boat.

Journal Entry 16 by rebeccaljames from Cincinnati, Ohio USA on Friday, February 16, 2007
I just received this book today. Since I am the last person to receive this I am going to take my time and catch up on some reading. After that I will pass it along to someone else.
Thank you for sharing.

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