A Year in the Merde

by Stephen Clarke | Humor |
ISBN: 9780593054536 Global Overview for this book
Registered by voveryte of Woolwich, Greater London United Kingdom on 4/11/2008
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7 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by voveryte from Woolwich, Greater London United Kingdom on Friday, April 11, 2008
Very very funny book!
I am looking forward to reading more books by the same author and I hope to organise a ring for this book eventually.

Journal Entry 2 by voveryte from Woolwich, Greater London United Kingdom on Monday, November 10, 2008
BookRing Guidelines:


• WHEN YOU RECEIVE THE BOOK, please make a journal entry. This way we know that it has arrived safe and sound.

• Please PM the next person on the list for confirmation of their mailing address as soon as you can.

• Please try to finish the book within a reasonable amount of time. This will allow us to keep the bookring moving, and avoid having it getting placed on a "to be read" pile for an undetermined amount of time. Also, if you don't like it, don't feel obligated to finish it before sending it on its way.

• When you finish the book, please make a journal entry (NOT RELEASE NOTES) to let us know when you are finished and that it has been mailed. This way we all know it's traveling again.

• If you are last on the list, please send it back home to me!

Happy Reading!

If you run into any issues, or have any questions, feel free to PM me, voveryte.


valerief - US (int.)
jumpingin - Canada (int.)
DEESSE - France
Griete - Switzerland (Europe)
MrMustard - UK
BokOrm09 - UK (EU)


Released 11 yrs ago (12/1/2008 UTC) at — Controlled Release, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- United Kingdom

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On the way to valerief!

Let this bookring begin!

Journal Entry 4 by valerief from Queens, New York USA on Saturday, December 20, 2008
This was waiting for me when I arrived home from Sydney. With the holidays and my Mt TBR for rings having exploded while away, it may take me a few weeks to mail this out. Thanks!

Journal Entry 5 by valerief at send to a fellow bookcrosser, Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Friday, January 02, 2009

Released 11 yrs ago (1/3/2009 UTC) at send to a fellow bookcrosser, Bookring -- Controlled Releases

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Having a friend who just moved to Paris for work, I believe at least half of what is described in this novel (roman a clef?) Easy breezy reading.

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This is off to jumpingin

Journal Entry 6 by wingjumpinginwing from Vancouver, British Columbia Canada on Tuesday, January 20, 2009
The book just arrived in this morning's mail. I will start it as soon as I finish my current book. Thanks, voveryte and valerief!

Journal Entry 7 by wingjumpinginwing from Vancouver, British Columbia Canada on Wednesday, January 28, 2009
This was a fun book. I laughed out loud at times. Now I just need to go to France so I can judge for myself how accurate Clarke's portrayal was.

Thanks, voveryte, for sharing. I mailed the book by surface mail to DEESSE this morning.

Journal Entry 8 by DEESSE from Erstein, Alsace France on Friday, March 06, 2009
This book was waiting for me when I came home from a short journey with my pupils.
Thanks voveryte for letting me join this bookring and thanks jumpingin for sending it on. I'll read it next after the book I'm currently reading (Unfortunately I just started it on the train today...)
Let's see if Mr Clarke found out the same things about the French people as me (I've been living for nearly ten years now in France...)

By the way, I own the sequel to this novel - would you like to join a ring if I "created" one?

Journal Entry 9 by DEESSE from Erstein, Alsace France on Saturday, March 21, 2009
I finished this book this morning and I enjoyed reading it a lot!

Lots of things he writes about the French are true (maybe a bit exaggerated, though), I think, and though I live very close to the French-German border and not in Paris, I have made similar experiences with everyday-life in France.

Even though I work in Germany and cross the Rhine every day, I (like Paul who can't remember the English word for "slip" in a Marks and Spencer), sometimes can't think of a word in my mother tongue but can remember the French word for it, sometimes creating strange mixtures of French words, pronounced in the English way (my boyfriend and I normally speak English together, and he's sometimes a bit puzzled at first when I want to put "mice" in the salad (corn/maïze) or ask for a "stylo" (which is a pen in French).

The same is true for faces of politicians (I could name quite a lot of French politicians when seeing a photo, even tell which party they belong to (as we watch mostly French TV), but the faces of German politicians/MPs (apart from the most important ones...) I can't put a name to. (I only follow German news on the radio in my car).

At the doctor's I've had similar experiences as Paul: You get a whole list of medicines which could kill an army of bacteries, the visit is rather cheap compared to German doctor's and in the pharmacy the same nice surprise!
On holiday in the north of France with my back severely hurting, I must say that I was kind of "pissed off" by the French hospital, though. They told me that the waiting would be at least four hours and that I should rather find a GP. Having crossed the Channel (as we wanted to go to England anyway), a very friendly nurse in an English E&A area of a hospital gave me first painkillers (for free), then I could see a doctor within an hour and got again pills for free! ("To a Brit brought up on six-month waiting lists to see any hospital staff more specialized than toilet cleaners,..." p.273)
When I was living in Scotland back in 1992, I was rather nicely taken care of by the local health centre, though.

Paul's "teacher training course" by the German boss of the school was quite funny, too.

When he's expelled from his boss's daughter's flat and living with the Portugese workmen, it's described in a very funny way: "They were all unreconstructed workmen of the testicle-scratching, freestyle burping variety, but they didn't look down on soft-handed types like myself. They were my age or a little bit older, roughing it for a few months at a time, sending all their money home to their families, and they accepted me into the fellowship of exiles. (...) I slept opposite Vasco, on the bottom-left bunk, (...). Vasco could have farted at international competition level, and I didn't want to give him any complexes, so I always did my best to force out a sympathetic goodnight fart before dropping (or drooping) off to sleep. (p. 306f.)

I'm looking forward to reading the sequel ("Merde, actually") and will let you know when I'm about to start a ring with it. (Might take some more time, though.)

I've got Griete's address already and will bring it to the post office some time next week.
Thanks for letting me join this bookring, voveryte!

Journal Entry 10 by Griete from Bern, Bern / Berne Switzerland on Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Got this book yesterday and finished it yesterday, so I must have time on my hands!
I also found it very funny, especially the beginning. And I'm French and lived in Paris for years.
I found a lot of details accurate, the French trying to speak English, the stupid names, the having-lunch-in-the-middle-of-gaz-fumes, the not-so-nice sellers, and many more details.
But I was a bit disappointed in the plot. Maybe I'm wrong but I didn't feel the story needed such a mafia-like story and I found it annoying. But on the whole, I enjoyed it. I will be sending it along. Thanks for sharing!

Journal Entry 11 by MrMustard from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Arrived today. Thank you very much to Griete for sending it to me and to voveryte for organising the ring. Will get to it once I've finished this.

Journal Entry 12 by MrMustard from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Wednesday, May 06, 2009
A pleasant, easy read which was mostly pretty funny. It did seem to tail off a bit towards the end, as the author appeared to run out of ideas, but it was certainly engaging enough. Vaguely reminded me of 'Things My Girlfriend And I Have Argued About' in that it was mostly about cultural differences and misunderstandings with a bit of plot thrown in.

Journal Entry 13 by MrMustard from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Posted this to BokOrm09 today.

Journal Entry 14 by BokOrm09 from Sevenoaks, Kent United Kingdom on Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Arrived in the post this morning. Many thanks MrMustard. Will be starting it once I finish the book I'm reading at the mo :)

Journal Entry 15 by BokOrm09 from Sevenoaks, Kent United Kingdom on Monday, June 01, 2009
Finally finished this thoroughly enjoyable book. Not as funny as "Talk to the Snail", but still a very funny book. I'm not going to add anything to the comments already made as they sum the book up perfectly. I'm about to parcel the book up to send back to voveryte. Thank you so much for organising this bookring!!

Released 11 yrs ago (6/1/2009 UTC) at — Controlled Release, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- United Kingdom

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Sent back to Voveryte in this evening's post. Thanks again for organising the bookring.

Journal Entry 17 by voveryte from Woolwich, Greater London United Kingdom on Wednesday, June 03, 2009
The book is back home! It's my first bookring coming back home so a very special thanks to all who participated! I will make it rest for a while here and will think of other ways for it to travel next.

Have a lovely summer everyone!

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