40 Humorous British Traditions, by Julian Worker
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Books Go Social/Net Gallery. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
This is a book that is aimed at a particular audience of which I happen to be part of, people who are fond of humorous books about people and animals who have a fondness for and a knowledge of Great Britain and its love of eccentric people . As I happen to be a somewhat eccentric fellow and also someone fond of Great Britain, I found a great deal to appreciate here. Those who are fans of wacky British comedy as well as the wacky true history of Great Britain are likely to find a great deal of enjoyment in this short book that comes in at under 100 pages and gloriously lives up to its title. The author well understands that humorous traditions are made more humorous by involving animals, history, local color, and something that is odd but not entirely implausible, and these tradition fit the bill admirably. One could see these traditions being part of inside jokes on BBC comedies in the future, hopefully with royalties coming to the author.
The author states at the beginning of this book that these traditions are all made up because he made them up himself, and to the author’s credit these fake traditions are quite funny. Most of them blend in some sort of reality, including the Anarchy, the War of the Roses, references to oddly named local towns, Shakespeare plays, and the like. The author comments on imitating animals, throwing or shooting odd objects, creating wacky poems, and knitting fur from wild animals. Some of the humor results from the made up traditions being close to real traditions, including the tossing of cricket stumps as opposed to caper tossing of larger logs, or the imitating of animals being suspiciously close to what is done by American duck hunters. Other aspects of humor result from animal comedy like the walking of weasels or trying to lure donkeys with carrots in a race or the humor of laughing about people regarding romance and their lack of success in it. Some of thus humor might appear to cut a bit too close to home, but the fact that the author appears not to be targeting any group of people in particular and appears to be making a joke about British eccentricity on a broad scale makes it much easier to go down.
In reading this book I was struck by what would be a good idea of a game. There is a game where the player must distinguish between a real Welsh word and a made up Welsh word, the point of the game being that Welsh is such an odd language that it is difficult to distinguish between real Welsh and gibberish. The game here would be to contrast the made up British traditions–which include homages to Wales and Scotland as well–with real but odd British traditions and see if anyone can distinguish between the real and the fake. I am not sure if the author himself would be interested in creating such a game but given the hilarity of this book it would be an entertaining endeavor at least. Any book that gives me the idea for something–like another book or a game or something of that nature–is doing a good job, and the author does a good job here. This is a zany book full of odd eccentric made up people put in a context that is plausible because it includes a lot of genuine local color in Great Britain, and if that sounds as appealing to you as it is to me, you will likely find this book to be very humorous indeed.
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