Non-Fiction Challenge – The Hell Of It All – Charlie Brooker

2016 Nonfiction Challenge

Genre: Cultural Comment, Journalism, Humour

Narrative Style: First person opinion pieces

Rating: 5/5

Format: Kindle51i2ihfnmml-_sx315_bo1204203200_

Published: 2009

Synopsis: A collection of Brooker’s columns for The Guardian. Subject matter ranges from Celebrity Big Brother to The State of Gordon Brown to Holidays to The Apprentice. Filled with Brooker’s trademark snarky ire. 

Reading Challenges: Non-fiction Challenge

I probably ought to admit that I bought this book because it was cheap for Kindle and I didn’t investigate any further than that. I’m rather fond of Brooker’s grumpy brand of pessimism so I was quite excited by its cheap price. However, it transpires that it was from 2008-9 so it was a little weird to be reading about things from that long ago. Still, it didn’t stop it from being enjoyable although I did sometimes wonder if I’d been asleep throughout that time as I couldn’t remember everything that he was talking about.

It also felt a little surreal. There are columns here on the vacuity of celebrity culture, on the horribleness of politicians, on the racism of the BNP, the global financial meltdown, and the way people over-react to everything. Reading it from the vantage point of 2016, it felt like these were our halcyon days. If Brooker was this angry then, his head must explode every time he switches on the news these days.

There are many laugh out loud moments such as when he suggests that breathing is the only hobby he is likely to be able to cope with or when he describes the woeful attempts of crisp manufacturers to delight us with new flavours or his opinion on nightclubs (he doesn’t like them much, in case you wondered).Or when he describes his lazy attitude to household tasks which leads him to have to live by the light of his fridge when he fails to buy lightbulbs. As my husband and I are currently down to two out of four lights in the kitchen and are involved in a protracted game of lightbulb chicken, this definitely resonated.

Like reading Owen Jones’ Chavs, it is always good to remember that there are journalists who I can agree with and who give voice to the things that trouble me. Especially at times like these.


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