Edward Lear's Nonsense Birds
Coming to life in just a few, seemingly effortless lines and the occasional wash of colour, Edward Lear’s nonsense birds have personality, attitude and, quite often, very human traits. Drawing on the British Library collections, this book presents birds from several of Lear’s original nonsense books, and includes stories, limericks, birds for learning colours and birds for learning the alphabet.
From Hopeless Hounds to Tyrannical Tortoises: Animal Letters to The Telegraph
Having mined the archives of readers’ letters ‘like a chaffinch in search of the juiciest worms’, Iain Hollingshead presents a hugely entertaining selection that illustrates the British love and respect for animals, whether tame or wild, mammal, bird or amphibian, and the occasional stick insect. Violent dislike is reserved for flying insects, and the Scottish midge in particular. Slightly off-mint.
Postcard From The Past
The postcard shows charming views of the Yorkshire Dales, but the sender writes, 'Huge hordes of wild sheep, cows and rabbits ready to attack at any time'; and on the back of four views of Weymouth, one word: 'Murder'. Tom Jackson describes this book of holiday postcards, with captions taken from their messages, as 'a collection of very short and cryptic stories set in that drowned Atlantis of the sixties and seventies'.
Did Anyone Else See That Coming...?
Unpublished Letters to the Daily Telegraph
‘Once more unto the breach, dear friends’... The redoubtable readers and letter-writers of the Daily Telegraph confront the era of Trump, Twitter and Brexit in this ninth compilation of wit, opinion and getting the facts right: from Forston in Dorset, a reader asks, ‘How can I distinguish fake reports about fake news from real reports about fake news? Slightly off-mint.
Sign Language 2
More Travels in Unfortunate English
In these days when everyone carries a camera with them on their phone, few opportunities are missed by eagle-eyed tourists to record humorously mangled translations, unwitting ironies and double entendres on public signs, menus, shop fronts and foreign grocery products. Among the gems in this collection are the impressive premises of Penang's 'Chiap Tatt Enterprise' and the luxury coach run by Barcelona's 'Chavi Tours'.
Thirty-Six Short Entertainments
Beginning with flatpack ‘Instructions for Assembling Your Pocket Playhouse’, Michael Frayn’s miniature sketches relish the absurdities of modern life. Here we find a telephone prayer answering service (‘Your prayer has been placed in a queue’); flirting academics in the Working Group on Gender Stereotyping in Indefinite Pronouns; and the nail-biting national semi-finals of the UK TV Watching Championship. Slightly off-mint.
Beast Friends Forever
Animal Lovers in Rhyme
From the perfumed courtship tactics of Babette the Skunk to happily married Rose the Grisly, whose snoring keeps her adoring fellow sleep-deprived, but mellow, these tales are often hilarious, but never too risqué. Juana and Anna, although they cruise the bars in search of likely male iguanas, are only looking for true love. This wonderful collection of friends and lovers is illustrated in manic style by Ronald Searle.
Winnie-the-Pooh - 4 Books
Aimed at adults, these hardback gift titles showcase the wit and wisdom of AA Milne through the observations of his best-loved creations, complemented by EH Shepherd’s original illustrations. Each book offers carefully selected quotations that highlight the most distinctive traits of the inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood – from Pooh’s endearing greed to Eeyore’s stoic misery. The four titles included in this set are: Deep Thoughts and Ponderings for the Wise (Read more...)Little Somethings and Smackerels for Food Lovers (Read more...)Doubt and Disquiet for Worriers (Read more...)Gloom and Doom for Pessimists (Read more...)
Must I Repeat Myself...?
Unpublished Letters to The Daily Telegraph
In this tenth annual edition of Telegraph readers’ letters, Alexa and gender-neutral lavatories join the perennial concerns with good English, cricket and the march of time. Hollingshead, as the departing editor, pays tribute to the letter-writers’ ‘wit, erudition and occasional downright lunacy’ and adds a best of the last decade chapter, including the priceless ‘Sir, It has all been a terrible mistake. We thought we were voting to leave Eurovision’. Slightly off-mint.
I Think I Can See Where You're Going Wrong
And Other Wise and Witty Comments from Guardian Readers
Gathered from the daily crop of some 47,000 online comments on the Guardian website, this compilation ranges between heartfelt opinion and daft puns. It is unfailingly entertaining as Guardian readers air their views 'below the line' on everything from the pronunciation of quinoa to theatre-going: 'I can't resist a good nap during a visit to the theatre. Comfy seats, warmth, people talking in the background – lovely.'
Through It All I've Always Laughed
(An Autobiography of Myself)
Well known from the Radio 4 comedy, Steve Delaney's cult character, Count Arthur Strong, is an ageing entertainer from Doncaster with a deluded sense of his own importance and a talent for mangling words. This memoir, presented as a typewritten script with the great man's own handwritten annotations, is a satire of British show business autobiographies, with stories of childhood struggles, national service, early theatrical breaks and celebrity anecdotes accompanied by the author’s nonsensical thoughts and opinions. Off-mint.
The author of eleven novels such as Headlong and the Booker-longlisted Skios, and many plays including Noises Off, Michael Frayn is also a prolific newspaper columnist. Dating from 1962 to 1994, this selection of his pieces deploys his characteristic wit, razor-sharp observation and offbeat comedy on a range of topics from bureaucratic absurdity to pretentious productions of Shakespeare. They are arranged in alphabetical order ‘because I couldn’t think of any more rational system’. Slightly off-mint.
Off to the Vet
The YouTube adventures of Simon's Cat, which first appeared in 2008, have attracted millions of viewers and the hapless cat's exploits have since extended to newspaper cartoon strips, books and even a game. Identifying feline foibles that will chime with cat owners everywhere, this collection includes the colour story 'Off to the Vet' as well as other cartoons in the signature black-and-white style.
Stop the World, I Want to Get Off...
Unpublished Letters to the Daily Telegraph
‘Sir, It has all been a terrible mistake. We thought we were voting to leave Eurovision.’ In a year dominated by the EU Referendum, the Telegraph’s letter-writers were in full spate – and not just on the momentous vote. Here, in sections such a ‘The Use and Abuse of Language’, ‘Box Gogglers’ and ‘Royal Blushes’ are readers’ opinions – frankly stated – on everything from family life to ‘Benito Trump’.
The Pantomime Book
The Only Known Collection of Pantomime Jokes and Sketches in Captivity
After a first chapter of one liners, Paul Harris presents the scripts of more than 40 pantomime sketches and gags and introduces them with notes on history (some of them are very old, but still evolving), theatrical anecdotes and tips on props and performance.
Something in the Cellar...
Wonderful World of Wine
Surveying wine and its devotees in pen and ink, these drawings were created for a variety of publications in the 1970s and early 1980s by the great satirical cartoonist, Ronald Searle (1920–2011). Along with 'The World of Wine' series covering wine ceremonies worldwide, from the fraught Annual Ceremony of Accepting the Kremlin Rouge in the USSR to Spain's joyful Festival of Hoofing the Rioja, are various lunatic methods for opening a bottle of wine and other wine-related mishaps.
How to Look After Your Human
A Dog's Guide
Dog owners often seem to arrange their lives around their beloved pets and this manual shows how to train them to maximum canine advantage. Written from the point of view of Maggie Mayhem, a border terrier whose significant humans are Kim Sears and tennis-playing husband Andy Murray, the colourfully illustrated book offers amusing advice on such topics as exercise and socialization, grooming and hygiene. Age 7+
Funny Way To Be A Hero
TV producer John Fisher first published his exploration of the great 20th-century comedians in 1973, tracing the tradition from music-hall pioneers such as Dan Leno and Max Miller through to the radio comics and the last of the breed in Morecambe and Wise, Tommy Cooper and Ken Dodd. This completely revised and expanded 40th anniversary edition profiles over 30 of the giants of British entertainment and contains over 350 illustrations.
Wallace & Gromit
The Complete Cracking Contraptions Manual
How do the Techno Trousers work? How did Wallace rebuild Preston the Cyber Dog? All is revealed in this two-volumes-in-one manual, with descriptions of how each of Wallace and Gromit's fantastic inventions works, cutaway diagrams and photographs of the machines in action. There are details of 40 contraptions, from the Bed Launcher to Wallace's A35 van, plus cutaways of his house and Invention cellar. Age 9+
How to Keep a Werewolf
And Other Exotic Pets Which May or May Not a) Exist or b) Eat You
Investigating the world of cryptids from the point of view of a prospective pet-owner, this humorous illustrated guidebook outlines the characteristics of a variety of mythological, legendary and fictional beasts from lake monsters and yetis to chupacabras and unicorns.
Am I Missing Something...?
Unpublished Letters to The Daily Telegraph
A letters page may seem antiquated in an era of texting and tweeting, yet the Telegraph's letter writers – often bemused, sometimes furious, always erudite – are a breed apart. Here are their wise, waggish and unpublished opinions on everything from gay marriage ('Sir – Gays should be able to marry so they can suffer like the rest of us') to royal babies ('Sir – Maybe the hospital could release pink or blue smoke when the baby is born').
Has the World Gone Completely Mad...?
Unpublished Letters to The Daily Telegraph
A vintage year for readers' letters, 2015 offered up Poldark on TV (an excess of chest hair), Fifty Shades of Grey, Nicola Sturgeon vs the English, a royal birth and, to cap it all, a general election starring Labour's pink bus and David Cameron with his shirt sleeves rolled up – but not much gets past a Telegraph reader: '... the fact he has no breast pocket shows that he is truly a toff.'
The Old Man and the Knee
How to Be a Golden Oldie
‘I’d like to get one thing straight. I am not old. I know what old is, and I’m not it.’ This light-hearted guide to retirement discusses the amusing and exasperating points of ageing, from what to do with your spare time and coping with the changing attitudes and manners of younger generations to worrying about declining physical fitness and the perils of social media.
I Don't Believe It!
Original Complaints of Tunbridge Wells
The British used to be better at complaining, as this sequel to the bestselling Outraged of Tunbridge Wells demonstrates. Before the internet debased the subtle art of invective, newspaper readers would take up their pens to inform editors of their disgust and outrage, perfectly balancing insouciance with sarcasm. The letters collected here appeared in Kent newspapers between Georgian times and the Second World War, and range from the pedantic and humorous to the poignant and political.
Baffling & Bizarre Inventions
This humorous multiple-choice quiz features 45 extraordinary inventions – including a talking watch, a mechanical golf instructor and a steam-driven bus, drawn from 200 years of American ingenuity – and challenges the reader to guess each object’s use from an illustration and description.
'You're nearly old enough to be dead, aren't you, Grandma?' 'If teachers keep asking you questions, does that mean they don't know much?' Compiled by former school inspector Gervase Phinn, this collection of children's disarming observations and impossible-to-answer questions proves Phinn’s point that 'on the whole' children are an amazing source of amusement and wonder.
The New Dictionary of Things There Should Be Words For
What should we call 'something that looks like minced beef but isn't'? Minsk, of course! 'Luxuriant nostril hairs'? Utrillas! Three decades after Douglas Adams and QI creator John Lloyd compiled The Meaning of Liff, here is a new collection of more than 900 familiar things that have hitherto remained unnamed, an oversight now corrected by recycling the appellations of places near and far.
This handsome collection of work by the veteran Political Cartoonist of The Times reproduces more than 100 savagely satirical sketches covering tumultuous events from autumn 2013 to the aftermath of the 2015 General Election, and includes the rise of Nigel Farage and Nicola Sturgeon; the fall of Ed Miliband (drawn to resemble the eccentric inventor Wallace from Wallace and Gromit); crises in Greece, Syria and the NHS; and a heartfelt response to the Charlie Hebdo attack.
The Not-So-Nude Ride of Lady Godiva
and Other Morsels of Misinformation from the History Books
David Haviland sorts fact from fiction in an entertaining compilation of historical trivia ranging from the Trojan War and Julius Caesar to Kim Jong-Il's record-breaking round of golf. Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
The Banned List
A Manifesto Against Jargon and Cliche
John Rentoul's polemical essay, which highlights annoyingly pretentious and hackneyed phrases, might make uncomfortable reading for those who exhibit a tendency to issue cast-iron guarantees while pulling out all the stops and proactively strategizing going forward. This is followed by the full 'banned list' of such objectionable locutions, which Rentoul has diligently compiled to save his fellow writers from annoying their readers.
The Secret Diaries of Almost Everyone
Since 2006 the 'My Week' column in The Times has parodied days in the lives of such luminaries as David Cameron, Prince Harry, Vladimir Putin – and Jeremy Clarkson ('Wednesday... brainstorming new ways to be mean about the Germans'). The author has personally selected this collection and given the entries new introductions to place them in their political or social context.
The Customer's Always Wrong
Stupid Things Shoppers Say
Will cinemas pause films while you pop to the toilet? Can you get a refund after cutting the legs off new jeans? Is pouring butter into your computer a good idea? This book contains some of the most bizarre queries and complaints that staff have faced from the kind of customer who spends two frustrating days 'rewinding' a DVD or is upset when an omelette smells of eggs.
The Smoking Diaries
When playwright Simon Gray turned 65 he began recording his frank and entertaining thoughts in this diary, described by Craig Brown as 'the great hidden treasure of English comedy'. Gray records details of his daily life but also reminisces about his younger years and ranges across topics as various as air travel, famous piles sufferers and giving up smoking. Off-mint.
Imagine My Surprise...
Unpublished Letters to The Daily Telegraph
From whimsical musings ('Am I alone in thinking Prince William waves like a girl?') to serious political commentary ('Come back, John Prescott. All is forgiven'), this is a delightful compendium of the variously frivolous and furious readers' letters sent to the Daily Telegraph in 2012, but which – until now – didn't make it into print.
The Unbelievable Truth
Introduced by David Mitchell as 'repentance' for Radio 4's Unbelievable Truth panel game and its 'dozens of episodes consisting of likely-sounding rubbish interspersed with accurate information rendered implausible', this book presents the true, if often rather bizarre, facts about subjects from Admiral Lord Nelson to Wool. Among all this bona fide information are Graham Garden's less than reliable lectures on a number of topics including Armadillos, Isaac Newton and Mrs Beeton.
Lost at Sea
The Jon Ronson Mysteries
Investigative journalist Jon Ronson is drawn to quirky and unusual stories and manages to write with humour while treating his subjects seriously. This collection of his writings from the Guardian, GQ and other publications covers a diverse range of topics from Church of England Alpha courses to psychics and alien investigators.
World of Peyton
Drawing his first cartoon in a German PoW camp, Mike Peyton started selling his pictures after the war, contributing to a range of magazines, including New Scientist and Yachting Monthly, and earning his reputation as the world's leading yachting cartoonist. From boating mishaps to the yacht club bar, this retrospective includes the best of his work from his 70-year career poking fun at the sailing fraternity.
The Enlightened Imbiber's Guide to Alcohol
In chapters on beer and cider, wine, aperitifs and digestifs and each of the spirits, the authors describe the history, legends and starring roles in movies for each type of drink, give recipes for famous cocktails, and recommend their chosen few.
Raise Your Game
How to Speak Fluent Sport
Specialist language is an intrinsic part of all sport, whether it is understanding an idiosyncratic scoring system or being able to correctly apply the terms peculiar to the technique or equipment of a game. Illustrated with more than 60 cartoons, this humorous look at the eccentricities of 50 popular sports explains how they are played and provides a lexicon of the terminology of each.
The Beano: Dennis the Menace
8 Varnished and Ready-to-Frame Art Prints
The eight ready-to-frame posters in this collection all feature Dennis the Menace, the well-known rascal of Beano fame, along with Gnasher the dog, Desperate Dan, the Bash Street Kids and other favourites. The brightly coloured and varnished ilustrations, each depicting a scene of comic chaos, span 50 years from the first Beano Book to the Beano's 50th edition.
Winnie Ille Pu
A Latin Version of AA Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh
Hungarian physician and polymath Alexander Lenard made this translation of Winnie-the-Pooh while working as a tutor of English and Latin. An instant bestseller, it has continued to delight readers young and old for six decades, as they revisit the adventures of Christopherus Robinus around Silva Centum Jugerum (Hundred Acre Wood) in the company of Porcellus (Piglet), Ior (Eeyore), Bubo (Owl) and the rest – not forgetting, of course, the horribilis heffalumpus.
A Collection of Round Robins
The letters folded inside Christmas cards can say more about the writers than they would like, revealing the lives they want rather than those they have. The correspondents satirized here include the teen blogger and the hypochondriac, the newlyweds married in a field of cows and the ex-MP completely lacking in self-awareness. ‘Any similarity to persons living or dead is entirely to be expected.’ Slightly off-mint.