Friday, January 04, 2013


For years I've listened to Stephen Bayley on BBC Radio 4 and have read his eclectic features in national press, but until now, haven't bothered with his numerous books.  However, have just finished his DICTIONARY OF IDIOCY and love the silliness of it.

As the author kicks off: "This is a book about opinions.  It is a misguided tour with no real beginning or end, but one which passes some interesting places on the way."

And it sure does.  Bayley is often asked for his opinion and his responses are published in The Times, Telegraph, Guardian, Observer et al and the content of his book is displayed alphabetically from 'Abstraction' to 'Yvetot'.   We're treated to thumbnails on a variety of characters from the past including  Ralph Waldo Emerson, Samuel Johnson, John Ruskin , even poor old Gertrude Stein gets her two minutes and there's much more. Funny stuff.

In this A-Z of modern ignorance, Bayley has gathered curious, ridiculous and downright shocking facts that I certainly didn't know.  Published by Gibson Square ( at £7.99 this is one book that Andrew Marr said he couldn't put down and I certainly keep dipping into it.  A good read!

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