Journal Your Ramadan – Day #3: C is for Currently Reading

I love picking up new books that I’ve heard reviews about – like my sisters, I have a huge pile of books waiting to be read, and an even bigger pile on my electronic book-reader (which I keep adding to!).

Aside from reading holy books such as the Quran during the month of Ramadan, we find that there’s suddenly a lot of free time now that the day doesn’t revolve around food and cooking. I’ve been giving myself a portion of time every day to relax and have a read – when you’re absorbed in another world, its easy to not count the hours!

These books below are on my book list of things I’ve been reading, I have a lot more but these are the ones I’ve been meaning to read for ages, and I’ll be posting reviews of them all soon.

What’s on your current reading list?

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Revenge on the Spammers – Bob Servant gets even on Junk Mail

To: Bob Servant

Subject: Delete This At Your Peril

FROM HIS ROYAL HIGHNEST, JACK THOMPSON

Dear sir,

Permit me to inform you of my desire of going into business. I am JACK THOMPSON, only son of late King Arawi of tribal land. My father was a very wealthy traditional ruler, poisoned by his rivals. Before his death here in Togo he told me of a trunk containing $75m kept in a security company. I now seek a foreign partner where I will transfer the proceeds for investment as you advise. I am willing to offer 20% of the sum as a compensation for your effort/input and 5% for any expenses. Thanks and God bless,

JACK THOMPSON

———————-

From: Bob Servant

To: Jack Thompson

Good morning your Majesty,

I want 30%, and not a penny less,

Your Servant,

Bob Servant

Spam emails are a familiar pain to all of us who have ever used email – be it an impoverished and exiled King in Africa, the fake banks warning us about hackers, young pretties from Russia wanting to have fun,  false job offers or The Lottery Company giving us a million dollars – we’ve all had our junk folder fill up with nonsense and con-merchants.deleteperil

Enter Bob Servant, former “window cleaner and burger van entrepreneur”, who has the answer to every junk email that can be thrown at him. Bob’s ‘revenge’ on spam email has replies which are admirable and deliciously absurd, bizarre and simply genius, and in short, some of the funniest things I’ve read. From Kings who offer lion as compensation, kidnapped postmen and Russian companions, Bob manages to cleverly dodge requests for bank details, demands for money and sneaky questions – yet keeps them hanging with his own crazy and impossible demands.

The book is split into chapters which deal with various ‘scenarios’, with each chapter compiled of a conversation of emails showing the exchange between Bob Servant and the spammers, which get wackier and more far-fetched, the further you read. The mad yet very enchanting character of Bob Servant spins stories of talking leopards, setting up circuses, kidnapping a postman and getting restraining orders, all while teasing the spammer on to more promises (have a look here for a taster of the emails, which show Bob’s brand of fake gullibility and absurd humour).

Added to this are the deadpan footnotes by Neil Forsyth who acts as the ‘voice of reason’ to explain Bob’s thinking, although this only serves to add to the humour, not to mention the hobbies Bob talks about such as his “jazz mags” and deliberately obscure references to random friends which crop up in emails.

I won’t add too much to this apart from saying that this is the ultimate book which gets its revenge on spammers, as well as also having a lot of fun alongside it (and really makes me want to try the same thing with the junk mail I get, although I have a feeling it wouldn’t have the same hilarity of conversation) – Bob Servant makes you laugh, cringe and splutter in disbelief at some of the preposterous scenarios which play out. I’ve already recommended this to at least two friends (and then had to wrestle the book back from them, as they wouldn’t give it back) and would recommend it to all, particularly those who don’t see themselves as big book-readers (don’t worry, this book is bite-size!) Bob Servant is exactly the kind of absurd character we’ve always wanted to meet, but without the hassle of running away when he’s becomes too crazy, since he’s safely ensconced in these pages and takes out his silliness on the spammers.

As for now, I’ll leave you with this picture of a talking lion, as requested by Bob Servant.

ZSL’s Roar With Laughter – Sumatran Tigers and comedy

I was lucky enough to get tickets to charity ZSL’s evening of comedy, ‘Roar with Laughter‘ event over the weekend in benefit of Sumatran tiger awareness, which featured a range of stand up comedians, and well, a few (fluffy) tigers.

It was an interesting evening to say the least, Phil Jupitus reading poems about Jeremy Clarkson and his odd relationships with cars, Ed Byne on why cats are evil, and Lucy Porter on joys of Argos reviews. But we did laugh, and I did like the tiger masks on every seat : )

Bossypants – Tina Fey Speaks Out

Tina Fey’s latest work comes in the form of an autobiography, Bossypants, and in my opinion, is something to celebrate, and definitely one to look out for on your next trip to the library/bookstore/dentist/Amazon store. Described as a must-read for “for all women writers and funny women”, (although I suspect that you don’t necessarily have to fit either of these categories to still enjoy the book), this is a laugh-out-loud read about the facts of Tina Fey’s geeky life, but in such away that you can’t help but admire how cool she is. From the start of her life and her childhood, to spotty, awkward and clueless anecdotes, Fey never stops being witty and warming, showing us that we don’t need to have lived her life to understand her message.

Actress, stand-up comedian, writer and all-round feminist, Tina Fey does not flinch from tough topics but instead turns them into something to both celebrate and laugh at. Her acting in features such as Date Night and the award-winning 30 Rock only adds to her appeal, and this same geeky yet very, very likeable personality shines though in this book. There are a range of experiences covered in the novel, from her experience as an actress, writer and even as a mother, and it is this which makes her someone so amiable, she is the first to say that she is not trying to be condescending.

I have always admired Tina Fey and her frankness when making points, and I am glad that she is not one of those female comedians who reinforce the image of a stereotped female comedian by resorting to cheap jokes about men, vaginas and PMT. If there’s anything to be said about these types of jokes, it only makes it less funnier and more cringe-worthy. That is not to say that these stories don’t turn up in Bossypants! If anything, there are embarassing teenage stories and awakenings abound throughout, yet this is not turned into a typical yes–i-am-a-woman oneliner but instead appealing to the best instincts of her audience. She may not be entirely saintly or a Woman’s Own type, but then again this is not a gushing chat-show, and Fey is well aware of that. Instead Fey is like the geeky but snarky colleague who you look forward to seeing at work; you know she will have seen the same episode of Eastenders as you last night and is the first to make fun of it.

So I would advise that this is one book that you should pick up. (Tina Fey should really thank me for the free PR she’s getting here, but hey.) If there is something to help aspire to writing, then this would be one of the go-to guides.

In the meantime this article from Tina Fey’s book (seen in the Guardian) is an entertaining read to remind us why she is as popular as she is.

PRAISE FOR TINA FEY:

“You’d be really pretty if you lost weight.” (College Boyfriend, 1990 )

“Tina Fey is an ugly, pear-shaped, overrated troll.” (The Internet)

“Mommy, where are my pretzels?” (Tracy Morgan)

ADVANCE PRAISE FOR BOSSYPANTS:

“I hope that’s not really the cover.That’s really going to hurt sales.” (Don Fey, Father of Tina Fey)

“Absolutely delicious!” (A Guy Who Eats Books )

“Totally worth it.” (Trees )

“Do not print this glowing recommendation of Tina Fey’s book until I’ve been dead a hundred years.” (Mark Twain )

“Hilarious and insightful. Laugh-out-loud funny — oh no, a full moon. No! Arrgh! Get away from me! Save yourself!” (A Guy Turning into a Werewolf)