Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 30-35,000 words
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“David Antrobus was born in Manchester, England, raised in the English Midlands, and currently resides near Vancouver, Canada. He writes music reviews, articles, creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. The lessons he learned from working for two decades with abused and neglected street kids will never leave him.”
“Endless Joke is a collection. It's funny. It's irritating. It's the book you never realised you needed. But you do. If you want to stay safe (and sane) between the twists and turns and death throes of the old publishing monster and the anarchic new killing fields of epublishing, this book will help in that regard. It's equal parts passion, humour, angst, and a kind of bewildered, contemplative awe.”
There’s a cliché people use in describing Allison Krauss, Becky Schlegel (I know, you’ve never heard of her – she sounds a lot like Allison Krauss), or other singers with great voices. They say they’d “love listening to her, even if she was singing from the phone book.” I feel the same way about reading David Antrobus’ writing. I’d love to read anything he writes because of his facility with language. Well, almost anything. Maybe not the phone book. Some describe his style as literary (I’ve called it that before and we see some of that here), but he also a talent for finding the humor in subjects you wouldn’t think of as funny. Although Endless Joke is, on the surface, aimed at target readers who sees themselves as writers, authors, or at least wannabes, I could see much of this book being of interest and entertaining to those who are interested in the life of a writer (even if they don’t want to be one), in the world of publishing and how it is changing, and just generally in language and literature.
The book’s description is true, but if you’re like me, you’ll read it and still wonder, “If I buy this book, what will I get?” It’s a series of standalone essays, some originally written for Indies Unlimited (a multinational, multiauthor blog), some for Antrobus’ personal blog, The Migrant Type, and others specifically for this volume. As a group I’d describe them as “Dispatches from the Frontlines of Indie Publishing,” but that’s not as clever a title as Endless Joke (which is a reference that will be explained in the introduction). They covered a wide range of subjects, yet seemed to make a coherent whole. One example, Punk Fire or Indie Schmindie, discusses the similarities between the Punk Rock movement of the 70s and Indie publishing today and points out why the similarities aren’t all a harbinger of good things to come. Another, Well Defined? Nevermind, lists thirteen words from a list of fifty compiled by The New York Times that were most likely to stump their readers. With each he gives the real meaning as well as his own, made up definition. This mixing of education with entertainment in many of the essays kept even the driest subjects (like definitions of twenty-dollar words) interesting.
Whether an indie author (current or future) or a reader, Endless Joke will entertain, educate, and provoke thought. I promise, it’s much better than the phone book
UK (or maybe Canadian, you’ll have to decide) spelling conventions are used.
No significant issues
Rating: ***** Five stars