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Whatever It Is, I Don’t Like It

3.55  ·  Rating Details ·  146 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
It takes a particular kind of man to want an embroidered polo player astride his left nipple. Occasionally, when I am tired and emotional, or consumed with self-dislike, I try to imagine myself as someone else, a wearer of Yarmouth shirts and fleecy sweats, of windbreakers and rugged Tyler shorts, of baseball caps with polo players where the section of the brain that conce ...more
Hardcover, 343 pages
Published September 10th 2011 by Bloomsbury UK (first published September 1st 2011)
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MJ Nicholls
Feb 17, 2013 MJ Nicholls rated it really liked it
When semi-successful novelists publish x number of well-reviewed books and have large enough public or media profiles, broadsheets offer them weekly or fortnightly columns which, depending on their popularity, can run for years and years and provide the novelists with an influx of extra income, saving them from the necessary lunge into teaching or humiliating copyediting work for conglomerate ghouls. This seems a more standard practice in Britain than America, where commissioned articles (i.e. e ...more
Benjamin Obler
Dec 20, 2014 Benjamin Obler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Josh
Shelves: nonfiction
I'm completely charmed. And edified. And enlightened. And admiring. Jacobsen's voice strikes a delightful mix of humor, erudition, insight, and reflection. He only touches on current events enough to ground each essay in topicality. He's not capable of belligerence--he is an Englishman after all. But he's also somehow managed to divest all snootiness, if he ever had any. And his wit is so dry, you'll want a lozenges, lotion, steamers--yet it doesn't chafe.

Don't let the title fool you: these are
Jan 10, 2013 Dianne rated it really liked it
Reminds me of Christopher Hitchens in that 1) he’s an intellectual, and 2) sometimes he drags in references to ideas/events/people I’m blank on…however he doesn’t do that as much as Hitchens, and he’s more readable than Hitchens.

However, he’s at least as thought-provoking and stimulating as Hitchens, and he can write an essay-length statement on something that ends with the splendid (and sometimes shocking) ending of great essays, something I always admire.
Clayton H
Feb 23, 2013 Clayton H rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
Jacobson has an acute observational intellect that is only bested by his literary gift as a writer. To put the two abilities together in one person, well, God mustn't have been paying attention.

Thank God!

After reading this collection of articles from his newspaper column I'm left to wonder if Jacobson could (can) do comedy - I admit to having not read his novels yet - and I may do so now - but if he was twenty years younger I'd have wagered he could (had he'd been inclined and his income depen
May 27, 2013 Karen rated it really liked it
Enjoyable - partly because they are bite-size article-length pieces on a wide variety of topics which are frequently humorous, but also I think because Mr Jacobson tackles subjects that others avoid and is prepared to say things which are decidedly un-p.c. at times. It is also good to read a columnist whose self-deprecation appears to be sincere and without the hidden motive of making you want to think more favourably of him. Realism, especially when personally directed, is a rare quality, and o ...more
Aug 04, 2013 Jill rated it it was amazing

"Whatever it is" is a collection of Jacobson's columns for the Independent newspaper.
This was a joy to read – Jacobson has a beautiful way with words – mellifluous if you like. His topics are wide ranging - from menacing cyclists to porn for the Prince,from popular culture to politics - he almost comes across as a bit of a curmudgeon but this is thoroughly tempered by his beautifully humorous turn of phrase. Very funny
Aug 31, 2016 Mark rated it liked it
A collection of columns(observations, opinions) written by Howard Jacobson with the Independent from 1998 to 2011. Some were very funny and remain relevant. I admit I had to return to my dictionary now and then just to be sure of what I was reading. Not a quick read for me. I left it alone several times over four weeks but always went back.
Sarah Hunter
Oct 24, 2012 Sarah Hunter rated it liked it
I'm sure this guy is sick of Woody Allen comparison's! Apologies Howard, but here's another one :) A great read that rocks along - he's more intellectual than Woody - less whimsical. Expect lots of laughs and be prepared to have your outlook altered. I want to give it 3.5 stars but don't know how.
Sep 29, 2013 Jo rated it it was ok
Mixed bag, like most short article books, some I loved, some were ok and some bored me. He is a clever and articulate writer and I think I may have enjoyed the book more had I read a few at a time (perhaps between other books) rather than trying to read it all at once.
Nov 12, 2013 Michelle rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
I have no idea why but I couldn't listen to more than a few chapter of this book. Perhaps it was the sound of the author's voice that I couldn't get into, I'm really not sure I just didn't enjoy this award winning book.
An interesting read, a collection of articles and each one gives you pause to consider. I have not read any Howard Jacobson before and I did enjoy this. I like his insights, humour and ability to not take himself seriously.
Jul 15, 2014 Marjorie rated it it was amazing
Jacobson is acerbic, funny, annoying, and insightful. He can be scary but always articulate. I found him real. Some parts of this book really added to my thinking, which I appreciate very much.
Janelle Dunstan
Janelle Dunstan rated it liked it
Jan 12, 2013
Michael rated it really liked it
Jan 29, 2013
Dec 05, 2012 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: we-own
The man is a hero of mine, plain and simple.
Mattbrammer rated it really liked it
Jan 08, 2013
Ashley Bigham
Ashley Bigham rated it it was ok
Mar 26, 2012
Lara rated it liked it
Jun 21, 2013
Rob Carseldine
Rob Carseldine rated it really liked it
Sep 16, 2013
Athirupa rated it liked it
Mar 17, 2013
David Shankey
David Shankey rated it liked it
Sep 22, 2012
Hugo Sivas
Hugo Sivas rated it really liked it
Feb 22, 2014
John rated it liked it
Aug 16, 2014
Dave Suscheck
Dave Suscheck rated it it was amazing
Aug 14, 2015
Adyasha Dash
Adyasha Dash rated it really liked it
Jan 11, 2016
Ksenia Tserkovskaya
Ksenia Tserkovskaya rated it it was amazing
Mar 12, 2016
Jun 20, 2012 Nick rated it really liked it
Entertaining, thought-provoking, funny and wonderful writing.
Nicholas Vallo
Nicholas Vallo rated it it was amazing
Aug 24, 2013
Naomi rated it liked it
Feb 16, 2014
Lyn rated it really liked it
Apr 09, 2013
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Howard Jacobson was born in Manchester, England, and educated at Cambridge. His many novels include The Mighty Walzer (winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize), Who’s Sorry Now? and Kalooki Nights (both longlisted for the Man Booker Prize), and, most recently, The Act of Love. Jacobson is also a respected critic and broadcaster, and writes a weekly column for the Independent. He lives in ...more
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