Yoga For People Who Can't Be Bothered To Do It
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Yoga For People Who Can't Be Bothered To Do It

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3.5 of 5 stars 3.50  ·  rating details  ·  1,305 ratings  ·  203 reviews
In his latest book, Geoff Dyer returns to his favourite subject— himself. In his very distinctive, neurotic, and quirkily humorous voice that has gained him a passionate fan base including Bryan Ferry and Steve Martin, Dyer writes about an accumulation of his experiences as a traveller, from the extraordinary Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert to getting drastically...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 18th 2004 by Little, Brown Young Readers (first published January 14th 2003)
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MJ Nicholls
Geoff takes various shirts, various drugs, and various girls, to various locations around the world, intellectualising as he goes, sometimes having impish larks along the way, sometimes having nervous breakdowns, sometimes having sex with black women. At first, I was amused at this bourgeois intellect mincing around like a Club 18-30 member, then I found his antics a little drab, indulgent and flâneurish. At first his laid-back prose reads like a treat, but lapses at midpoint into a meandering a...more
Ellen
I may have enjoyed this memoir by British author Geoff Dyer a bit more if, prior to picking it up, I had ever heard of Geoff Dyer--not to mention to have actually have read him. The picture he paints is not of a worldly intellectual traveling off the beaten path and living the moment, but of a rather immature, self-aggrandizing would-be thinker behaving like a teenager while actually in his 40s. His tales of drug-taking and drinking to excess did little to endear him to me, and the "screamingly...more
Brian Esser
Oct 15, 2008 Brian Esser rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sarah -- who gave it to me and has read it already
At first I kind of liked the book, then I thought the author was a miserable wanker. After a while the essays devolved into a typical pattern of him moving to a new city, pretending to write or work on a book or something, meet a woman, sleep with her or not, engage in some dialogue that was vaguely West Wing-esque, then ingest some controlled substances and finally wrap it up in a bit of hackneyed wisdom. Somewhere along the last or second to last essay he managed to fashion a memoir out of a s...more
Rebecca
The first essay is very entertaining. The second essay is entertaining. And... so on down the line.

Here is my problem with this collection: there is a formula that emerges after you read about three of the essays. Here is it:

a) Dyer arrives in a foreign city.
b) Dyer quickly befriends a fellow traveler/crank/drugged-out loony.
c) Said Loony introduced Dyer to Very Hot Girl.
d) Dyer & Loony acquire some drugs.
e) Dyer & Loony wander around foreign city. Insert scenery.
f) VHG drifts in for...more
Jim Marshall
The only serious flaw in this otherwise extraordinary book is its title, which, in an attempt to seem playfully ironic, may mislead readers who would otherwise be glad to find it. It is decidedly not a talk-show-Dr. Phil-co-dependent no more sort of thing. It is rather a deeply meditative travel book, with chapters set in Paris, Cambodia, Libya, Amsterdam, and southern Thailand, and a narrative voice that is sly, lyrical, self-cynical, and painfully funny. The funny parts (which are always also...more
M. Sarki
I am not surprised to learn that there are many readers who begin this book thinking it may help them understand yoga or the book be interesting enough that it doesn't matter that the writing is not about yoga at all. Early on in their reading many of these readers discover it isn't enough for Geoff Dyer to be clever and cute, complaining, and otherwise dependent on his own incessant and awful truths. Dyer's silliness for names, his middle-age juvenile behavior towards drugs and porno send some...more
Alex
"Then a hustler with wayward and unkempt eyes accosted us.
"D'you speak English?" he wanted to know.
"To a very high standard," I said.
"Could you do me a favour?"
"Almost certainly not," I said. For a moment he looked totally crestfallen. Then he went on his way without even saying, "Fuck you." In its way it was one of the most satisfying exchanges of my life. He could have been the risen Christ for all we cared.
What else?"

This is how Geoff Dyer writes: as if he is a friend filling you in on h...more
Michael
A collection of loosely linked -- well, not travel pieces, really, just essays from someone who's ended up moving around rather a lot. As a narrator, Dyer's enormously endearing as he wanders around, equal parts gung-ho and despondent, alternately quoting Auden and dropping acid. For Dyer the writer, Englishness -- or a characteristic I like to pretend is Englishness -- is a tremendous boon. Because this is really a Journey book, about a Seeker on a sort of stumbling, stoned search for transcend...more
José-contemplates-Saturn's Aurora
This a book I want to read. Some of the reasons stem from the interview Geoff gave to Publico,a Portuguese daily newspaper [31st May 2013].




1-Though he’s written a great variety of genres (fiction, essay…) the book is, in a way, “unclassifiable”: it’s located somewhere in the border between “fiction and reality”….sometimes closer to reportage.

2-The Place is paramount: the book is a collection of short stories (that really happened) about concrete places: Cambodia, New Orleans, Amsterdam, Rome,th...more
Rebecca
I really got to loathe Mr. Dyer. I really thought he was a selfish shallow bastard by the end. He made me uncomfortable and afraid of ever running into him at a bar or something. I'm actually surprised by the number of people who enjoyed this book and was entertained for about .000008th of a second to re-read it and therefore rejudge. But then I came to my senses. I remember hating the person and not the writing which is why it gets any stars.
Brandi Rose
Such an interesting title. Such uninteresting insides.
Jennifer
Many other reviews have touched upon the same experience I had while reading this book. I didn't like Mr. Dyer much. I thought he was very macho and insensitive to women, and viewed them only as objects to be either worshiped, ignored or used briefly for his personal fulfillment. Occasionally he did have female travel companions or girlfriends that accompanied him. These women mostly served to have pointless existential conversations with Mr. Dyer when he felt one of his existential moods coming...more
Ben Fowlkes
Apr 11, 2007 Ben Fowlkes rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: jerks, British people
Something about a guy who writes almost completely about not writing, being mad at himself for not writing, and about the minutia of his own life that I both love and hate. Mostly love, though, and I hate that about it.
laura
disappointing.
anthony e.
Geoff Dyer writes some of the most subtly hilarious essays I have ever read. Between this work and Out of Sheer Rage, I have come to a level of appreciation for Dyer that transcends most of the other writers of this sort I have encountered. Despite being essentially unlikable, Dyer has a sincerity in his expression of that nature that lends him sympathy.

Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It is essentially a travelogue, but a disjointed one, told out of order, but threaded together with...more
James
I really wanted to like this memoir/travelogue better. In the first chapter I had one of those keenly exciting verification moments, when the reader's own experience is confirmed and thereby actualized through abstraction in someone else's prose, the flesh made word, as it were. In this chapter, Dyer describes the three months he lived on the fringes of the French Quarter of New Orleans, a period during which he breakfasted every day on an almond croissant at the bakery Croissant d'Or. The almon...more
Drew
Geoff Dyer is blessed with a style that appears so effortless that it seems lazy. Or even provocatively lazy. It feels like writing for people that can't be bothered to do it, in fact. And yet, in his nonchalant, throwaway manner, he gets straight to the nub of things without wasting his time with context, plot, character, literariness. All these things are good. As is his frank, even naive way of telling compromising, incriminating stories about his own drug use, selfishness, fecklessness and i...more
Sean Carman
Geoff Dyer races toward oblivion in this collection of travel essays, on a worldwide search for tranquility. He only sometimes finds it, and then only when he isn't looking. You would think, for example, that walking through Paris with a beautiful woman would translate easily into an idyllic experience, but you would be wrong. There are beautiful passages in the later stories about the transcendence to be found observing ancient Roman ruins and the beauty of the world seen through the right pair...more
Maximilian Klein
If you've ever been far-off adventure traveling, taken drugs in an unfamiliar city, or cried inexplicably in a diner, then this book will illuminate all the knowledge you already have, and yet help you laugh at it. Assuming you can be bothered to read this, and find your initial literal yoga disappointments, you'll be mentally stretched, but in a gentle yoga-esque way. Every short chapter is a humorous anecdotal morsel. Like malteasers or chocolate cover raisins you think that this would make yo...more
Jim
I was a little ambivalent about this one, alternating between loving it and thinking it was moderately OK. This isn't my favorite book by this author, but it was a mostly engaging read.

The book is a collection of travel essays cum anecdotal narratives of time spent in various locales, ranging from Southeast Asia to Europe to gritty American cities. Through it all, Dyer and his companions get high, make aesthetic comments on the landscape, engage in the jargon of Eastern spiritualism and ironic p...more
Matt
I feel very lucky that I've seen Tarkovsky's _Stalker_, because that movie plays a large role in the thematic architecture of this book of what is, ostensibly at least, a book of travel essays. For what it's worth, I'm not sure I got the same thing out of _Stalker_ that Dyer did, but well, different strokes, and he does get a lot out of the concept of "the zone."

Anyhow, this is a really wonderful book-- lots of great writing, mostly, with some admirably strange adventures along the way. I am rea...more
John Halbrook
I read one of his previous books, "Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi," and was intrigued enough to buy this one second-hand. I must admit to a certain amount of exasperation with his prose and his pose-- the world weary, gonzo journalist/ writer who has had too many women wanting to bed him and far too many drugs in too many exotic places. Just picture a jet-setting Hemingway on drugs instead of alcohol. You get the picture.

"I had unblocked all sorts of cafe chakras and was experiencing absolut...more
Amit
I had Geoff Dyer on my list for a while, having already read some of his brilliant pieces here and there, but nothing like a full book. And ain't I happy I did pick it up?

Dyer takes travel writing to a different plane, then again, this isn't really travel writing. It could rather be called writing while traveling -- and he seems to be the perfect guy to keep traveling, never really at rest anywhere, and at the same time at home everywhere, a kind of anti-buddha.

A cross between beat literature -...more
Paul Blaney
I liked this even more than Out of Sheer Rage. It's really a series of travel pieces (New Orleans, Rome, Cambodia, Bali, Amsterdam, Libya, Detroit) that end with the Burning Man Festival in Nevada. But it's given coherence by the gradual descent of the narrator towards breakdown that's provoked by his dissipated, rootless existence.

As with Sheer Rage, there are moments of Bill Bryson-type humour. Both writers are happy to laugh at themselves, though Dyer is more acerbic, and confessional. He's a...more
Shannon
I do like a good travelogue and can more than appreciate many of the qualities that spur both Geoff Dyer's wanderlust and his stagnation. I have a harder time getting over Dyer's über self-conscious windbaggery. He seems to take great pains to explain how he is cowardly (to prove he is macho and devil may care brave) deeply troubled by and nervous around attractive women (to prove he is just naturally sexually magnetic) and lazy. OK...that last one he seems pretty comfy with.

It's not altogether...more
Gurpreet Pannu
Geoff Dyer was a hidden gem which I am very grateful to have discovered. His writing bears a tone of obstinacy and his attitude seems revolting but not of the disrespectful kind. He doesn't hesitate to pen down what he is actually thinking. The insights offered by him presents the truth in a naked form without the pretensions and assumptions of many contemporary writers which I suppose is his charm.
Tuck
pretty good philosophy book, kind of funny and super-hipster ironic. but not really a very good book describing places and traveling. for all ironic hipster fans, everybody else probably won't be too thrilled. writing style is talking heads style of playing their songs. oh yes, i forgot, good drug and sex descriptions too. what everybody needs to make their philosophy go down.
Colleen
In one story Dyer is in Bali, having spent some time previously in Lombok. He's smoking, taking acid, drinking, and hanging out with slackers, ravers, and people on vacation. He describes Bali as 'extremely green'. The cover of this book mentions how subtle and biting his humor is. Lombok is on the Eurasian side of the Wallace Line; Bali is on the New Guinea-Australian side. The flora and fauna are completely different because Eurasia has all the plants and animals that migrated from Viet Nam an...more
Miguel
É um livro interessante, com um humor muito irónico, e uma perspectiva muito desalinhada, nomeadamente em relação ao que conhecemos de mais habitual na literatura de viagens.
Pelas criticas do Público estava à espera de melhor, de qualquer coisa que fosse mais surpreendente e sedutora.
Mas recomendo: lê-se bem e depressa, é inteligente e divertido.
James Spencer
I found this to be oddly funny and laugh out-loud-funny. There's a sense of detachment from the pain here, and the pain itself which still comes through in an authentic way, despite his very deft style. I recommend this to Detroiters as much as people who question their relationship to yoga, on account of the second to last segment of this book.
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Geoff Dyer was born in Cheltenham, England, in 1958. He was educated at the local Grammar School and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He is the author of four novels: Paris Trance, The Search, The Colour of Memory, and, most recently, Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi; a critical study of John Berger, Ways of Telling; five genre-defying titles: But Beautiful (winner of a 1992 Somerset Maugham Prize...more
More about Geoff Dyer...
Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling With D.H. Lawrence But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz The Ongoing Moment Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room

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“We'd never seen anything as green as these rice paddies. It was not just the paddies themselves: the surrounding vegetation - foliage so dense the trees lost track of whose leaves were whose - was a rainbow coalition of one colour: green. There was an infinity of greens, rendered all the greener by splashes of red hibiscus and the herons floating past, so white and big it seemed as if sheets hung out to dry had suddenly taken wing. All other colours - even purple and black - were shades of green. Light and shade were degrees of green. Greenness, here, was less a colour than a colonising impulse. Everything was either already green - like a snake, bright as a blade of grass, sidling across the footpath - or in the process of becoming so. Statues of the Buddha were mossy, furred with green.” 5 likes
“A restaurant on the moon could not have had less atmosphere.” 2 likes
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