How to Be an Alien: A Handbook for Beginners and Advanced Pupils
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How to Be an Alien: A Handbook for Beginners and Advanced Pupils (Penguin Readers: Level 3)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  433 ratings  ·  59 reviews
How to be an Alien: A Handbook for Beginners and Advanced Pupils.
Paperback, 88 pages
Published 1977 by Penguin Books, Limited (UK) (first published 1946)
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Manny
There is an anecdote in this book that I have often thought about. When Mikes was a young man, he worked for a while as a clerk at a lawyer's office in Budapest. One morning, he assisted in a large property transaction. Things were not done electronically in those days, and the seller had come in with a roll of a dozen or so title deeds done up with a rubber band. He took off the rubber band and spread them out on the table, while the buyer carefully read through each one before handing over a c...more
Lavinia
George Mikes was an alien. He wrote the book in 1946 to show the British how he felt about them. He is funny, rude and mocks them as often as possible. But somehow, though he didn't intend the book to be amusing, the English people read it and thought it was funny.


Many continentals think life is a game; the English think cricket is a game.
***

Continental people have sex life; the English have hot-water bottles.
***

On the Continent, if people are waiting at a bus-stop they loiter around in a seemi
...more
Jan-Maat
When some years ago, knowing ten words of English and using them all wrong, I applied for a translator's job, my would be employer (or would-be-not-employer) softly remarked: 'I afraid your English is somewhat unorthodox.' This translated into any continental language would mean: EMPLOYER (to the commissionaire): 'Jean, kick this gentleman down the steps!'


The Hungarian George Mikes wrote this brief introduction to living in the UK shortly after WWII. While not entirely au courant it does, unlik...more
Callie Rose Tyler
Techincally I did not read this book. I read "How to be an alien : in Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Israel, Japan" Which is significantly longer (about 266 pages) but it is not listed on Goodreads...I can't believe it, this site has finally let me down.

I think that some of the references are obviously a bit dated, but I enjoyed the dry sarcastic humor. It is entertaining to look at cultural differences and poke fun at them.
Ken Horie
7/9=80 minutes

1. Character
2. Unique
3. Criticism
4. Interpretation
5. Difference
6. Cool
7. Interesting

'This book offers you some rules about being an alien in England. Study them carefully. They will help you to be more like the English. If you are like the English, they think you are funny. If you are not like them, they think you are even funnier.'
This is not from the story. This is from preface that the writer wrote before the story. However, I really got shocked by those words and that's why I w...more
Anna  Matsuyama
An immigrant's view on English. First published in 1946 this little book is still funny and rings true. The book is full of awesome quotes like:
In the last century, when a wicked and unworthy subject annoyed the Sultan of Turkey or the Czar of Russia, he had his head cut off without much ceremony; but when the same happened in England, the monarch declared: “We are not amused”; and the whole British nation even now, a century later, is immensely proud of how rude their Queen was.
Monica
Recuerdo que pasé un buen rato cuando lo leí en su día. Te ríes un montón con la ironía explicando las formas de actuar y ser de los british, según éste hijo adoptivo de Gran Bretaña (creo recordar que era húngaro).
Para pasar un buen rato.
Shiho
1. Penguin level 3
2. 7/14 100 minutes
3. English, weather, soul, tea, Europe, how to, newspaper
4. I heard about a woman who gave this book to her husband because she thought it was 'quite amusing'. The man sat down, put his feet up, and read the book. His face became darker and darker. When he finished the book, he stood up and said,'Rude! Very very rude!' He threw the book into the fire.
What a good Englishman! He said just the right thing, and I feel much better.

I thought the author do not like...more
E
A tongue in cheek look at the British through the eyes of a Hungarian immigrant. The chapter on tea is priceless ("The trouble with tea is that originally is was quite a good drink"), as are the ones on weather and sex ("Continental people have sex life; the English have hot-water bottles"). Observations on traffic patterns and steet-names also cannot be missed.

The book was written 70 years ago, and immigration (ironic, in view of this work) has somewhat blunted the peculiarity of the English. H...more
Anthe
"People on the Continent either tell you the truth or lie; in England they hardly ever lie, but they would not dream of telling you the truth"

This and other witty insights into the English psyche can be found in How to be an Alien. Its observations are surprisingly spot on and valid even today, despite it having been written more than 60 years ago.
Driven by his frustration to always being treated as the foreigner in a country where he’s doing his very best to blend in, Hungarian-born George Mik...more
Remo
Este librito es una introducción a las costumbres inglesas (británicas), pero muy irónico (aunque sin mala leche). El autor dice en el prefacio que se decepciónó cuando su libro gustó, porque él quería que no les gustara a los ingleses, ya que supuestamente es una crítica. Hablando precisamente de Inglaterra, en el capítulo 1, nos cuenta:

En Inglaterra todo es diferente. Debe usted entender que cuando alguien dice “Inglaterra”, a veces quieren decir “Gran Bretaña” (Inglaterra, Gales y Escocia),

...more
Ana
"People on the continent either tell you the truth or lie; in England they hardly ever lie, but they would not dream of telling you the truth"

"In the old days, the man who had no money was not considered a gentleman. In the era of an enlightened Mayfair this attitude has changed. A genleman may have money or sponge on his friends, the criterion of a gentleman is that however poor he may be be still refuses to do useful work"

[How to be a particular allien: a Bloomsbury intelectual]

A certain amoun...more
Misaki Arafuka
-Level
Penguin Readers 3
-Time
80min

-7words
English/people/different/strange/funny/European/angry

-Question
1) Do you think English people are different from people who live in other countries?
- No, I don't, but I think their pronunciation are little different.

2) English people like to talk about weather when they meet someone. Do you like it?
- Yes, I also often talk about it because it is easy to start talking with someone.

-Good scene
The story about bus driver was the best. If you become a bus driver...more
Mayumi Inoko
-Penguin Readers Level 3
-Time: 10/4 = 94 minutes
-7 word summary; England - English - wether - rude - bus-stop - driving - games
-discussion question
1.Have you ever been to England?
I have never been there but I hope to travel in Europe and visit there.
Then, I could understand what England is.
2.Have you ever talked with a person who is from England?
No, I believe I haven't talked with a person who is from England but actually I didn't know where our English teachers come from. however, I have talked...more
Rina Sakurai
How to be an alien
published by Penguin Readers
level 3

7words summary
-British/excentric/clever/rude/dishones/interesting/love

Discussion Question

1-Q;When you are angry with somebody, have you ever called him/her animals' name?
A;Never! Japanese never call people animals name, its very rude.but British do that naturally. I dont know actual present situation, but I guess its traditional British behavior, and I cant believe it.

2-Q;Have you ever speak of weather to unknown people?
A;Sometimes. When it...more
Mayu Onda
Penguin Readers, Level 3
-Time: 10/20 = 30 minutes 22 = 10 minutes 23 = 40minutes
-7 word summary: English - Europeans - Alian - difference - clever - rude - Naturalize
-Discussion Question:
1. when you went abroad, did you feel the difference of culture?
Yes,I did. I went to America, I felt the difference between Japanese culture and American culture. For example, food, cloths, study, and so on. But I felt American friendly than Japanese:)
2. when people go abroad, should they obey the culture of cou...more
Moeko Matsuo
How to be Alien, Level3
5/25/2013
Time:80mins

7-words:British-custom-situations-different-Europeans-strange-funny

Discussion question:
According to this book, if it is raining and someone said "Nice day, isn't it?", English people say "Isn't it wonderful?". What do you think about it?
-I think it's strange because Japanese people don't say "Nice day, isn't it?" when it is raining. Almost all Japanese people don't like rainy day very much, so I can't understand why they say that rainy day is a nice da...more
Saharvetes
George Mikes's book How to Be an Alien is hilarious. This "retelling" by Karen Holmes kills much of the humour though, often for entirely inexplicable reasons. I can understand simplifying the vocabulary and sentence structure, but it unnecessarily changes facts (sometimes even replacing two simple words with a long hard-to-understand phrase), making it harder to understand (in light of knowledge about England) and making the author appear distractingly mistaken about England (while in the orig...more
Takuro Suzuki
1:Peuguin Readers Lv3
2:5/27-28=80min
3:English,Europians,England,describe,joke,funny,love
4:a:"He is th type of person who talks about the wether."
b:It means he is very boring. In this book, there are a lot of such jokes.
5:The book tell me about English people with funny jokes! I really enjoyed to read the book.
Namiko
It is very funny! I think I can understand it humor. You see some things in this book in Japan. For example in chapter 14 Favourite Things the writer tells us how they love to queue: "One Englishman waits at a bus-stop and, even if there are no other people there, he starts a queue."
Moeko Yamaguchi
PENGUIN READERS, level 3
-time: 100 minutes
-7 words summary: England, Europeans, different, funny, rude, weather, tea:
1. If you are wake up at 5 o'clock in the morning and given a cup of tea, can you say "Thank you so much. I do love a cup of tea at this time of the morning!"
-No, I cannot. I like tea, but I am not good at waking up early. And I may be upset about being woke up like that time!
2. This book says that nobody speaks English perfectly. I think it can be said not only English but also...more
Akari Yamashita
Penguin active reading, lebel 3
Time 10/11: 15min 10/12: 15min 10/15: 30min 10/17 45min

7-word summary
English - European- rules- examples- difference-enjoyable-surprise

Q1. Have you ever been to Europe?
A1. No, I haven't. I want to visit Europe in the futere.
I want to learn different culture and compare with Japan.

Q2. Do you have a car license?
A1. I got a car license last summer, so I have driven for 1 year.
First it was difficult for me, but now I like driving.


I enjoyed reading this book. There a...more
Emi Kanada
I was interested in this title. Some pictures made me funny. This book was witten by British author, so it explains about British way of thinking, too.

1. British people always talk about weather with strangers because of the unique climate. Do you often talk about weather with strangers?
Actually, I don't talk about it with strangers. However, my grandmother likes to talk about it with strangers very much.

2. When you heard British accent and Australian accent, can you guess?
I try to catch some...more
Rawan
this book was hilarious and a really enjoyable read. It's not long for those of you who don't enjoy long novels... It talks about how British people act, and the author exaggerates their antics a bit in a funny but harmless way. The title "How to be an Alien" suggests that these english people are from another planet with their daily routines and their way of living. However, you come to realize that your culture might not be so different. Maybe we're all Aliens; and anything normal would seem o...more
Haruka Handa

- Penguin readers, level 3
- Time: 10/17 = 120 minutes
- 7-word summary: English - Habit - Quiet - Agree - Weather - Tea - Language
- Discussion questions:
1. Have you ever agreed with other people even if you don't?
Yes, I have! Sometimes I think if I always agree with the opinion of the other person, I can have a good relationship with the person. This represents that I really have the way of Japanese thinking!
2. Can you say your opinion clearly?
It depends, but it is difficult for me I think. When...more
Mayuko Ono
- penguin readers: level3
- 100 minutes
- 12/1= 75 minutes 12/3= 20 minutes 12/4= 5 minutes
- 7 words: British- Europeans- differences- weather-
thinking- Rude- polite
- questions
1 Are you shy?
Yes, I am. Because I am not good at
Speaking in front of many people.
2 Do you like the climate of Japan?
Yes, I do. I've been to London. It's cold
even though it was summer.
I like four different seasons.

This is a funny book. I was surprised that
British was different from other Europeans
in many cases.
Mitsugu Oka
- Penguin readers, level 3.
- Time: 9/30 = 60 minutes : 10/1 = 30 minutes : 10/3 = 20 minutes
- 7 - word summary : English - Different - Wether - Language - Rude - Filmmaker - Newspaper
- Disussion questions :
1. Have you ever been to England?
I have naver been there, but I want to go there.
2. Do you think England is a strange country?
No, I think England is a normal country.

I enjoyed reading this book and it was interesting, but I can't understand so much.
Yssamu Numata

Penguin readers level3
Time 11/28. 100min
7 word summary , polite, manner, agree, language, deep, meaning, tea

Discussion question
1) how much do you know about Britain?
Until I read this book, almost nothing.

2)do you have an interest in live at Britain?
I really have an interest in visit there and stay a couple weeks but I don't have an intention to live there.
Lisa
Such a quick read, but so darn hilarious! It can be summed up with the following quote:
"I, a foreigner? What a silly thing to say. I am English. You are the foreigner. . Truth does not depend on geography. What is true in England is also true in Hungary and in North Borneo and Venezuela and everywhere. "
Thank you to my coworker for putting me onto this.
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George Mikes (pronounced Mik-esh) was a Hungarian-born British author best known for his humorous commentaries on various countries.

Mikes graduated in Budapest in 1933 and started work as a journalist on Reggel ("Morning"), a Budapest newspaper. For a short while he wrote a column called Intim Pista for Színházi Élet ("Theatre Life").

In 1938 Mikes became the London correspondent for Reggel and 8 Ó...more
More about George Mikes...
How to Be a Brit How to be decadent How to be poor The Land Of The Rising Yen Switzerland for Beginners

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“Q. Why don't the British panic?
A. They do, but very quietly. It is impossible for the naked eye to tell their panic from their ecstasy.”
1 likes
“Remember: If you go for a walk with a friend in England, don't say a single word for hours; if you go for a walk with your dog, talk to it all the time.” 1 likes
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