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21st-Century Yokel

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  404 ratings  ·  78 reviews
21st-Century Yokel explores the way we can be tied inescapably to landscape, whether we like it or not, often through our family and our past. It’s not quite a nature book, not quite a humour book, not quite a family memoir, not quite folklore, not quite social history, not quite a collection of essays, but a bit of all six.

It contains owls, badgers, ponies, beavers,
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published November 16th 2017 by Unbound
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Oct 30, 2019 rated it liked it
It mortifies me to admit that I might prefer Tom Cox's more mainstream, commercially viable writing about cats to his indie outings, but I had to renew 21st-Century Yokel three times at the library to finish it. Three.

This is definitely a case of 'it's not you, it's me' - I picked this up at the start of my busiest fieldwork season and have been too tired at night, when I usually read, to do anything but peruse BuzzFeed cat articles. I'm also not the ideal audience for a book about intimate
The facets that make up our character are drawn from many sources; our DNA, our family, our culture, our history and as Tom Cox argues in this book, the places where you grow up that can define you as much as these other things. The way that Cox recommends that immerse yourself in the local landscape is to walk through the lanes and paths, climb the hills and the stiles, take in the views and soak up the natural world at walking pace.

The blurb on the cover says: It’s not quite a nature book,
Apr 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: landscape

I enjoyed spending time with Tom and his family. I'm using his first name already!
And that's what this book felt like - a series of conversations about Tom's World.
And I have to say his world can sometimes be a little strange (scarecrow obsession?) but always very entertaining. In lesser hands a book such as this could become mere ramblings, but with Tom we usually see where he is going - even though his thoughts twist and turn.

I loved the mixture of personal memoir, local history, nature and
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Finishing this books feels like saying farewell to a friend. I've really enjoyed Tom sharing his world with me, he's made me think differently as well as recognsing similar views to my own on nature, the sea, folk horror and the love of grandmothers. An uplifitng and delightful book.
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blogtour
Well what can I tell you about this terrific book, except that I absolutely loved it and that I’ve discovered a new favourite author. Just thinking about writing this review is making me smile as I remember some of the anecdotes. Fortunately I’d recently stocked up on new post -it notes so I could mark all the parts that made me think, laugh out loud and smile as I was reading.

There are so many great stories in this wonderful collection and here are some of my favourites. His recollection of his
Breakaway Reviewers
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
21st Century Yokel - Lovely Man

I first came across Tom Cox when a friend alerted me to one of his Twitter feeds - My Sad Cat. I had a black cat at the time called Puzzle and my friend saw some kind of similarity between them, although now I would say that Puzzle was a composite of both The Bear and Shipley, another black cat that Tom had at the time. The puzzle was an existentialist potty mouth and could silence anyone with a look! But I followed the feed and immensely enjoyed the photos and
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
As a huge fan of Tom Cox’s writing I helped fund this book to be published. However, he had said that this was going to be different from what had gone before because it was the book he had always wanted to write, free from the restrictions put on him by publishers. So I was curious to see whether I would love it as much as the others I’d read. The answer is yes, and even more so. There’s a real mix of subject matter and the style is rambling, like listening to an old friend tell you their ...more
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Reading 21st Century Yokel is like going for a long rambling walk with Tom Cox, chatting all the way. He is a lover of landscape and place, taking us around places where he has lived and walked from the Peak District to his current home on the edge of Dartmoor, digressing on the way about the local folklore and wildlife, his cats and his somewhat eclectic taste in music. His anecdotes about his family often steal the stage though, particularly his father, who is larger (and louder) than life. ...more
Mar 22, 2019 marked it as maybe
"For a long time, lots of people told me I shouldn't write this book - which is about wildlife, landscape, family, folklore, but much more - & that it was unpublishable, & unsellable. It's out in paperback today."
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
A collection of long essays, that like Tom, ramble around before reaching a conclusion. I enjoyed it, but not quite as much as his cat books.
This is miles better than Cox’s earlier memoirs about his cats. Never fear, there are still mentions of his many feline companions, but there’s so much more to this hybrid book: the landscape and wildlife of the British places he knows best (Nottinghamshire, Norfolk and Devon), local folklore and superstitions, the distancing effect of technology, his family history, and so on.

Looking back now, I have a hard time summing up what these long essays are actually about, because they are suitably
The Literary Shed

We’re great Tom Cox fans. We love him, in fact. He first came into our lives on Twitter, when we, like many, many others, followed the hilarious, poignant and sometimes quite daft escapades of his feline friends. This essay collection, 21st-Century Yokel, is, in fact, dedicated to two of them, his (and our) beloved The Bear and Shipley, both no longer with us.

As with Cox’s other books, the wide-ranging essays in 21st-Century Yokel showcase the conversational style which makes his writing so
M. Langlinais
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Mr. Cox is a modern-day bard with a unique voice. It may not be for everyone, but I sure enjoy it.
Emma Wood
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Listened to the audio book read by Tom Cox. I didn't love chapter one too wordy for me but after that it was great. I loved hearing all the family stories, stories about places, animal, insects and birds stories and general reminisce. Its like having a marvellous conversation with an old friend about everything and nothing where at the end you feel genuinely happy.
Highlights included: learning the Irish phrase for the bits of black bin liner that snag on barbed wire - 'witches' knickers'

And ‘the sun went down…like a party balloon losing the friction that had attached it to a wall and gently falling to rest behind a squishy sofa’

And, best of all, ‘"My mind is heavy and troubled today,” you’ll say to the sea. “Properly stare at me for a moment and get a grip on yourself,” the sea will reply. “Do I honestly look like I care? I’m the fucking sea”’
Loved this second time round but as a library audiobook. Really enjoyed his interview at the end especially when he said he loves audiobooks and really enjoyed reading his own book! :-)
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was the first audiobook I have heard by Tom Cox, and I wasn't really sure what to expect. Initially I thought it might have been a mistake to have it narrated by the author (4 words that can strike fear into the heart of any audiobook enthusiast, unless followed by 'Neil Gaiman'). But as I settled into the book I found Tom's narration quite endearing, and doubt that it would have felt as personal a memoir if delivered by anyone else. His habit of repeating phrases irked me a little at first ...more
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
A thoroughly enjoyable memoir-ish collection of essays that exist at the intersection of the British countryside, cats, the author's endlessly amusing family (especially his dad), and lots and lots of walking. I got to know Cox's writing through his My Sad Cat Twitter feed and his social media presence (especially the instagram pictures he takes on his long walks) is all extremely enjoyable. This book proves that he is just as enjoyable in long form, even when he isn't writing more exclusively ...more
Jul 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Rather directionless - discursive if you want to be kind, or rambling if less so, which I realise was the point of the book but it didn't work for me, as I frequently found I'd lost the thread of the narrative. The chapter about Mr Cox Senior was wicked funny though.
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The book is made up of 10 chapters, each having their own theme and tale, but somehow connecting through common themes - Tom's love of the countryside, wildlife, and his wonderful eclectic family... and of course his cats. I can't give you a story-line, a twist, a denouement... that's not this sort of book. Tom gives you a gleeful insight into his mind, his life, his take on the world. You can't categorise Tom's books into a specific genre, and they're all the better for it. This book is at once ...more
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely jumped at the chance to take part in the blog tour for21st Century Yokel, I've heard many wonderful things about it and I thoroughly enjoyed Tom's short story collectionHelp the Witchwhich I reviewed towards the end of last year. So as I've been wanting to read it for such a long time, this seemed an opportunity too good to miss. I absolutely adore the way Tom writes. I follow him on Twitter, Instagram and via his website. He comes across as funny and sensitive but with such a wise ...more
Rachel Bridgeman
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: march-2019
Who could not love a book that has a chapter called ‘Witches Knickers’?

Tom Cox regularly lights up my life with his art and musings on Twitter so getting the chance to read his newest book whilst travelling the length and breadth of Wales was an absolute must.

Interspersed with balck and white illustrations throughout, anecdotes, ramblings and history, reading this is like going on a super long ramble with one of your best friends!

‘I am not better than a bat because I am able to watch Netflix and
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Tis the first book I've read to which publication I've contributed via Unbound, even if in just a small way. I've listened to albums and viewed art I helped finance (again, usually in just a small way), but this is still a first. Gotta admit, it was a tiny bit heartwarming seeing one's name among the many many others at the end of the book.

Unlike Tom's cat books, 21st-Century Yokel is more thematically varied, basically a collection of essays. Some I found I pretty much hoovered up, some
Isla Scott
I found this a humorous and amusing read. Its insightful and a good sort of escapist, holiday read. His family, particularly his father, seem quite quirky and I enjoyed getting to know them via his writing. His father is particularly entertaining with the various, often curse filled outbursts noted IN CAPITAL LETTERS. He certainly seems both amusingly delightful and eccentric. I enjoyed reading the various anecdotes, getting to know various landscapes the author has enjoyed exploring, as well as ...more
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable, quirky collection of well-written essays - Tom's life, family, nature, landscape, part memoir. It is not a conventional book, which is why, probably, it is published by "Unbound", which has a subscription-based model (think 18th and 19th century publishing: people chip in, get their names in the back, and the author gets a better % of the profit if there is one). I was reading the physical hardback version which is very professionally produced, looks good in every way and not at ...more
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
21st-Century Yokel is hard to classify - part nature writing, part comic memoir, part travelogue - but is nevertheless completely entertaining. Tom Cox has an eye for the absurd as much as for the glories of the natural world and there are plenty of good jokes in this book. A great walker, Cox unfolds his narrative with the sort of rhythm a favourite hiking companion would use in sharing some favourite stories on a good long walk, and has a well-tuned sense of the innate eeriness of the English ...more
Catherine Mason
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Reading Tom Cox is like making a new friend. I have already read his cat books (which are also about more than cats), and enjoyed them so much that I gave my support, along with many others, to the publishing of this book. It covers nature, animals, family and is also very funny on occasion. I decided to read it when I had a cold because I knew I would have a lot of downtime so I could give it the attention it deserved. I was not disappointed. I didn't want it to end, but sadly it has but I ...more
Louise Coquio
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love Tom Cox's writing and was really looking forward to this book. It didn't disappoint. I particularly loved reading about the East Anglian coast, with its spooky atmosphere, as this is somewhere I'm currently writing about myself. His prose is effortlessly entertaining, not least in his affectionate descriptions of his family and friends. Here poignant memories of his grandparents mingle with sections about his Dad that caused some particularly unattractive snorting on my part. I can't wait ...more
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
This is the sort of books that can make urbanbound citykids like myself dream of a small cottage out in the country with my own beehives and carrots. Why reading about a 40 year old englishman walking in the country can be such a fun pasttime, I don't know, but it is. The chapter World Turned Upside Down was definitely my favourite. Being the sort to get genuinly upset by the death of insects and how easily people disregard them as unworthy of life, it felt good to see I am not the only weirdo ...more
Rachel Mills
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Tom is a new breed of nature writer. He writes passionately about his relationship with local landscapes, his enthusiasm and curiosity is infectious. I found this book an addictive read. Really enjoyed the way he entwines a mixture of folklore, personal anecdotes about his family and cats with descriptions of nature. This book was a comforting and grounding read. Looking forward to discovering more of his writing and joining him on more of his slightly eccentric meanderings through life in the ...more
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