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Penguins Stopped Play: Eleven Village Cricketers Take on the World

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  871 Ratings  ·  92 Reviews
It seemed a simple enough idea at the outset: to assemble a team of eleven men to play cricket on each of the seven continents of the globe. Except...that's not a simple idea at all. And when you throw in incompetent airline officials, cunning Bajan drug dealers, overzealous American anti-terrorist police, idiotic Welshmen dressed as Santa Claus and whole armies of pitch-i ...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Ulverscroft (first published 2006)
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Darkpool (protesting GR censorship)
Feb 20, 2011 Darkpool (protesting GR censorship) rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Gill, lovers of cricket
I'm so sad I finished this book. I just loved it. I loved the type of humour, the style of writing, and above all I loved the subject matter. I don't believe that anyone not fluent in cricket would enjoy this book half so much.
As I drove back and forth to work over the last few weeks with this audiobook chuntering away in the CD player, I often found myself hooting with laughter. It was just as well I didn't have a paper copy, as I'm sure I would have been unable to resist carrying it with me s
Steve Mitchell
Jul 25, 2011 Steve Mitchell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cricket
This is one of the funniest books that I have ever read; but it also has some parts that raise other emotions. Some of the reviewers have mentioned that you do not need to know anything about cricket to enjoy this book, and although this is probably true, a slight understanding of the game would be a benefit. A more essential experience would be ever trying to organise an event with a group of friends: a stag night, a group holiday or even a works outing all seem simple but the number of things ...more
Diptakirti Chaudhuri
An utterly delightful book, about the (mis)adventures of a gang of English cricketers who went on the seemingly hare-brained mission to play cricket on every continent in the world.
It is part sports commentary, part humour and part travelogue as you slowly warm up to the rag-tag team, then get angry with them and then cheer them on with a fair degree of exasperation.
The droll humour stays intact right through as the book ends on an unexpected note. And gives you that fleeting glimmer of hope th
Phil Mc
Dec 29, 2011 Phil Mc rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Greater than the sum of its parts and the closest a book has ever brought me to crying. One of the best sports books ever written.

This is part travelogue, part memoir of a village cricketer and part world record attempt handbook. It excels when describing and discussing that most writable of sports, cricket; however, in describing the colourful characters and cities that Thompson encountered it is no less impressive. The fact that it is factual belies the wonderful narrative of Thompson’s cricke
Suhel Banerjee
Jun 04, 2017 Suhel Banerjee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is about cricket, yes, but primarily about humor. You will roll on the floor laughing without knowing almost anything about cricket, and if you know enough you will be chuckling a little more at the odd inside joke here or there. And that is the hallmark of a good sports book, the novice is equally enamored as is the connoisseur.

Harry Thompson started a village cricket team back in his school days, and all they did was lose. Miserably. Intentionally, and otherwise. Two decades of crushing
Jul 12, 2017 Neeran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful book describing the travels and travails of an English village cricket team. I've posted a more detailed review here:
Jan 18, 2012 Nathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author was an amateur cricketer and a writer of TV comedy. The book is his memoir of his cricket team, focused upon an all-continent tour taken by his team, playing a game at every stop. This book was laugh-out-loud funny at many points, but much of the humour would be lost on non-cricket fans. I suspect that some of the anecdotes are made up, and certain that others are exaggerated, but I'll forgive that. Thompson had a real issue with British Airways, and I really liked his account of thei ...more
Stephen Wallace
Mar 30, 2009 Stephen Wallace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has the ability to make you look very silly as you stifle a smirk on the bus so that people will not think you are mad - while reading on another joke makes you try and stifle the urge to laugh out loud causing snot to shoot from one's nose, making you look extemely silly!

Great book, heart renching ending - even though it's the second time I have read this I laughed heartily and cried miserably once again.

I would recommend this to everyone who has a sense of humour, even if the subje
Gary Bonn
Dec 22, 2015 Gary Bonn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five stars? I shock myself. Let me explain. First, it has one of the most outstanding and memorable openings I've ever read. (Seriously - I rate it as good as the first paragraph of Titus Groan.) Second, it is a non-fiction account regarding a sport I neither understand nor like. However, the book is also about the people, the mad adventures they get up to, the triumphs and tragedies - and about sheer endurance and enthusiasm in the face tribulation and frequent disasters. I love this book! and ...more
Mar 01, 2010 Bettie☯ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: BBC7 listeners
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jo Woolfardis
[Short review from memory until I re-read and re-review at a later date:

I truly loved this book and it was so devastating at the end, but I can remember little of it, I think because it's not a novel but a story, really. It might take a while to re-read, though D: Sadness.]
Jun 20, 2012 Carmie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it, if you love cricket you'll love this. Or even if you don't. It's very funny.
Apr 11, 2011 Bambola rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh I just loved, loved, loved this book. Laugh out loud funny in many places (but you have to be a cricket fan to appreciate it properly) but with the absolute saddest ending.
Andy Turner
Jun 08, 2017 Andy Turner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story although based on the craziness of sport in general and amateur team sports in particular, is more about travelling and characters. It ends with an emotional reflection on the life of someone that fell in love with the game of cricket despite not being very good at it, and whom had a jolly time and a lot of experiences travelling the world playing it as a hobby and leading a team of characters some of which took the game more seriously than others and some of whom deliberately try to l ...more
Jul 20, 2017 Alan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book about travel, cricket and the difficulty of finding like minded people.
A funny book with a few wonderful characters and some real miserable or downright horrible ones (Yes Greg I mean you). You have to admire Harry as for many, many years he was a part of a cricket team full of frankly a-holes who didn't want to win and to me sucked all the joy out of the game. But Harry soldiered on and then he got a better bunch of players and they team even started to win some games. Harry used some of
Helen Roper
May 18, 2017 Helen Roper rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is the literary equaliavent of getting stuck in the corner of a pub with a drunk stranger repeatedly telling you "hilarious" tales of their cricketing endeavour. The characters all obnoxious and the name dropping of (now) middle aged Oxford toffs is tedious. Not for me
I wouldn't exactly call myself a cricket fan as such, but it's a game I do have some experience of. I was at school with Minal Patel, who had a long career as a professional with Kent and even won a few England caps. My old hockey club was based at a cricket club where Middlesex played occasionally and I once found myself at the bar discussing the football results with former England captain Mike Gatting. I even played a game once, getting out for 0 when batting before getting heatstroke in the ...more
Oct 01, 2014 Venky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bibliocase
One book which perfectly fits the category of the aforementioned quote of the genius is the memorable “Penguins Stopped Play – eleven village cricketers take on the world” by the late Harry Thompson. Remarkably hilarious and laced with an irrepressible sense of wit and wisdom, this is one work which every book lover in general and a lover of cricket in particular would savour to the hilt.
A motley crew of also-rans deprived from experiencing the exhilaration of playing the pristine gentleman’s ga
Clare O'Beara
This is a thoroughly entertaining travelogue about a village cricket team, optimistically called the Captain Scott XI. Having played up and down England and adventured to a few other countries, they decide to play their way around the world.

Harry Thompson captains the team and has played in Antarctica when he happened to be there, so he sets out to be the first person to play cricket on all seven continents. Taking a long New Year break he and the team head off on appallingly mismanaged flights
Anal Ghosh
Sep 01, 2014 Anal Ghosh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A group of comic village cricketers go around the world just for the kick of having played the game in every continent. The result is an extremely funny book, especially when written by a British journalist full of dry wit and sarcasm. The first half of the book is all about Captain Scott XI coming to existence, but the second half really takes off as the eclectic bunch traverse the globe in 3 weeks with one hilarious turn of event leading to another. And just when you thought their histrionics ...more
Apr 17, 2011 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Comic travelogue/memoir about a very poor village cricket team's attempt to play cricket on every continent in the world. The author, Harry Thompson, writes in a very funny and breezy style so it is a shock to read in the postscript that he wrote this book while suffering from inoperable lung cancer. The afterword is even sadder as it is written by Thompson's wife shortly after his death.

There are a few annoying anti-American cracks sprinkled throughout but the author saves most of his venom for
Aug 02, 2013 Jakeisthecoolest rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to a say I bought this book for its travel aspect rather than the cricket. I was not disappointed. While a cursory understanding of cricket helps I'm sure, my lack of interest in the sport in no way stopped me enjoying what is an often hilarious and interesting journey around the world and through Thompson's cricketing life. In addition i bought the book for my brother-in-law who is a cricket junkie, and he loved it just as much as me. Filled with colourful characters and interesting loca ...more
Jul 29, 2008 Marie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recently-read
As much as I enjoyed the book, I can't say 'I really liked it'. While the concept was appealing, many of the events engaging and the people diverse and interesting, I struggled with the descriptions of some of the cricket matches - purely because I don't find the sport too interesting. The author was extremely personable, amusing, self-deprecating and very human. His style was very readable. It's a cut above most of the other 'Let's Make a Crazy Bet in the Pub and See if we Can Get a TV Series a ...more
Aug 29, 2013 Ravinder rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kynd
a book for all cricket lovers no doubt. I believe that those of us who have played the game at any level, aiming to win, but faced with middle order batting collapses, were left chewing our nails, or tearing hair off our heads, will relate very well to it.

Written with dollops of humour, the book covers the journey of the Captain Scott Cricket team on their around the world in 3 weeks. Madcap adventures abound. Most of it outside the Cricket field.

All kinds of emotions are laid out for the reader
Suleman Ali
May 23, 2013 Suleman Ali rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour
Fun and enjoyable 'memoir' of Harry Thompson and his amatuer cricket playing tours.

You follow the troubled cricket tours which take Harry Thompson around the world with his amateur cricket buddies. Luckily for the reader, pretty much every tour comes unstuck due to his fellow travellers, the poor planning of the locals or, as as often the case with cricket, the weather.

For cricketing fans there is plenty to enjoy, with the various characters being ones any local amatuer team would recognise in t
Jan 24, 2011 Felicity rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My (grown-up) children looked on aghast as their mother snorted and wept, holding her aching sides - and this was just the 1st chapter..and I'm not exactly a cricket aficionado ...
Try his other book "This thing of Darkness" - another stunning and , at times, funny nbook, this time about Fitzroy, he who later fought for a weather forecast service. His voyages to Tierra del Fuego, the dealings with the indigenous people's...indelible in my memory.
But if it's another side-splitting read you're afte
Sep 15, 2008 Batz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
struggling for motivation with this, despite theme of average bozos using cricket as a vehicle for adventure, something close to my heart. too much cricket and smarty pants writing and not enough adventure. maybe just the fact that english cricket and those who play it are pretty i finished it, and it does come home poignantly, most particularly as the author a man with zest and an interest in the world and its inhabitants (SPOILER!!)dies not long after finishing the book - 3.5/5
Samuel Nouvellon
One of the funniest books I have read in a long while. Some knowledge (and interest) of cricket is required, as there are many references to the game and its history.

However, this is not a book purely about cricket: it is as much about people and their behaviour as it is about silliness on the cricket field. A hilarious book filled with cracking anecdotes that manages to be both intelligent and touching in its quieter moments. It finishes on a sad note which caught me very much by surprise.
Jan 25, 2015 William rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really like cricket and this book does not disappoint. Wonderfully funny it is about a team of eleven village cricketers playing on all seven continents of the globe. It is not all about cricket with the team doing very silly things while playing the cricket. The ending is written by the writers wife as he dies with lung cancer at the end. It was written in 2005. One of the cricketers dies at the end.
Nov 01, 2016 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For most of this book, I felt a little let down. While certainly amusing in parts, it wasn't anywhere near as funny as I had been lead to believe by the friend who recommended it, or by the dustcover reviews.

Then I reached the postscript and afterword, which made me unexpectedly emotional. I finished the book mulling over the nature of fun, friendship, travel and a love of cricket.
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Harry William Thompson was an English radio and television producer, comedy writer, novelist and biographer. Early in his career Thompson produced the radio comedy programmes The News Quiz and The Mary Whitehouse Experience. Following his move into television, he produced Newman and Baddiel in Pieces, Harry Enfield and Chums and Monkey Dust, and co-produced Never Mind The Buzzcocks. In 1998 he was ...more
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