Perfect gifts for men with certain names
I hope my return to writing will lead to renewed interest in some entertaining books, the Random Book of… series. Stripe Publishing launched these trivia titles in 2009 with editions for people named Robert, Richard, Paul, Michael, Matthew, Andrew, Christopher, David, James and John.
The original ten trawled through history to take an off-beat look at achievers, deceivers, winners, losers, rulers, spoilers, givers, murderers, funny men and bad men. They included folk in art, entertainment, politics, science, sport — in everything. The humorous series aimed to put a smile on the face of husbands, boyfriends, brothers, uncles, nephews, sons and granddads.
Originally on sale for £9.99, they are beautifully written (well, I wrote The Random Book of John, so I would say that), stylishly designed, and feature illustrations by award-winning Times daily pocket cartoonist, Jonathan Pugh. They won critical acclaim, going straight into Waterstone’s top 40 humour chart after just a week in stores.
A further five books for men called Mark, Peter, Simon (by me), Stephen and Thomas were published in 2012. But the Brighton-based publisher had run into cash flow difficulties. The books were never printed and saw the light of day only as eBooks.
The good news is that the books are still available online, all of them as eBooks and the original ten as secondhand hardbacks.
Even better, I’m in touch with the original publisher who might be interested to revive and revise the titles if there is enough interest.
I’m proud of the John and Simon books. Although they were categorised as “trivia”, the research was rigorous, and I like to think, the writing was top class, with a mixture of humour and pathos.
They still make great reading, and it would be satisfying to see them have a new lease of life.
It was thrilling to get several reviews from real readers on Amazon.co.uk. The first read: “A splendid interesting read about famous and infamous people named John with some excellent stories which make you giggle out loud. A perfect stocking filler for Christmas and it will keep the recipient of the book occupied for hours and hours. Well thought through and a joy to pick up when you have those spare 30 mins to read.”
Making people laugh out loud is exactly what I was trying to achieve.