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I realised recently that my literary skills were slowly declining. I hadn't read a book in years and thought I'd get myself back into reading again. Slowly at first with this book. Because I need to build them up if I am to write a nobel winning physics paper some day.
After having it for a few months I decided to stop being afraid of the written word and actually give it a good read. It's officially the fastest I've finished a book in ages. I'm a slow reader, it will usually take several weeks to finish even a book I'm interested in. Given, the books I'm interested in are very complicated (a brief history of time) and take quite a lot of mulling to understand.
But I finished this book in just 2 days. Started a few days ago, expecting to get through a few chapters if possible. But ended up reading for hours and hours. This is quite an achievement for a book and me.
---------------------------------- Who is Dave Gorman? ----------------------------------
Quite a question. There are actually 55 well known Dave Gormans. There is the original and the 54 that he found on his search for people who share his name. This is included in another of his books.
This was the first time I ever heard of him on a BBC2 show called "The Dave Gorman Collection" based on the book. He was challenged and he went all over the world and found 54 Dave Gormans. It was intriguing.
I loved his style, like a lecture which was to be taken seriously. He had graphs and everything. The comedy was intertwined with seriousness.
Then there was the Dave Gorman Astrological Challenge. He followed what his horoscope told him to do every single day. Again, he treated this like a serious experiment in a comical fashion. He had measures of happiness and a control experiment to work out how much more happy he was for following his stars.
So I was somewhat of a Dave Gorman fan. I loved his TV work and was very upset that I didn't spot his theatre show (based on "Are you Dave Gorman?") which was in Swindon not so long ago!
I'd never read a book though, so I was afraid. Perhaps his presenting skills, humour and wit were only available as part of his performance. Without the performance, could a book really hold up?
------------------------------------ What is a Googlewhack? ------------------------------------
I was first told about Googlewhack by a professor of physics at Reading University. Rather surprising, she had attempted to find her own googlewhacks, one of which was a very rude word indeed!
A Googlewhack occurs when you type two words into the Google search engine. These words must be contained in dictionary.com. The two words give you only 1 hit, one site that's found. This is a googlewhack. Not 2 sites, not 0 sites, 1 page from 2 words. The site must also not be part of a word list site (like a dictionary or something).
There's an entire site about it. However, once you find the site you are meant to email the person who owns it. "You are a googlewhack".
----------------------- The Premise -----------------------
One must be suspicious that perhaps Dave’s work isn't 100% non-fiction. It all seems too good to be true that all these interesting stories occur to him. Perhaps some exaggeration and tinkering has lead him to his success.
However, the premise of this book is quite simple. Through accident Dave gets challenged once again by his friends. His story tells of how he wanted to be a serious Novelist and had just gotten a deal when this accidentally fell into his hands.
From reading, you can guess that the first part is written before he got any funding or decided to put it into a book. But from then on you can tell he was carrying on in order to put it all in this book.
His challenge is set due to a couple of coincidences. Someone emailed him telling him he was a googlewhack. He then found a few googlewhacks himself and emailed them.
He became friends with one of these people, his friend then found a couple of googlewhacks after a while. That's when things got strange, the googlewhack was a site that belonged to David Gorman.
Not THE Dave Gorman, but A Dave Gorman that Dave Gorman had met while looking for people with the same name.
The challenge is then set "I bet you can't create a chain of 10 googlewhacks. Each person in the chain, gets 2 more Googlewhacks, then emails those people. You go and meet each link in the chain and explain to them what they must do."
And so an international adventure begins. Dave (our Dave) travels all over the world finding some weird and wonderful people. He has to track down the owners of sites given to him by his whackers. He makes new friends and some acquaintances along the way.
The book is written telling us about every step of the journey. How he came to rise to the challenge and his life around the challenge. He gets a bit personal at times and generally gives us a detailed picture of what's going on.
I was wrong about the book. I thought it would be impossible to recreate the humour in writing, but it works just as well. His style is fantastic.
I can imagine almost being by his side during his journeys. I can imagine what the people he talks to look like, sound like, act like. How he was feeling. It's brilliantly described.
My dad was wondering why he could hear me laughing in my room. No TV was on or anything! Of course, I was laughing at this book. Which does make you laugh out loud. Something that no book to my recollection has ever made me do. It is very funny.
His vocabulary vastly exceeds mine. It's written in a very intelligent manner which I admire.
It's almost as if you're at a dinner party with Dave and he's telling you all his anecdotes in a big long trail of strange happenings and amusing stories .
Though the detail does tend to tail off towards the end of the adventure. You start learning less and less about the 'whacks and the pace speeds up considerably.
One assumes that the chapter on China (read it to find out) was done to purposely amuse and annoy the reader. It is incredibly funny, however I would have rather he done it more in keeping with the style of the rest of the book. It was rather unfair to the reader!