147 Things – Jim Chapman

Published by Pan Macmillan, December 2017
Source: NetGalley
In 147 Things, Jim takes us on a whistle-stop tour of the best bits of everything, from the mind-blowing to the ridiculous. As with his videos, no subject is off-limits and he’ll lift the lid on his life and his relationships, sharing embarrassing stories and things he’s learnt along the way. If you’ve ever felt weirded out by the fact we’re seven billion (mostly) hairless apes spinning around a giant ball of flaming gas, or that we all begin as tiny humans INSIDE our mothers, or that many of us keep slightly-less-dangerous wolves in our homes, then you need this book in your life. Jim wants to inspire you with the sheer unlikelihood of us all being here and equip you to feel just a little less overwhelmed by the small stuff.

Ah, Jim. Regularly appearing on the telly in our house due to my daughter’s love of watching Zoella and Alfie on YouTube, I found myself watching more when Jim was on. I do like Jim. He seems like a thoroughly nice chap, the kind of guy you would quite happily spend an hour chatting to in the pub over a beer. You’d probably end up talking about some of the things in his book.

I really enjoyed 147 Things. They’re a slightly odd, eclectic mix ranging from quantum physics, to life (and death), the universe, lobsters, and why not to try and wax your gentleman’s parts. This was painfully funny. Funny for me, painful for Jim. Poor Jim. He also talks about animals, bodies, fears, myths, urban legends and a whole host of other stuff.

Dotted amongst the science-y bits, Jim also tells us about some more personal things – how he met his wife (another of my daughter’s favourites, and whose cookery book sits on our shelves. Tanya Burr’s cookbook is also really quite good and we’ve had some excellent cakes as a result. I digress), stories about his first love, his family and so on. It’s a bit hard to work out the target audience – his younger YouTube fans (such as my daughter) would love to read about some of the personal stuff, but might balk at some of the more serious science, even with Jim’s down-to-earth, chatty style.

It’s that writing style that I really liked – it does feel a bit like your mate telling you stuff that he’s just found out which you might find interesting. And some, indeed most, of Jim’s 147 Things are genuinely interesting.

Great fun. Not my usual genre (I’ve never read a book by a YouTuber before), but an entertaining way to pass a couple of hours. Jim, if you ever fancy a pint and someone to tell some more things to, give me a shout.

Author: dave

Book reviewer, occasional writer, photographer, coffee-lover, cyclist, spoon carver and stationery geek.

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