Cover Image: Raven Smith’s Trivial Pursuits

Raven Smith’s Trivial Pursuits

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Member Reviews

I know Raven's work through Nowness and his personal instagram where he shares snippets of his articles for Vogue etc. 
He's an interesting content creator and I enjoy his social media presence. I wasn't sure what to expect with his book so I went in with an open mind and read it through. 

Overall it is not for me, the book doesn't say much and feels like extended random thoughts formed by creating metaphors to say one thing over and over again. Some metaphors/similies were funny but it was tiring and hard to pay attention most of the time.
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Witty and snippy, I really enjoyed TRIVIAL PURSUITS. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed as I love reading the author’s journalism and the chapters in the book seemed a little messy, a little more like a stream of consciousness. A chapter would start being about one thing and actually end up being about another. But maybe that is intentional? It is a very clever book and I do look forward to reading more from Raven.
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I tried but just couldnt get into this one. Too much talk and not really saying much. I do wish it was better. 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me the arc in exchange for my honest opinion.
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It’s brilliantly written and so wryly funny. It’s the first book in months that’s made me full on belly laugh (FYI, a risky book if you’re reading while eating lunch.) The book is peppered with cultural references and relatable anecdotes throughout. If you’re big on pop culture (so many song lyrics, and film references cleverly woven throughout the book), you’ll love this. Also, I feel like if you’re of a certain age (or a Millennial) who grew up in the UK it will make you laugh. Early on in the book, Raven makes a (light hearted) reference to being the “voice of a generation”, and I think he hit the nail on the head. 

Genuinely one of the best books I’ve read in ages; feel like it would resonate well with fans of similar writers like Joel Golby. Absolutely loved this, didn’t want it to end. Hope this won’t be Raven’s only book!

I received a copy of this from Netgalley.
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This book has had a lot of hype. The writing wasn't always to my taste - sometimes a little "try-hard" when it comes to being funny - but the essays were original and clever and I'm sure it will be a hit.
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I really struggled with this book.  It sounded great when I read the blurb, and the first page grabbed my attention with its witty sentences.  But, the second page (and the third and …) was a repeat – not of the words, they were different – but of the whole wittiness for the sake of wittiness.  I normally enjoy stream of consciousness, but this was trying too hard.  I was also not in the right mood for inanity – and this book had it in spades.  I got up to 25% and had to stop.  Left it for several months, hoping that when I returned I would be in a better place, to give the book the attention it deserved.  No such luck.  I hate not finishing books, but at 26% I felt I had no choice. 
The author is clearly talented.  Some of his one-liners are superb.  But, a solid mass of one-liners does not make easy reading.  For example, the following quotes all appeared within a couple of pages (it really does not matter what the contexts were):
“You fit with them like O.J. Simpson’s hands in the gloves before he walked to freedom like Nelson Mandela.”
“each one is agony, dragging like a corpse across a carpet of pure friction.”
“I must sound like the Mad Hatter on speed. Memories light the corners of my mind, but the edges are frayed like Vetements jeans as I wring personal narrations from my damp-towel memory.”
If you want a book where you can read a page a day for some light relief – this is a book for you.  But as a novel to read cover to cover, it just did not work for me.
Goodbye, Raven Smith, and I hope other readers are more appreciative of your efforts.
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I'm sorry this really was not for me. I thought it'd be a fun, light read but I found it incredibly irritating. He uses a thousand words where ten would do. I won't share an online review.
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More than ever, a witty and sharp reminder of how trivial things shape our lives. Adored the countless tenuous (and hilarious) pop culture references - could read another whole collection like this.
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I first heard about this book and about Raven Smith on an episode of The Guilty Feminist lockdown podcast, 'The New Normal' with Deborah Frances White (which Raven featured on a later episode). I really enjoyed it. There were some topics within the book that were about really trivial things (as the name suggests) but also some really endearing parts about Raven's feelings about becoming a father in the future and his relationship with his husband. There were some chapters (essays) I liked a lot more than others or could relate to more (as a cis, white female). It was erratic and entertaining and there were lots of parts that I read out to my partner. I loved the constant song lyrics. If you read this you will find some of the most original similes and metaphors you have ever read, sometimes many within one sentence and I'm not sure where else you would find a chapter that covers what his cat (his beautifully ugly son) has for dinner, a discussion of Thatcher and who is the best from the hosts of Queer Eye. Thank you for the review copy!
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Raven Smith is such a wonderful writer. This collection was funny, heart warming, illuminating and just a sheer joy to read.
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Thank you to Net Galley and 4th Estate. 

I thought this book was really funny and witty in parts and some of the essays I enjoyed more than others (What if Jennifer Aniston Isn't sad? being one of my favourites). I did laugh out loud at some of the anecdotes and I enjoyed reading about the Author's relationship with his husband and how it has changed over the course of their relationship. 

That being said, I did struggle to get through the book at times as it seemed to ramble on in parts. I could only digest a few essays at a time and read a few each day.
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This book is not what I expected at all. I thought the book was really funny even though I’m not exactly the target audience. This is full of humour and insight into modern life. I could relate to some experiences such as coming out and being a lonely, confused teenager. I don’t have Instagram and do not understand the obsession with it and think there are more important things in the world as perfect lighting. This was very funny though and hugely entertaining.
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What a book! It was like having a friend chat to me while I sat and listened and enjoyed hearing about all their funny, sarcastic thoughts and observations about life. It's full on, but a wild ride/read that I'd recommend!
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I loved this book; funny, sharp, sarcastic and observationally accurate.

Only dropped a star because the writing style is a bit full on so you have to read just a few chapters at a time.

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This was totally not what I expected and was not really something that I could not come to grips with. I appreciate the humour that threads throughout though. 
There was many funny comments and the author certainly knew how to write and express words in a captivating comical manner.
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I'm honestly not really sure what to make of this book!  I suspect I'm well outside the target audience (too female, too straight, too old, too provincial, too white) so it was a bit like reading an insight into what it means to be young(er) and gay and black and living the high life in hipster-ish London.

Still, Raven Smith is a clever, witty and engaging writer, so makes an excellent guide through his world.  I'm never going to understand Instagram or the need for perfect lighting in my house or the stealing of plates from restaurants visited.  However, I can appreciate the funny way this is all delivered and the endless similes that are at once surprising and fresh and intelligent.  I'm not sure I'm totally there with the pace of the book - it's like a million-mile an hour tour and you have to pay attention for the sudden shifts in focus, but it's all interesting.  Smith himself fears that he is 'too much' for his friends and I can kind of see that - as charming and humorous as he is, I feel like I need a lie down after finishing this!  

I would recommend this book if you want an diverting and fun read.  It touches on serious matters, but the main focus is the endless trivial things that distract us and make up our daily lives.  Raven Smith might be living a different life to me, but there are some very relatable things talked about and I enjoyed this book immensely.
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Surprisingly I really enjoyed this. Something different to my usual read, but once I got into it, I wanted to continue reading. Very apt in the world we live in and humorous with it. Found myself nodding along and agreeing with so many things. 

Thank you NetGalley for my complimentary copy in return for my honest review.
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