Appreciating Time With Dominic Utton


In the beginning of the year, I made myself a short holiday vacation and took a random book with me as a companion. Martin Harbottle’s Appreciation Of Time by Dominic Utton turned out to be a great book for holidays. It did not load me with information or frustrate. On the contrary, it made me laugh and appreciate the time I spend for home-work commute.

What is this book about? It is a novel reflected in email correspondence by two people. One of them is a journalist who commutes from Oxford to London each day by train. The other person is the Managing Director of the train company. Turns out that the trains of the company who provides trips from Oxford to London and back have a tendency to be late every day from 10 minutes to 30 minutes which drives our journalist friend crazy. Thus, he starts his vindictive plan of letting Martin Harbottle (the Managing Director) know about his sufferings.

This book is one of those “… life gives you lemons, make lemonade” things. It is a story of a shining columnist who is caught up in a hectic work-home situation. Throughout the book, the main character stresses over various stuff happening both at work and home. When trains which suppose to help him to be at work at the right time, make him be late, he burdens his problems on the Managing Director by emailing him about his life. The length of an email depends on the time spent on writing it which corresponds to the time the train was late.

The author of the book is a real-life freelance journalist who publishes his articles for a number of magazines. Guess what, this book is based on real-life events happening with the author himself. He also had problems with commutes and he also annoyed the company administration with his emails containing a critical assessment of the day. All his emails can be read on the blog called Letters to First Great Western.

Although I prefer reading non-fiction books challenging conventional wisdom, this book was a real treat!  The book is written in a very simple and amusing way so the reader could enjoy it while reading. Therefore, you can read up to 50 pages on one sit. It is one of those readings that I categorize as light which means easy to read and enjoy.

If you feel like reading something that will not overload you with information but amuse you, I recommend Martin Harbottle’s Appreciation Of Time. If you go for a vacation or a long trip or feel stressed out, this is a perfect book match for you.

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