23 November 2020

Review: The Ultimate Bucket List - 50 Buckets You Must See Before You Die by Dixe Wills

The Ultimate Bucket List - 50 Buckets You Must See Before You Die by Dixe Wills book cover
* Copy courtesy of Allen & Unwin *

I'm so confused by this book, I hardly know where to begin. Regular readers at Carpe Librum will know I enjoy reading a variety of non-fiction titles and was looking forward to reading The Ultimate Bucket List - 50 Buckets You Must See Before You Die by Dixe Wills for Non Fiction November.

I thought this book would act as an interesting vessel for a bucketload of information on some very interesting historic moments, events, people and innovations. Having turned the last page of this beautiful little hardback, I don't actually know what I just read.

At first, I was constantly checking Wikipedia to find out whether the bucket entries were real or imagined. With entries varying from the Bobrinski Bucket (a fascinating bronze bucket made in 1163 and mentioned on page 65) to the Bucket Fountain in New Zealand (a real and ugly fountain on page 136) to the head scratching entry of Taylor Swift's Bucket on page 105. (What was that all about?)

Some of the subject matter was obscure and made references and in-jokes that went way over my head. Simultaneously, the book is also full of silly offbeat humour and imagined dialogue, accompanied by comic illustrations making light of the topic and I couldn't work out whether the author was 'taking the piss' or using comic relief to make the subject matter less intimidating or more approachable. It was thoroughly confusing.

Is this satire? Is it a toilet joke book? I'm not sure what it was, but as a reader I was disappointed. The author was clearly well researched and provided a list of 50 buckets from all walks of life and periods in history. I found that I was frequently putting the book down to fact check when the author could easily have supplied adequate details to satisfy the reader's genuine curiosity. It's hard to imagine the reader who will understand all of the 50 entries provided without some serious Googling.

If Dixe Wills had written a serious book about the subject matter, with photographs - instead of crazy illustrations reminiscent of Quentin Blake - The Ultimate Bucket List could have been a 5 star read.

You can seize this book at Booktopia.



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