Title: Lost at Sea
Author: Jon Ronson
Page Count/Review Word Count: 474
I’m pleased to be able to say that I enjoyed this book, because it comes off the back of a few duds and I’m also running out of unread books on my to be read pile, so I’m kind of not surprised when I pick up a dud. That also meant that I possibly enjoyed this one even more than I would have under normal circumstances, but even if that’s the case, I’m not complaining.
I’ve read Jon Ronson before, too. He’s the author of The Psychopath Test, in which he built a name for himself as an investigative journalist with a unique style and dry sense of humour. He actually contrasts his style with the style of one of the journalists that he’d admired when he was growing up and who he later spoke to after the guy falsely confessed to killing his boyfriend.
This one is a lot less of a narrative than The Psychopath Test, which really only looked at the one subject, and I actually found that it worked pretty well. You can think of Lost at Sea as being almost like a series of vignettes on different subject matters, from going behind the scenes at Deal or No Deal to investigating the Alpha Course and checking out competitive eaters.
On the subject of competitive eating, I was delighted to find Ronson writing about Matt Stonie, who was nineteen years old at the time. I’ve been watching Stonie’s YouTube channel for a while now, and despite the fact that YouTube has become increasingly mainstream, I still always find it cool when more traditional media talks about YouTube.
And there’s a bunch of other cool stuff too, which brings us back round to the format of the book. Because it’s essentially a series of articles rather than a whole book about a single subject, you’re bound to find something that takes your fancy even if some of them are more interesting than others. It was also cool to see how many of the stories were about people or things that I’d heard about. For example, there was a piece about the guy who did a series of self-portraits after taking a variety of different drugs.
All in all then, this was a big success for me and I’m not sure what kept me from getting to it sooner. It was a fascinating little read that opened my eyes to a whole bunch of different stuff, even though some of it was just that people are kind of crazy. I’m definitely glad that I got to it, and it’s rekindled my interest in Ronson’s work. Now I want to go read the rest of the books that he has out!