Our book of the month for October is How to be a Brit by George Mikes. It is an insightful and hilarious book which takes the reader through a complete guide to the British way of life.

George Mikes was born and educated in Hungary, living there for the first 28 years of his life before moving to London. He originally came to Britain expecting to only stay for two weeks; however he ended up staying here for the rest of his life. During his lifetime he worked at great British media institutions such as the BBC and The Observer newspaper, working in both the English and Hungarian languages. It is from this unique perspective, an outsider who then became completely immersed in British culture, that he wrote this wonderful book. 

 

How to be a Brit Cover

The book contains three of Mikes’ major works – How to be an Alien, How to be Inimitable and How to be Decadent.  When Mikes originally published How to be an Alien in 1946 he was shocked by how warmly it was received by the British public. He had written it as defiant act to point out the ridiculous foibles which were part of the British way of life. However, rather than being offended the British could not help but be amused by his accurate insights and end up laughing at themselves. Although this book was originally published 70 years ago, surprisingly the observations are still relevant to British culture today. An excellent example of this is his point about the British and queueing, where he states “An Englishman, even if he is alone, forms an orderly queue of one”. This has become such a part of British culture that it is viewed as a point of pride how seriously we take queuing. With so many more observations on topics such as the weather, how to be rude and how to panic quietly you will be sure to enjoy reading this book.

For both Britons, and anyone who has ever visited Britain, this book should strike a chord and definitely produce some laughter; if you would like to purchase it then please click here.