Miles and Miles: The Selected Writing of Miles Kington

Canelo
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An incomparable collection of wit and wisdom from a master of comic writing

After creating the popular Franglais! series, Miles Kington always had an ambition: to write a book in English as well.

An “endlessly curious and observant hack”, as he described himself, here a gentle wit and wide-ranging intelligence are brought to bear on everything from the curious geography of Jersey to anthropological studies on German prisoners of war; from an interview with the Mona Lisa to why there’s no such thing as a good jazz singer, via an interrogation of Nostradamus.

Originally written for a wide range of publications, these pieces show Kington really letting his hair down, largely on the grounds that he never expected anyone to read them anyway. Together, they form an effervescent collection of light verse, memoir and listicles (yes, he was there first). In Miles and Miles we have a demonstration of a comic master at work, and a testament to the timeless class of one of Britain’s most-loved humorists.

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About the author

Born in County Down, Miles Kington was one of Britain's most renowned and best loved journalists. He grew up in Wales and was educated in Scotland, which was all a big mistake as he was actually English. He wrote for newspapers including Punch, The Times, The Independent and The Oldie, presented for the BBC and was author of the Franglais books amongst many others.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Canelo
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Published on
Aug 22, 2016
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Pages
200
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ISBN
9781910859162
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Humorous / Black Humor
Fiction / Science Fiction / Collections & Anthologies
Humor / Form / Essays
Humor / General
Humor / Topic / Cultural, Ethnic & Regional
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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In this hilarious and moving book, popular English humorist Miles Kington faces cancer and death with his sparkling trademark wit, musing on everything from board games and yodeling to the prospect of being outlived by his dog.

When some people are told they have only a few months to live, they might travel around the world or write their memoirs or put their affairs in order. When it happened at the age of 66 to Miles Kington-one of England's best-loved humorists-he did what he did best, offering sharp, wry, laugh-out-loud observations and ideas about his situation. Following his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, Kington proposes crazier and crazier ideas for his next book (what he calls "cashing in on cancer") in a series of letters to his literary agent, Gill.

And what sort of things capture Kington's attention in his waning months? The sudden grimness of those 1,000 Places to See Before You Die books, for example. (What about 100 Things to Do Before You Die, Without Leaving Home?, he suggests. Instead of bungee jumping and whitewater rafting, learn to whistle with two fingers in your mouth, yodel, or steam open envelopes.) The irony that his dog, Berry, will probably outlive him, or the semi-outrageous idea of creating a funeral video:

The answer is quite simple.

Make a video in advance of my farewell speech, to be shown on a monitor, from the pulpit, or on a screen behind the stage, or wherever the best place would be.

I have already visualised the opening shot.

It is of me, smiling ruefully, and saying to camera: "Hello. I'm sorry I couldn't be here in person with you today."

Mischievous and utterly original, Miles Kington's words in the face of death are memorable and surprisingly uplifting.

A Modest Proposal is a satirical essay written and published by Jonathan Swift. Swift suggests that the impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food for rich gentlemen and ladies. This satirical hyperbole mocks heartless attitudes towards the poor, as well as Irish policy in general. In English writing, the phrase "a modest proposal" is now conventionally an allusion to this style of straight-faced satire. Swift goes to great lengths to support his argument, including a list of possible preparation styles for the children, and calculations showing the financial benefits of his suggestion. He uses methods of argument throughout his essay which lampoon the then-influential William Petty and the social engineering popular among followers of Francis Bacon. These lampoons include appealing to the authority of "a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London" and "the famous Psalmanazar, a native of the island Formosa." This essay is widely held to be one of the greatest examples of sustained irony in the history of the English language. Much of its shock value derives from the fact that the first portion of the essay describes the plight of starving beggars in Ireland, so that the reader is unprepared for the surprise of Swift's solution when he states, "A young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout." Readers unacquainted with its reputation as a satirical work often do not immediately realize that Swift was not seriously proposing cannibalism and infanticide. The satirical element of the pamphlet is often only understood after the reader notes the allusions made by Swift to the attitudes of landlords, such as the following: "I grant this food may be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for Landlords, who as they have already devoured most of the Parents, seem to have the best Title to the Children." Swift extends the conceit to get in a few jibes at England’s mistreatment of Ireland, noting that "For this kind of commodity will not bear exportation, and flesh being of too tender a consistence, to admit a long continuance in salt, although perhaps I could name a country, which would be glad to eat up our whole nation without it."
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