Despite its front cover, this book is not all about cars, though they have their place. Nor, despite the numerous illustrations, is it all about books. But, in Read While you Wait: Meandering through the Media, Patrick Coyne certainly spends part of his time exploring books, authors, journalists, and the media generally, since the column on which the book is based – Slightly Serious – was originally published in WRITE NOW, the journal of the South African Writers’ Circle. However, the other attraction of this book is its repeated linking with the current news of the day, the major events of each year being listed and often commented on.
As the title hints, the book is aimed at busy people who need a bite-sized read while at a meal, or waiting for a plane, or even actually in a plane. For each chapter can be read and appreciated in a conveniently short time. Besides the topics already mentioned, the author manages to include snippets from his own life and experiences, with many comments that are humorous, or even ‘slightly serious’ when necessary.
Patrick Coyne’s style is often light-hearted, always easy to read, and impressive in its mastery of the use of the English language, which he loves.
Patrick Coyne is developing a following among newspaper readers in KwaZulu-Natal, including those who read The Independent on Saturday. The author has on occasion generously offered us several well researched articles, often linked to historical events and personalities, that we have been pleased to publish.
One of the more popular offerings in The Independent On Saturday is a weekly feature titled Then and Now that contrasts a photograph taken of Durban in the old days with the modern day equivalent in the same location.
It shows that readers have an appreciation of history. I believe Patrick’s writing does much the same, describing events or personalities whose actions are worth recording, and puts them into context for the modern reader.
He may have retired from teaching but he is still educating readers, and doing so in a well-written and in a light-hearted way.
This is the second volume of Slightly Serious extracts, which aims at amusing busy people with intriguing stories and short snippets on a wide range of topics. I am sure readers will find it interesting, amusing and thought-provoking.
Editor The Independent on Saturday
The book will be available from bookshops at a recommended retail price of R180. It is also available direct from the author at an ‘SAWC member special price’ of R160 plus P & P.
Pat Coyne‘s e-mail: voicepi @mweb.co.za