Book Review: Guy Rundle’s Practice: Journalism, Essays and Criticism is a distillation of wit and writing

Practice. Journalism, Essays and Criticism collects and distills the writings of journalist Guy Rundle. An intricate, clever yet funny, and mostly convincing take on all the big politicians, and some sordid Americans along the way, Practice is compiled from his work for Crikey, and various magazines and newspapers, over the years. Opinions on topics ranging from Australian politics, American politics, hot dog competitions, Pauline Hanson and Kurt Cobain are all contained within its covers. Nothing, it seems, is off-limits in this book. 

The collection is divided into nine chapters, and is full of Rundle’s trademark razor-sharp wit and humour, highlighting at times the influence of gonzo journalism on his work. The section, “Melbourne Interstitial”, having once lived in the city was something of an interesting trip down memory lane, with his quips for every town or suburb along the way. Though despite the overall humour of the collection, Practice, is not without its moments of sadness. The chapter, “Soho”, for example, was striking for its tale of urban decay and the story of its residents. 

But, it is Rundle’s wit and humour that shines through strongest, and I found there were several laugh out loud moments, including sections dealing with “Poor Pauline” Hanson fans, as well as stories and anecdotes featuring the likes of John Clarke, John Howard, Robert Hughes and more. It also provided quite a few moments of personal reflection, bringing memories of cultural highlights from my past, especially with the discussions of Glen Campbell and Kurt Cobain. 

Thought-provoking, comprehensive and full of humour, Practice is a book for the sharp-witted who aren’t afraid to see if the world a little bit differently. 

THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Guy Rundle’s Practice: Journalism, Essays and Criticism is available now from Black Inc. Books

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