Book Review

Book Review: 21st Century Dodos by Steve Stack.

21stCenturyDodosWelcome to a nostalgic and sometimes irreverent trip down memory lane.

21st Century Dodos is a catalogue of well over 100 objects, traditions, cultural icons and, well, other stuff that is at risk of extinction. Some of which have vanished already.

Come inside and bid a fond farewell to cassette tapes, Concorde, handwritten letters, typewriters, white dog poo and many, many more.

I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, something I always feel bad about, so when the publisher contacted me and asked me to consider 21st Century Dodos I jumped at the chance. I like funny non-fiction books that I can dip in and out of so this looked like it could be a good match for me. The only slight concern I had was my age – I’m in my early 30s so whilst I expected I would be able to identify with a good proportion of the Dodos in the book there were likely to be plenty that had reached or nearly reached extinction before I’d had the chance to become aware of them.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that actually I was familiar with the vast majority of the Dodos in the book, and those that I didn’t have first hand experience of were all things I’d heard about from family members. I was amused to find that a number of the more recent Dodos either still exist to some extent or have only recently disappeared from the sleepy corner of rural Worcestershire I currently call home.

The book itself is divided into 10 sections, each collecting together Dodos on a similar theme e.g. In the home, On the high street. The paperback edition I had to review is a “New and improved” edition with the addition of a section called Reader’s Dodos – all things that had been suggested by readers of the first edition. I liked the structure a lot, when I came to a new section I found myself wondering whether certain things would be included in it and was then pleased each time to discover that they were.

I had fully intended to dip in and out of this book, but after reading the first few entries in the first section I switched to reading it in an entirely linear manner – not wanting to risk missing out on any of the entries. I picked it up whenever I had a few minutes to fill, each time planning to read the next two or three entries before finding I’d read another ten or fifteen.

This book is a wonderful slice of nostalgia, I think any reader will find lots to enjoy. I particularly liked the entries on technological things which tend to offer a more detailed overview of how the various technologies evolved and died out. I’m going to be passing my copy on to a couple of family members I know will love this book, I think a couple of people may also get it as a present in the next few months.

21st Century Dodos is published by The Friday Project. Whilst I was provided with a copy of the book by the publisher all opinions expressed are my own.

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