This is my first Tom Cox book but I’ve been following him on various social media sites for a long time and I had a feeling I would enjoy Notebook because I enjoy his musings on so many things from nature to flared trousers and everything in between. I wasn’t wrong. Notebook is an absolute pleasure from start to finish. It has a really calming feel to it and it flows perfectly despite it consisting of seemingly random snippets placed together (although they are curated into chapters of similar material).

It’s a thin volume so it didn’t take very long to read, but it’s chock-full of delightful anecdotes, all taken from notebooks filled by Cox. You could read it slowly, taking it one or two notes at a time, or you could read it in a couple of greedy gulps as I did. I loved the author’s writing style, with a fabulous and eclectic selection of intelligent thoughts and observations, and humorous vignettes. He writes beautifully and with care about his surroundings, the landscape and the animals in and around it, and then swiftly side-steps into an exchange with his father which, without fail, always made me laugh.

To further enthral the reader, the book contains striking illustrations from both of his parents for the first time which makes this into quite the family affair. Notebook is a gorgeous little read. If I could write as eloquently as Tom Cox then I’d be scribbling away all the time but alas the best I can manage is a shopping list. Thankfully, there are collections like this that provide thoughtful and poetic food for the mind. Notebook ought to be available on prescription.

Reviewed by Nicola Smith, Short Book and Scribes

Published by Unbound, March 2021.
Hardback, ISBN 978-1783529728