Hot Best Seller

The Ascent Of Rum Doodle (Vintage Classics)

Availability: Ready to download

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY BILL BRYSON An outrageously funny spoof about the ascent of a 40,000-and-a-half-foot peak, The Ascent of Rum Doodle has been a cult favourite since its publication in 1956. Led by the reliably under-insightful Binder, a team of seven British men including Dr Prone (constantly ill); Jungle the route finder (constantly lost), Constant the diplomat WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY BILL BRYSON An outrageously funny spoof about the ascent of a 40,000-and-a-half-foot peak, The Ascent of Rum Doodle has been a cult favourite since its publication in 1956. Led by the reliably under-insightful Binder, a team of seven British men including Dr Prone (constantly ill); Jungle the route finder (constantly lost), Constant the diplomat (constantly arguing) and 3,000 Yogistani porters, set out to conquer the highest peak in the Himalayas. http://www.rumdoodle.org.uk/


Compare

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY BILL BRYSON An outrageously funny spoof about the ascent of a 40,000-and-a-half-foot peak, The Ascent of Rum Doodle has been a cult favourite since its publication in 1956. Led by the reliably under-insightful Binder, a team of seven British men including Dr Prone (constantly ill); Jungle the route finder (constantly lost), Constant the diplomat WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY BILL BRYSON An outrageously funny spoof about the ascent of a 40,000-and-a-half-foot peak, The Ascent of Rum Doodle has been a cult favourite since its publication in 1956. Led by the reliably under-insightful Binder, a team of seven British men including Dr Prone (constantly ill); Jungle the route finder (constantly lost), Constant the diplomat (constantly arguing) and 3,000 Yogistani porters, set out to conquer the highest peak in the Himalayas. http://www.rumdoodle.org.uk/

30 review for The Ascent Of Rum Doodle (Vintage Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jogle

    For reasons associated with but not limited to having no friends, I arrived one night alone and at very short notice in Kathmandu. The prehistoric taxi from the airport was assembled from many previously fossilised taxis, and after only a few hundred exhilarating yards, violently disassembled on unsurprisingly crashing into what I assumed was the target motorcycle. The ensuing melee moved almost seamlessly into my trek on foot, carrying a rucksack (passably similar to an American ‘backpack’) con For reasons associated with but not limited to having no friends, I arrived one night alone and at very short notice in Kathmandu. The prehistoric taxi from the airport was assembled from many previously fossilised taxis, and after only a few hundred exhilarating yards, violently disassembled on unsurprisingly crashing into what I assumed was the target motorcycle. The ensuing melee moved almost seamlessly into my trek on foot, carrying a rucksack (passably similar to an American ‘backpack’) containing poorly assembled and tragically selected inappropriate items, through rival protest marches of bandana swathed Communists and Maoists, who seemed unwilling to accept my entreaties based on a firm belief that Maoists were Communists and vice versa. I eventually made the deserted safety of narrow threatening streets swathed in the comforting deathly blackness of a randomly scheduled power blackout, and was lured at the point of a dehydration induced delirium tremens to the twinkling candlelit balcony of a bar – the world famous Rum Doodle Bar (height 40,000 and 1/2ft). Over a bottle of Ghurkha Beer emblazoned with the famous Tenzing Norgay Everest photo, I was inspired on reading from the blurb scrawled on the strangely moving wall that the bar was named after a famous 1950’s mountaineering ascent documented in an equally famous book. Ghurkhas came thick and fast, as elephants in a Dumbo nightmare, and I lapsed into something like the vomit inducing exhaustion of altitude sickness and forgot Rum Doodle as the illusion of a terrible Himalayan ague. I came across this book recently, now rediscovered by Bill Bryson who forwards this edition, wandering friendless in a charity shop sheltering from the rain. The elation of seeing the name again provoked a gagging flashback of emotion so vivid that the smell and taste of Ghurkha Beer filled my senses, seeming to hang in the back of my throat as a portent of some imminent effusion of memory that would come straight from the pit of my stomach. As I’d previously been thrown out of this charity shop for a similar incident I hurriedly snatched the book. An antidote to ‘Into Thin Air’ syndrome, I can see why Bryson loves it. His semi-anglophile mentality reflects but is not the same as this humour. Nor is it Monty Python, although perhaps Michael Palin’s Ripping Yarns is close. Actually, given the era it was written in, it is Goon Show - Spike Milligan, Sellers et al. Very funny spoof of expedition mountaineering that evidently became cult in those adventuring communities, meaning that several landmarks are now named after it. If you need a break from serious books, give this a go. Very funny and you don’t need to be a mountaineer, although I personally have seen ‘Touching The Void’ and understand enough to know that when you are tired, hung-over or just plain can’t be bothered, always mumble something about altitude sickness. Deserves its renaissance. Will be appreciated by anyone who realises that the best achievements in life are those that are futile and achieved to great acclaim under the banner of teamwork whilst at the expense of the efforts of other unsung people. Great little book. P.S. Disclaimer: Ghurkha Beer is very nice…ish.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    This book is a gem! It’s a spoof on every mountaineering expedition book or documentary you’ve ever read or watched. There are so many quotable absurdities that I wouldn’t know where to start and the illustrations are just as much fun as the book. It’s always funny, sometimes even laugh out loud funny which isn’t something I experience often. If you enjoy off the wall British humour then this is for you, especially if you’re a fan of mountaineering adventure. The book has a cult following with R This book is a gem! It’s a spoof on every mountaineering expedition book or documentary you’ve ever read or watched. There are so many quotable absurdities that I wouldn’t know where to start and the illustrations are just as much fun as the book. It’s always funny, sometimes even laugh out loud funny which isn’t something I experience often. If you enjoy off the wall British humour then this is for you, especially if you’re a fan of mountaineering adventure. The book has a cult following with Rum Doodle restaurants and B&Bs across the world and even has its own website. I’ve no idea how it has escaped my attention until now but now that it has, it’s a firm favourite. Thank you so much to my Goodreads friend, Daren, for reviewing this recently. You cheered up my lockdown!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rhys

    The second funniest work of fiction I have ever read... It's a good example of British surrealism. The British never really regarded surrealism as a serious artform and most examples of British surrealism are in fact strange comedies with no especial interest in the concerns of the original Surrealists (Freudian psychology, automatic writing, unpalatable honesty regarding sexual desires, etc). This novel stands comparison with *Three Men in a Boat* or *Diary of a Nobody* but it's much more extrem The second funniest work of fiction I have ever read... It's a good example of British surrealism. The British never really regarded surrealism as a serious artform and most examples of British surrealism are in fact strange comedies with no especial interest in the concerns of the original Surrealists (Freudian psychology, automatic writing, unpalatable honesty regarding sexual desires, etc). This novel stands comparison with *Three Men in a Boat* or *Diary of a Nobody* but it's much more extreme and silly and ingenious. An expedition composed of misfits attempts to climb Rum Doodle, which at forty-thousand-and-a-half feet is the highest mountain in the world. First published in 1956, *The Ascent of Rum Doodle* has been reprinted several times but still remains relatively unknown, which is a shame. ***** I have just reread this novel for the third time (September 2017). It is very rare that I read books twice, let alone three times. I guess that it has become my 'comfort book', one that can be read and read again and again. I still regard it as a tremendous comedy!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ellinor

    The Ascent of Rum Doodle is a parody on mountaineers and as with all parodies there are people who love them and others who really don't see anything in them. I'm a bit in the middle of these two. The writing was over the top and there were lots of funny paragraphs - I just didn't laugh as much as I had hoped. My expectations were very high, especially because Bill Bryson in the foreword calls this the funniest book he ever read. It is funny, just not as funny as I thought. Sometimes it was also The Ascent of Rum Doodle is a parody on mountaineers and as with all parodies there are people who love them and others who really don't see anything in them. I'm a bit in the middle of these two. The writing was over the top and there were lots of funny paragraphs - I just didn't laugh as much as I had hoped. My expectations were very high, especially because Bill Bryson in the foreword calls this the funniest book he ever read. It is funny, just not as funny as I thought. Sometimes it was also trying a bit too hard to make people laugh. I think I might have enjoyed it a lot more even I hadn't read the foreword and the caption which both gave away the funniest parts of the book. So I'm not saying anything else about the books content here because I don't want to spoil it for anyone else.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Daren

    This book is a well known parody on mountaineering stories, written about a fictional mountain named Rum Doodle, altitude 40,000-and-a-half feet - around one third again as high as Everest. Set in the Himalaya, in a land that is not Nepal, but very like Nepal, with porters who are 'Yogastani'. The team, established by the Rum Doodle committee is led by the narrator, known as Binder (not sure we ever learn his real name, as Binder is his radio callsign). As a leader he is the least insightful - un This book is a well known parody on mountaineering stories, written about a fictional mountain named Rum Doodle, altitude 40,000-and-a-half feet - around one third again as high as Everest. Set in the Himalaya, in a land that is not Nepal, but very like Nepal, with porters who are 'Yogastani'. The team, established by the Rum Doodle committee is led by the narrator, known as Binder (not sure we ever learn his real name, as Binder is his radio callsign). As a leader he is the least insightful - unaware of what transpires around him most of the time, but totally dedicated to the party and the task. He is joined by a crew who become somewhat more obvious as the list grows - Tom Burley ex-military, the oversized, endurance man who is a constant victim of an array of lassitudes (heat, valley, etc), radio callsign - Deadweight. Christopher Wish, scientist, who is constantly carrying out experiments which all seem to be boiling water to determine altitude (inaccurately) - radio callsign - Fiddler Donald Shute, photographer, who specialises in exposing film and ruining any recorded imagery - radio callsign - Dickie Bird. Humphrey Jungle - radio expert and route finder, who is constantly lost and requires rescue frequently - radio callsign - Wanderer (although he proposed pathfinder for himself which was not accepted). Lancelot Constant - linguist, who struggles with the language of the porters creating havoc in the giving of instructions - radio callsign Applecart. Ridley Prone - doctor, who is constantly struck down with illness, radio callsign - Ailing. As well as the team, there are the aforementioned porters, numbering 3000 at commencement, but gradually whittled down in number to suit the food stores available and maintain the expedition budget. There are a few main character Yogistanis, who include Pong the expedition cook (who manages to turn any ingredients into inedible filth for the duration of the expedition), Bing, who was the Bang (head porter), Bung a particularly strong porter, So Lo and Lo Too, who stick with Binder for much of the expedition. As you can see from the above, there is plenty of absurdity, plenty of slapstick, lots of play on words and situations (translations, of course when two words in Yogistani are indistinguishable 'except for a gurgle at the end', inevitable navigation issues, hallucinations, medical situations, a crevasse to escape from, fiance stories to be learned from all the team, porter revolts and much acclimatization to be done. There are basecamps, advanced basecamps, camps 1-5 and all manner of arrangements to be made. So at 153 pages, it wouldn't have wanted to be any longer, but it was a funny and readable parody. Probably more Goon Show than Monty Python, but very British in its self-mockery. Worthy of noting - Bill Bryson wrote the introduction, most useful for its background to the book (including explaining the significance of the repeated uses of the number 153 in the text). Also worth a mention is the Rum Doodle Restaurant in Kathmandu, which carries on the tradition, albeit apparently relocated from its original location in Thamel. I have visited the restaurant when it was in Thamel (I believe I had a yak steak (which is nearly always water buffalo, apparently)), and had a vague understanding of the book, but had not read it. Somewhere between 3 and 4 stars, rounded up.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tiago Vitória

    I have to be really honest about this book. I couldn't enjoy it. To be honest, Bowman's style of writing it is really tiring and I was often drifting with my focus on the book. Although I have to say that's probably my problem and not Bowman's. As a matter of fact his writing is surprisingly good and very well polished. What I did not like about the book it's the fact that almost every part of it seems like a sitcom, everything is happening and nothing seems to happen. The characters are dull an I have to be really honest about this book. I couldn't enjoy it. To be honest, Bowman's style of writing it is really tiring and I was often drifting with my focus on the book. Although I have to say that's probably my problem and not Bowman's. As a matter of fact his writing is surprisingly good and very well polished. What I did not like about the book it's the fact that almost every part of it seems like a sitcom, everything is happening and nothing seems to happen. The characters are dull and very much two-dimensional (even the main character). Maybe my rating it's very personal, however I must say that I don't think The Ascent of Rum Doodle a bad or bad written book. Only it didn't work for me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    Absolutely hilarious, giggled like a schoolgirl all the way through. I'm off to meditate on the responsibilities of leadership...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    The Ascent of Rum Doodle is a jaunty parody of inept mountaineers, who couldn’t organise a raffle at a village fete let alone master the 40,000 (and a half) ft climb to the peak of ‘Rum Doodle’. These ‘professionals’ have the most ironic surnames like Burley, who was was anything but as he was out of sorts after failing to acclimatise to any step of their journey, the team’s medical assistance was provided by a Dr Prone who contracted everything from mumps to malaria, while Constant unintenti The Ascent of Rum Doodle is a jaunty parody of inept mountaineers, who couldn’t organise a raffle at a village fete let alone master the 40,000 (and a half) ft climb to the peak of ‘Rum Doodle’. These ‘professionals’ have the most ironic surnames like Burley, who was was anything but as he was out of sorts after failing to acclimatise to any step of their journey, the team’s medical assistance was provided by a Dr Prone who contracted everything from mumps to malaria, while Constant unintentionally offended the local porters at every available opportunity with his professed linguistic skill, and their navigator, Jungle, aptly couldn’t find the wood for the trees. The ‘Rum Doodle’ campaign reaches farcical proportions as their specially selected liabilities hamper progress at every possible turn. The team leader, Binder (his radio code name), is a naïve shepherd with a flock that regularly outwits him. He is blissfully unaware of the reverse psychology they apply in order to avoid sharing a tent with his inexhaustible counsel. The greatest threat to their party wasn’t in fact Binder, the altitude, or mutiny every time Constant opened his mouth, but Pong, a cook with the most frightful culinary ability to ‘demoralise’ all grown men. Strategies were developed to minimise exposure of his contribution to their endeavour but his presence was ludicrously unshakeable. And with the exception of Binder’s incessant obsession for dredging up every team member’s fiancée status (regardless of how curious their replies are) this story is completely dominated by men. I can honestly say I hadn’t noticed the omission of female characters until the end as I was busy being carried away by their absurd behaviour and the futility of meticulous planning! There were memorable gems of recklessness and ridicule throughout, but my absolute favourites were when the team had diagnosed the doctor as having hopes of a recovery on the basis that he hadn’t expired yet, and the moment Binder’s tears secured his face to the ice during a momentary lapse of emotional composure. Plus this one, where the leader is once again trying to raise morale … "Poor Prone seemed quite low, and to cheer him up I encouraged him to talk about his home. Had he a fiancée? I asked. He said, no, his wife was the unsympathetic kind and his children considered one mother quite enough." Binder’s valiant efforts to provide his calamitous conquerors with the necessary encouragement turned into an ascent of endurance rather than an expedition. I mean, exactly how many people can you lose in a crevasse before something twigs?! Loved it! 😀

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gary Hoffman

    An overlooked classic. Read it in a single sitting. Extremely silly, in a good way, and often funny enough to bring tears.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    As someone who has paged through the expedition diaries of more than one Victorian explorer, I found a lot to like about The Ascent of Rum Doodle, a satire of those very types of people and their writing. But even if you haven’t has the pleasure of reading much in that genre, you may still find something to like within. Led by Binder, a man desperate to be the type of leader he’s read about but lacking any insight into himself and others and trying to find it by constantly questioning everyone ab As someone who has paged through the expedition diaries of more than one Victorian explorer, I found a lot to like about The Ascent of Rum Doodle, a satire of those very types of people and their writing. But even if you haven’t has the pleasure of reading much in that genre, you may still find something to like within. Led by Binder, a man desperate to be the type of leader he’s read about but lacking any insight into himself and others and trying to find it by constantly questioning everyone about their fiances, his crew of men and their 3,000 yogistani porters (and the 300 or so boys being porters to the porters) attempt the ascent of Rum Doodle, the highest peak in the Himalayas. And so we find ourselves in the company of Burley (a supposedly strong man who is a constant victim of lassitude), Prone (the doctor, constantly struck with illness), Jungle (the navigator, who couldn’t find his way out of a sleeping bag), Constant (the diplomat, whose struggles with the language of the native porters sees him constantly about to come to blows), Shute (the photographer, whose completed shots are always ruined by his clumsiness), and Wish (the scientist, whose main mission seems to be boiling ice). Menaced by Pong, the cook, who could reduce any potentially decent meal to swill in seconds, the men test the limits of their courage, endurance, and capacity to be around their leader without losing their tempers. A very slight book, this didn’t take long to read and made me smile throughout – that could have been tested had the book been much longer, but thankfully it knew not to outstay its welcome (unlike Binder) and finished while I still thought well of it. **Also posted at Cannonball Read 9**

  11. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    I added this book to my to-read shelf after reading this blog post. After reading it, I fully endorse it as worthy of adding to your to-read shelf as well. The premise is straightforward. Binder -- who is, to give a modern equivalent, very similar to Michael Scott from The Office -- is leading an expedition to ascend to the top of the Rum Doodle mountain peak. His companions include a translator that appears to not know the native language, a doctor who remains sick with various maladies, a navig I added this book to my to-read shelf after reading this blog post. After reading it, I fully endorse it as worthy of adding to your to-read shelf as well. The premise is straightforward. Binder -- who is, to give a modern equivalent, very similar to Michael Scott from The Office -- is leading an expedition to ascend to the top of the Rum Doodle mountain peak. His companions include a translator that appears to not know the native language, a doctor who remains sick with various maladies, a navigator who gets thoroughly lost at every turn, a strongman who is weakened by "altitude sickness," a scientist who is convinced they are 153 feet above sea level while out at sea, and a group of hundreds of native porters, including Pong, a cook that makes inedible every food item he touches. Bedlam, naturally, ensues. This book holds up very well for a book that's almost 60 years old, as, at its core, it is a comedy about human nature, which hasn't evolved nearly as much as we'd like to believe, despite all our technological advances.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Antonomasia

    A classic British comic novel about a shambolic Himalayan mountaineering expedition. Perhaps a forgotten classic - it's been familiar to me for a long time and I didn't know it wasn't well-known until I read Bill Bryson's introduction. He compares it with Diary of a Nobody - the narrator is similarly incompetent, though perhaps marginally less pompous. (There's an awful lot happening, so less time to be so.) There's also a touch of Goonish / Pythonesque surrealism and a dash of Ealing charm. And A classic British comic novel about a shambolic Himalayan mountaineering expedition. Perhaps a forgotten classic - it's been familiar to me for a long time and I didn't know it wasn't well-known until I read Bill Bryson's introduction. He compares it with Diary of a Nobody - the narrator is similarly incompetent, though perhaps marginally less pompous. (There's an awful lot happening, so less time to be so.) There's also a touch of Goonish / Pythonesque surrealism and a dash of Ealing charm. And quite a lot of comic repetition. The local sherpas may have been given silly names, but they have personalities just as strong as the Brits and are in many cases more competent. There are also various awkward goings on with their trade union, echoing British films of the era like I'm All Right Jack. Knowing the kind of memoirs being parodied may make this funnier, but plenty of reviewers say they enjoyed this regardless of familiarity with climbing books or the sport itself.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ilona

    I think Bill Bryson is one of the funniest authors out there. Bill Bryson thinks Rum Doodle is one of the funniest books out there. Therefore, I should find Rum Doodle extremely funny, right? Nope. That was my reasoning when I picked the book up from the library, but no. I could see where the humour was, for sure. I smiled regularly for the first two or three chapters. I probably would have kept smiling if I'd kept reading, but the story didn't grip me, and the humour wasn't sufficient to keep me I think Bill Bryson is one of the funniest authors out there. Bill Bryson thinks Rum Doodle is one of the funniest books out there. Therefore, I should find Rum Doodle extremely funny, right? Nope. That was my reasoning when I picked the book up from the library, but no. I could see where the humour was, for sure. I smiled regularly for the first two or three chapters. I probably would have kept smiling if I'd kept reading, but the story didn't grip me, and the humour wasn't sufficient to keep me turning pages on what was (to me) a boring tale. Perhaps if I'd ever been a climber, I'd have found it more engaging? Anyway. An okay book, but not one I'd recommend ... except to a mountain climber. Assuming I knew any. :)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alistair

    Rum Doodle is one of the funniest, silliest (in the best sense!) books I've ever read. Bill Bryson's commendation on the cover is spot on: "One of the funniest books you will ever read." A spoof of the mountaineering community in the early 20th century, Bowman's deadpan style of delivery is a sheer delight. Take just one passage; one of the climbers has had a fixation with fiancees ever since a child(!?) To distract his attention his parents give him a catapult. "Except for the additional expens Rum Doodle is one of the funniest, silliest (in the best sense!) books I've ever read. Bill Bryson's commendation on the cover is spot on: "One of the funniest books you will ever read." A spoof of the mountaineering community in the early 20th century, Bowman's deadpan style of delivery is a sheer delight. Take just one passage; one of the climbers has had a fixation with fiancees ever since a child(!?) To distract his attention his parents give him a catapult. "Except for the additional expenses of broken windows they were quite satisfied with the results. The boy's natural delight at owning a weapon of destruction drew his attention away from the subject of fiancees, thus relieving an inner tension which might have resulted in a political career." Absolutely ripping!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Joyce Godsey

    I am delighted to find that after 37 years as a used bookseller, i can still discover a new favorite book and fall in love. Though I am slightly embarrassed that I am only discovering Rum Doodle NOW, but perhaps books come along in your life just when you need them. The Ascent of Rum Doodle can only be described as a Good Show epic running on all cylinders. The conquering of a mountain has never and will never be this funny. Give this book to someone whose never ending devotion you wan to earn, I am delighted to find that after 37 years as a used bookseller, i can still discover a new favorite book and fall in love. Though I am slightly embarrassed that I am only discovering Rum Doodle NOW, but perhaps books come along in your life just when you need them. The Ascent of Rum Doodle can only be described as a Good Show epic running on all cylinders. The conquering of a mountain has never and will never be this funny. Give this book to someone whose never ending devotion you wan to earn, they will follow you up Rum Doodle without question.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tweedledum

    I love the serendipity of books. 1 month ago I discover this obscure and forgotten spoof on my bibliophilic son's ever growing bookshelves. Today I find a reference to it in another book I am reading... ! In this age of political correctness and sensitivities to all kinds of imagined slights The Ascent of Rum Doodle could never be written.for this reason alone it deserves to be rediscovered and celebrated. Thank God for a time when people could see the funny side of things without taking offence I love the serendipity of books. 1 month ago I discover this obscure and forgotten spoof on my bibliophilic son's ever growing bookshelves. Today I find a reference to it in another book I am reading... ! In this age of political correctness and sensitivities to all kinds of imagined slights The Ascent of Rum Doodle could never be written.for this reason alone it deserves to be rediscovered and celebrated. Thank God for a time when people could see the funny side of things without taking offence.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    One of the best comic novels I have ever read. Extremely well observed and deserves to be thought of as one of the true classics of comic literature along with P.G.Wodehouse. I particularly loved the leader of the expedition who exemplifies the stereotype of the optimistic but not at all worldly British ex-public schoolboy.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stevyn Colgan

    Very British and very funny. A lovely gentle humour runs throughout much in the vein of 'Diary of a Nobody' and 'Three Men in a Boat'; two other books of which I am inordinately fond. A great read. I want to watch 'Ripping Yarns' again now.

  19. 5 out of 5

    A.K.

    This is a farcical story of a group of "climbers" setting out to tackle the daunting (and imaginary) summit of Rum Doodle. It's told in first person by a decidedly non-omniscient narrator who observes the laziness and bickering of his climbing team with unfailingly naive goodwill. I enjoyed the dry, subtle humor--laugh-out-loud in many places. A bit slow at times, but all-in-all a funny read. I'd probably give it 3.5 stars if I had the option, but it deserves to be rounded up rather than down.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Prateek Malhotra

    Recommending it for people interested in:- Mountain climbing, ropes, crevasses, porters, boys, skunks, gurgles, warples, compasses, thermometers, Rum Doodle, North Doodle, teamwork, champagne, and, of course, the thrill of achieving something together(along with porters that are beyond praise). Hilarious and succinct; thoroughly enjoyed this one.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Danita L

    LOVE IT! One of the best and funniest books I've ever read. I'd recommend it to everyone who loves a good spoof. My first reaction was that I needed to buy a copy so I could grab it and start reading again anytime I wanted.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mimi

    Loaned to me by a friend who said, "this book is very funny." I couldn't agree with the assessment more. It was a good treadmill read, although I nearly fell off a couple of times.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Isabelle Bradbury

    3.5 stars

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bev

    Bill Bryson introduces the 2001 edition of W. E. Bowman's The Ascent of Rum Doodle (orig. pub. 1956) as "one of the funniest books you will ever read." He gives us great expectations of the delights that await us as we read Bowman's parody of the great mountain-climbing expeditions of the early 20th Century. "Binder" (as our narrator is code-named for the group's walkie-talkie usage) is the leader of this grand adventure and tells us the story of the eight brave men and 3,000 Yogistani porters w Bill Bryson introduces the 2001 edition of W. E. Bowman's The Ascent of Rum Doodle (orig. pub. 1956) as "one of the funniest books you will ever read." He gives us great expectations of the delights that await us as we read Bowman's parody of the great mountain-climbing expeditions of the early 20th Century. "Binder" (as our narrator is code-named for the group's walkie-talkie usage) is the leader of this grand adventure and tells us the story of the eight brave men and 3,000 Yogistani porters who tackle the true highest peak in the Himalayas. The group is actually the greatest collection of misfits with misnomers ever assembled. Binder most certainly does not bind his group together. Burley is not the epitome of health and strength that one might expect. And so on... It a miracle that any of them ever reach the peak of anything...or do they? You'll have to read to find out. Something tells me that reading this book is something like what I would experience if I were to decide to actually climb a large mountain...like Everest or that taller mountain, Rum Doodle. It would go something like this ~Boy, isn't this fun? I'm having a great time. ~Still enjoying myself. Nice scenery. Great adventure. ~What? Oh, yes, I am getting a little bit tired...but this is fun. I can totally do it. ~Hmmm. That bit of mountain ahead looks remarkably like that bit of mountain back there. Only steeper. ~Puff. Puff. It's getting a little difficult to get my bearings. And I'm getting a little light-headed. Why do I feel so tired? ~Goodness this is getting repetitive. And I'm really getting tired of climbing. When do we get to the peak? ~Seriously...are we there yet? ~I'm certain I thought this was a good idea when I started...but...does anyone know why? ~I don't think I can take another step...I mean it...Oh, wait. Is that the top? We're there? But I can't see anything with all those clouds in the way. Are you sure this was worth it? I really enjoyed the first third or so. The British humor was humming along nicely and I was gently chuckling away to myself. But then just like the mountain bits that looked remarkably like other mountain bits only steeper...the humor was very repetitive and it got worse as we went along. Binder imposing himself on one of his men and forcing him to tell the "story" of his childhood...or his fiancee...or his broken heart just wasn't funny any more. And it was no longer funny that the reader knew that Binder's climbing buddies were leading him up the garden path and telling him the most incredible nonsense and yet Binder was taking it as the gospel truth. And Jungle getting lost for the 153rd time was no longer funny. And the fact that the number 153 was the magic number for everything. And the constant movement from Base Camp to Advance Camp 1 (and 2 and 3 and 4 and...) and back again became irritating nonsense instead of comical nonsense. And the fact that no matter what they did they couldn't lose Pong, the Yogistani cook with a knack for turning the most desirable delicacies into the most nauseating mush, for love or money. This would have been a heck of a lot funnier if Bowman had had more strings to his bow (so to speak)--if he hadn't harped on the same exact jokes every step of the way up the mountain. ★★★ But there are several four- and five-star ratings out there on Goodreads, so your mileage may vary. First posted on my blog My Reader's Block. Please request permission before reposting. thanks.

  25. 5 out of 5

    June Louise

    "We could now number ourselves amongst those who had trod the ultimate heights and invaded nature's last stronghold against the advancing spirit of man. I tried to remember all I had read about climbing at such heights. I took one step, then waited for ten minutes. This, I understood, was essential; our predecessors were unanimous about it: one step, then ten minutes' rest, or seven in an emergency. I found it more difficult than I had anticipated. To remain in one position for ten minutes was n "We could now number ourselves amongst those who had trod the ultimate heights and invaded nature's last stronghold against the advancing spirit of man. I tried to remember all I had read about climbing at such heights. I took one step, then waited for ten minutes. This, I understood, was essential; our predecessors were unanimous about it: one step, then ten minutes' rest, or seven in an emergency. I found it more difficult than I had anticipated. To remain in one position for ten minutes was not at all easy [...] I noticed that the others seemed to be ignoring the procedure [...] [Constant] said that the early climbers had been forced to rest after every few steps because they were out of breath". This is the immensely funny story of the ascent of the 40,000 (and a half) feet high mountain, Rum Doodle by a group of unlikely characters whose names describe them with Dickensian aptness: Burley (Major and mission strong-man), Binder (the extremely naive mission leader and narrator of the tale), Wish (the scientist), Shute (the photographer), Jungle (the communications expert and route-finder), Constant (diplomatist and linguist), and Prone (the medical doctor). These seven men, along with their band of 3,000 porters (known as Bangs), and 375 boys, attempt to conquer Rum Doodle, undergoing hilarious (mis)adventures on the way. If you are a UK reader and are familiar with the old TV comedy series 'Dad's Army', then this would be Mainwaring and his men deciding to climb a mountain. It can only end in disaster! One of the purposes of the mission is to hunt out a creature indigenous to Rum Doodle - the warple. Binder describes his effort: "I was on the look out for the altitude hallucinations and warples. Several times I thought I saw a warple, but it turned out to be a hallucination. Several times I thought I saw a hallucination, but it turned out to be a spot on my goggles. Once I thought I saw a spot on my goggles, but it turned out to be a warple which turned out to be a hallucination". Between ascents and descents to different camps, with different characters and the loyal, (but dreadful chef) Bang (called Pong), the reader becomes drawn into the endeavour, even though at times you find yourself willing Binder to not be so naive and gullible! The twist at the end of the book provides a very satisfying ending though, leaving the book with that 'feel good' factor (but not in a cheesy Hollywood way). There are moments of satirical philosophy, and comical attempts at communication (both with the belching Bangs, and within the group via walkie talkie), but the essence of the book reflects the ways in which humour overcomes adversity, and the binding powers of humanity across cultures. It's a great short read, and it made a welcome break from the long tomes that I have been immersed in recently. Would highly recommend.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    It is difficult to sustain parody through the length of a novel, even a short (171 pages) one such as The Ascent of Rum Doodle. Yet W. E. Bowman's subtle humor seldom palls and indeed the book grows funnier the further one reads. The Ascent of Rum Doodle purports to be a report of a British mountain-climbing expedition, and the tone is perfect. Although it was published not long after the conquest of Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, it is said to have been inspired by an earlier It is difficult to sustain parody through the length of a novel, even a short (171 pages) one such as The Ascent of Rum Doodle. Yet W. E. Bowman's subtle humor seldom palls and indeed the book grows funnier the further one reads. The Ascent of Rum Doodle purports to be a report of a British mountain-climbing expedition, and the tone is perfect. Although it was published not long after the conquest of Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, it is said to have been inspired by an earlier account of an expedition that took place in the 1930s, and indeed has more of the flavor of that earlier time. The account of the struggles of the climbers to learn the use of their radio sets, and their arguments about using oxygen, seem to belong more to the 30s than the 50s (and are extremely funny as well!) It is not at all necessary to have climbed a mountain or taken part in any sort of expedition to chuckle frequently and occasionally laugh heartily at this book. Bill Bryson, one of the funniest writers working today, says in his Introduction to this edition that it is "one of the funniest books you will ever read," and I can't disagree. It's well deserving of a place in the Comedy category of the Guardian's 1000 Novels Everyone Must Read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ian Russell

    This is the second novel in a row I’ve spent too long reading. At a little over 130 pages, I think an experienced eye could manage this in one or two sessions, and would be better for it. I thought the story would make a good half-hour comedy drama for TV or radio; it’s the kind of situation humour that’s sketched out around a handful of running gags; the bad food, the unsuitability of each character for his assigned specialism, the question of fiancées, and the number 153. That’s not to say I d This is the second novel in a row I’ve spent too long reading. At a little over 130 pages, I think an experienced eye could manage this in one or two sessions, and would be better for it. I thought the story would make a good half-hour comedy drama for TV or radio; it’s the kind of situation humour that’s sketched out around a handful of running gags; the bad food, the unsuitability of each character for his assigned specialism, the question of fiancées, and the number 153. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, or it wasn’t that funny. It was. But the resilience of the comedy wasn’t quite up to the daily gaps I’d left between chapters. In the story, somewhere near the beginning, there’s a name check for Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men In A Boat, as if the author begged a comparison. It being one of my favourite books, the comparison was automatic. It shares the same style of comedy as Jerome's but TMIAB it wasn’t. Still, those who appreciate comic idiotic escapades like TMIAB will get plenty of smileage out of Rum Doodle. Three and one half stars. Recommended.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marisa

    This book was very funny on a variety of levels. As a parody on mountaineering, the book reads like a sitcom (without the laugh track), but there are also some very subtle aspects to the book as well. I particularly liked the route finding and porters who knew better than anyone else on the team. I’d recommend reading the foreword at the end as I felt it had some spoilers included in it. This is a book I’ve seen recommended by “Outside Magazine” and the “Best of Mountaineering / Travel” lists so This book was very funny on a variety of levels. As a parody on mountaineering, the book reads like a sitcom (without the laugh track), but there are also some very subtle aspects to the book as well. I particularly liked the route finding and porters who knew better than anyone else on the team. I’d recommend reading the foreword at the end as I felt it had some spoilers included in it. This is a book I’ve seen recommended by “Outside Magazine” and the “Best of Mountaineering / Travel” lists so I’m glad I had the chance to finally catch up on it. I’d highly recommend this one to anyone who is a hiking / mountaineering fan. If you’re not familiar with how large expeditions go off, however, this book will be quite a confusing flop for you. Who should read it? Outdoor enthusiasts or anyone familiar with mountaineering. See all my reviews and more at www.ReadingToDistraction.com or @Read2Distract

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ape

    Suitably silly book sending up the good old sort stereotypical English gentleman adventurer. This little band are off to climb Rum Doodle in Yogistani, convinced of their superiority in all things - thank goodness the porters were there to keep an eye on them! It's a funny read although I got a little weary of it towards the end, despite it not being that long. Not sure why, maybe I'm not enough of a mountaineer to enjoy, or maybe the repetition of the leader having to ask everyone about his fia Suitably silly book sending up the good old sort stereotypical English gentleman adventurer. This little band are off to climb Rum Doodle in Yogistani, convinced of their superiority in all things - thank goodness the porters were there to keep an eye on them! It's a funny read although I got a little weary of it towards the end, despite it not being that long. Not sure why, maybe I'm not enough of a mountaineer to enjoy, or maybe the repetition of the leader having to ask everyone about his fiance turned into a bit of filler for me. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy it, and particularly loved their navigator dude, Jungle, who is so good at finding his way he never managed to get to the planning meeting in London as he kept getting lost. I loved the selection of photographs and illustrations that had been collected for various quotes out of the book - funny stuff.

  30. 5 out of 5

    David Evans

    Not one of the funniest books I’ll, ever read in spite of what Bill Bryson writes in the introduction to a new edition. However it is a very amusing but tends to labour the point somewhat that the disparate members of the expedition are totally unsuited to their respective roles i.e. the strong man has ME; the photographer fails to take a single picture; the guide has no sense of direction; the diplomat invokes hostility; the doctor is a hypochondriac; the leader has no insight into what’s going Not one of the funniest books I’ll, ever read in spite of what Bill Bryson writes in the introduction to a new edition. However it is a very amusing but tends to labour the point somewhat that the disparate members of the expedition are totally unsuited to their respective roles i.e. the strong man has ME; the photographer fails to take a single picture; the guide has no sense of direction; the diplomat invokes hostility; the doctor is a hypochondriac; the leader has no insight into what’s going on. The greatest creation is Pong, the cook, who unites everyone in fear of his food. You don’t need parodies like this when you can read about true bungled adventures. I recommend “A walk in the Hindu Kush” by Eric Newby, hilarious and gripping.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.