It is not often that a book comes along that not only changes your life but which also makes you laugh. This isn’t such a book, but it’s worth buying too. The author, Bob Yareham has taught English in Britain, Italy and Yugoslavia, and since 1981, (the year of the coup d’état, for which he denies all responsibility) in Valencia, Spain.
The book is a series of essays about the etymology, grammar and teaching of English, mixed up with his futile attempts to make sense of wine, women and students, and especially his wife, who although she is not all three, certainly whines a lot as the author tends to whisper whenever asked.
Mister Yareham was the creator and presenter of an English language radio programme called “Help” on Onda Cero Valencia back in the late eighties, and is a frequent participant in teacher training sessions throughout Spain and also Germany, where he has published various methodological books with the German publisher Cornelsen, Berlin.
He was for many years a weekly columnist for Costa Blanca News. Being also a History teacher, he has written extensively about the 19 Commonwealth war Grave sites in Spain and about the battlefields of the Napoleonic War on the Iberian Peninsular.
He also writes in various media about the more than 700 English language films made in Spain.
The book, English Expects, is a follow up to the equally unsuccessful English Beauty, and is a series of essays on the origin of words, phrases, idioms and the author’s marriage to a feisty Spanish lady, which has produced three surprisingly Spanglish sons.
The book is an absolute bargain, if only for the inside cover photo of Mister Yareham is his garden draped shamelessly in the Union Jack and clearly searching for the meaning of meaning with the aid of his trusty binoculars.
For those who enjoy the English language, or for the vast majority who grudgingly accept its importance, this is the book for you. English need no longer be a mystery; it can become a conundrum instead.
I guarantee that when you finally put this book down (not in the veterinary sense of course) you will be a better and wiser person, and you will realise after all the darkness that has gone before, that there is finally light at the end of the tunnel, even if it is only an express train heading your way.
In order to retain its status as a ‘cult book’, English Expects is, in spite of overwhelming demand, only available at Amazon Kindle as an e-book. The author explained that this is an indication of his growing commitment to new technologies, his deep concern with environmental issues, and the fact that no serious publisher would even deign to read it.
The book can be purchased here at the apparent price of 6.65 dollars, as the author was unable to deal with the complexities of the pricing arrangements: