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Book Review: Notebook

Today, I’m pleased to be on the book blog tour to share with you my book review of Notebook by Tom Cox. Bestselling author Tom Cox’s latest book celebrates an often overlooked literary medium – the notebook. This selection of his writing contains his unfiltered thoughts on footpaths, wood pigeons, mixtapes and much more.

Book Cover Notes

Sure, sex is great, but have you ever cracked open a new notebook and written something on the first page with a really nice pen?

The story behind Notebook starts with a minor crime: the theft of Tom Cox’s rucksack from a Bristol pub in 2018. In that rucksack was a journal containing ten months worth of notes, one of the many Tom has used to record his thoughts and observations over the past twelve years. It wasn’t the best he had ever kept – his handwriting was messier than in his previous notebook, his entries more sporadic – but he still grieved for every one of the hundred or so lost pages.

This incident made Tom appreciate how much notebook-keeping means to him: the act of putting pen to paper has always led him to write with an unvarnished, spur-of-the-moment honesty that he wouldn’t achieve on-screen.

Here, Tom has assembled his favourite stories, fragments, moments and ideas from those notebooks, ranging from memories of his childhood to the revelation that ‘There are two types of people in the world. People who fucking love maps, and people who don’t.’

The result is a book redolent of the real stuff of life, shot through with Cox’s trademark warmth and wit.

My thoughts

As someone who owns way too many notebooks, especially with pretty covers like this book, I’m always jotting things down. Throughout the day I scribble down things like;

  • To-do lists
  • quotes I’ve spotted I want to re-use
  • books I need to add to my ‘reading list’
  • music, tv or movies that I need to listen to or watch
  • writing ideas for future blog posts

All sorts of random stuff is popped into my notebook. So I was instantly drawn to the new book released this week by Tom Cox. The story begins with Tom’s rucksack and notebook being stolen. This experience prompted the author to create a collection of his favourite stories, observations and memories from some of his previous notebooks.

Within a few pages I was laughing out loud at the authors writing. As an example, my family are from Wiltshire and we say things like:

I said… and she said… and he said… when describing a conversation 🙂

Reading about Geoff and her gang of cows had me in fits of laughter. I literally sprayed my cup of tea over my dog, sorry Poppy.

Cows were like, ‘What are you doing in our field?’ and I was like, ‘Well, it’s actually a public footpath. It says so over there, on a sign.’ And cows were like, ‘We don’t do signs.’ And I was like…

And it goes on. Hilarious.

Notebook also has plenty of interesting facts and observations from the areas the author grew up and where he now lives. My partner David grew up in Beccles, not far from Norwich so we both enjoyed reading the references in and around Suffolk and Norfolk.

It sounds like the author is a keen vinyl record collector. There were several stories shared about growing up, collecting and listening to records. It was nice to read about his memories and the thrill of trawling through back street record shops looking for something cool to buy. I could offer my old vinyl’s to add to Tom’s collection, but I’m not sure that he’d want Wham!, Duran Duran or my Bananarama albums. 🙂

Throughout the book the author shares news and comments noted from his parents. These were quite amusing and quite bonkers. Comments made by Tom’s father were always written in CAPITALS. I wonder why. I’m guessing he’s a jolly, lively, loud character?

I wish I’d thought to capture some of my parents random comments and news updates. I’m just about to help my father move into a bungalow, having lived at the same house for over 60 years. There’s bound to be opportunities to capture incidents or funny comments during his house move. My dad will definitely be SHOUTING at some point.

“People say that moving house and divorce are the two most stressful experiences in life. This isn’t true. The most stressful experience in life is trying to change a duvet cover when you’ve just come back from the pub and you’re very tired.”


A refreshingly different read. Not to be read whilst drinking tea, as I discovered. I literally sprayed my cup of tea over my dog laughing in places, sorry Poppy 🙂

“Can’t. Stop. Buying Books. I. Will. Almost. Certainly. Never. Get. Time. To. Read. Please. Send. Help.”

Where to Buy

Amazon UK | The Book Depository

About the Author

Book Review Notebook - Author photo Tom Cox
Author Tom Cox

Tom Cox lives in Norfolk. He is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling The Good, The Bad and The Furry and the William Hill Sports Book longlisted Bring Me the Head of Sergio Garcia. 21st-Century Yokel was longlisted for the Wainwright Prize, and the titular story of Help the Witch won a Shirley Jackson Award.

Where to find Tom online

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Further book info
  • Published Date: 18 March 2021
  • Publisher: Unbound
  • Page Count: 138

Blog Tour Organised by

Random Things Tours

Thanks to Anne @randomttours for inviting me on the tour. Also thanks to Tom Cox for my copy of the book for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my book review of Notebook by Tom Cox

Miche xxx

Back to non fiction book list

Must be time for a brew

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