‘Life-Abet: An A to Z of Existence’ is a side-splitting A to Z of modern life. Written by Aaron Gillies and published by Blink Publishing, I think it is a must-have coffee-table book for anyone under the age of 25. (If they can afford a coffee-table.)
‘Life-Abet’ tackles modern concerns, all the way from Netflix to X Factor. Although there is a focus on modern pop culture, this isn’t necessarily why I think this is truly a young-person’s book. It’s because of the humour, which I absolutely adored. It is, in a word, Internet. Not in an annoying way, but in a way that cleverly uses memes, funny visual editing, and sometimes the abuse of capslock. It felt like a condensed version of a personal blog, unsurprising, since Gillies is mainly known for his Twitter, @TechnicallyRon.
It is because of this humour that the book really resonated with me. Unlike many other people who talk about current pop culture, he doesn’t try to take the ‘oh aren’t we superficial’ route. Rather, through humour, he gently prods the reader into thinking more deeply about things like advertisements and public transport. In various entries there are more serious thoughts about mental health, the Internet, and love. I thought that his thoughts about mental health were particularly good, as the humour allowed him to talk about issues that remain stigmatised today. (It quite reminded me of Allie Brosh’s ‘Hyperbole and a Half’, which is my favourite mental health book to date.)
Finally, I must give kudos to the team who designed and illustrated the book. Every page burst with life and colour. The typography alone!! (Typography nerd, what can I say). The cartoon-y illustrations fit beautifully with whatever Gillies was talking about, and added a humour of their own. It really rounded off what is a wonderful and irreverent ode to modern life today.