For my first read of 2014 I decided to pick one of Andrew's books and take a break from the classics for something a bit silly (not that he only has silly books, he also has some very serious ones too...).
I instantly picked up one by Danny Wallace - the man of "stupid-boy-projects". Years ago I read Yes Man and Are You Dave Gorman? (his collaboration with Dave Gorman), and since then have read all of Gorman's books, but no more of Wallace's - something I felt needed to be addressed.Join Me ("it's not a cult; it's a collective") was started in London in 2002 by Danny Wallace and in 2003 he wrote the book documenting it's formation.
Following the death of a relative, Danny discovered that his great uncle had once attempted to gain followers to build a community on his farm in Switzerland. Inspired by his uncle's (sadly unsuccessful) attempt, Danny placed a small ad saying simply, 'Join Me', in a local London magazine, just to see what would happen.
To his surprise, the idea attracted quite a lot of people, whom he called 'Joinees', despite nobody knowing what they were joining, until the idea of 'Good Fridays' was introduced. Wallace would encourage his joinees to perform random acts of kindness on Fridays - this led to them being referred to as the 'Karma Army'.
Although I don't rate this book as highly as Yes Man, it was still an enjoyable read. There is, in my opinion, quite a lot of needless waffle, but his writing is fun and easy - definitely lighter than Dickens! I liked how honest he was about everything he did (you will spend a lot of the book thinking he's a terrible boyfriend) & it was refreshing at how genuinely excited he was as he wrote it.
Written 12 years ago, when the internet was still mostly dial-up, it's fascinating to think how quickly something like this spread. I wonder, in 2014, when everyone is using a faster connection, how much quicker this would have been? One thing that is certain, the desire to join online communities, no matter how ridiculous, is still very much present today.
His aim was to gain 1,000 joinees...you'll have to read it yourself to find out if he managed it!