Paperbacks: Queuing For Beginners, by Joe Moran

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The Independent Culture

The jokey title hides an intriguing investigation of everyday life. The insights of Moran, a lecturer in cultural history, range from mobile phones ("they have subtly altered the already fragile social dynamic of the train carriage") to the appeal of smoking: "an international wordless language". Exploring the day from breakfast through business meetings ("the most formal occasions in our daily lives") and drink ("the main purpose of pubs has rarely been to enjoy the taste of the beer") to bed ("sleeping cannot be outsourced"), he urges us to be "quotidian detectives excavating the buried meanings of the mundane".

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