The Greatest Book Ever Written?
Editors note: (Peartree) While I don’t think this book will top Time’s list any time soon, I honestly applaud Beau for finishing this road apple.
You can only hear about this book for the first time once in your life, so pay attention. I don’t want to put the cart before the horse and spoil the ending of this review, but this may be the best book I’ve ever read. Those of you who follow this blog may already be aware that I self-identify as a horse trapped in a human body. So I’m a bit biased. To briefly summarize this book, the author FJH Glover is a fan of horses, so they decided to sit down at the computer one day and type out a list of famous horses. The list isn’t in alphabetical order, nor is it ordered by category. That’s it. It’s just a list of horses as the author thought of them or saw them. But it’s so much more than that.
The first thing to note about this book is that it contains a lot of fun horse facts. For example, did you know that when filming the movie Braveheart, Mel Gibson’s horse was named Jasper? That’s horse #916, by the way. Also, did you know that Mel Gibson is a horrible racist? Another great addition on the list is Borak (#28), the horse that took the Prophet Mohamad to heaven. Horse #46 is named Comanche, the only survivor of the government forces in the Battle of the Little Bighorn. And do you remember Saddam Hussein? Well, his son Uday was famous for torturing people to death and being an all-around terrible person. But maybe he wasn’t so bad after all. It might surprise you to know that Uday liked to feed ice cream to his favorite horse Assad (#384).
Isn’t that fascinating? I hear you smacking your lips and calling for more. Don’t worry, you’re gonna get it.
Gimme more of those tasty horse facts…
After the fun facts, some of the horses you’ll read about in this book are a bit more obscure. Bess (#62) is a horse that was used in an advertisement for Ginster’s Pies. By the way, Ginster’s Pies is currently looking for a part-time van cleaner, if you happen to live in England and are looking for a really terrible job. But I digress. A lot of the horses are ones that FJH Glover found while watching TV, especially British reality TV shows about veterinarians. For example, #323 is a horse called Eddie, who appeared on an episode of Vets in Practice. As FJH Glover describes it, Edie “is showing signs of liver malfunction. He had eaten something that poisoned his liver.”
It’s hard to describe what it is like to read this book. Here is a sample chosen at random, which shows you how the book is structured and also gives you a taste of the contents. In this case, the horse is famous because it was owned by the wife of a British radio host.
#52: Lotty – BBC RADIO 2, Non-Stop Oldies. Steve Wrights’ afternoon show with special guests, music and a host of others features. Tell us your favourite oldies and we could play out your selection on air. Bob Fairchild, from Fareham, Hants was on the programme (Aug 2010). This was his wife’s horse. Bob said “50 tears of marriage – I mean years.” Bob is in the Rescue Service.
Mmm… Gimme gimme gimme.
This book doesn’t side-step controversy, and it includes both fictitious and factual horses. Glover did warn you that some of the horses would be mythological, which explains the presence of the centaur (#312) and unicorn (#320). But there are also inanimate objects here, including the knight from chess (#621), the clothes horse (#106), the horse shoe (#346), and even the song “the Horse With No Name” by the band America (#632).
At a mere 500 pages, this isn’t a book to be taken lightly. But I can honestly say without hyperbole that this is probably the greatest book ever written. 1000 Horses Fact and Fictional Throughout the Ages (Not Race Horses and Not Show Jumping Horses) by FJH Glover is, on the face of it, just a list of a 1000 horses or horse-related items, many of which aren’t even famous. Actually, its more than that because the author inexplicably doesn’t stop at 1000. However, read deeper, and you find so much more, in this wandering trek into the labyrinthine madness of an equine enthusiast.
Had enough? Didn’t think so.
Lets be honest; this isn’t a book that is going to appeal to many people. Not everyone wants to read a random list of horses that someone else wrote, especially when lots of them aren’t horses and many of them have descriptions that seem to have nothing to do with the horse in question. But those of you who undertake this challenge will not be disappointed. Well, actually, you might be disappointed, but at the very least you will have the same feeling as I do: one of profound respect for FJH Glover.
Wherever and whoever you are, FJH Glover, I just want to say this: congratulations. I don’t want to seem up on my high horse, but I believe you found a subject that you loved and you wrote a goddamn book about it. And you have now written more books than most of us assholes who only criticize. And what’s that you say? You have announced online that you are currently working on a second edition with 1000 new horses and you want people to email you suggestions? Well, I have already submitted my name as well as Jason the Horse, and I can only pray we make your high standards, and can be considered to be one of the 2000 great famous horses fact or fictional throughout the ages – not racing horses and not show jumping horses.