Books

Teach Yourself Mahjong

In 2006, I wrote the updates that became the 3rd edition of the late David Pritchard’s book Teach Yourself Mahjong published by Hodder Education in 2007.

As well as various revisions and corrections, I wrote two new chapters. Chapter 10 covers the new Chinese Official International Rules (国标麻将) which are similar to the Old Hong Kong rules, and chapter 14 discusses playing mahjong on computers.

The cover of Teach Yourself Mahjong, 3rd edition which clearly didn’t believe in capital letters.

Mahjong will teach you everything from buying a set to mastering the game simply and quickly. It introduces each phase of play with clear explanations and instructions. Not only does it explain the basics of scoring, settlements and penalties, it also offers advice on strategy. Full coverage of all the rules is accompanied by details of the latest technology, in an essential handbook for novices and improving players alike.”

Back cover

  • Publisher: Hodder Education
  • Year: 2007
  • Edition: 3rd
  • Pages: 208
  • ISBN: 978-0-340-92726-7

I like to write back—a collection of silly replies to unsolicited email

Coming in 2022…

Cover of I like to write back (subject to change)

“What do you do with unsolicited emails? Ignore them? Delete them? Let your spam filter swallow them? What if you were to reply to them?

“That’s exactly what Gareth did in October 2009. Fed up of people wasting his time sending him emails about search engine optimisation opportunities, or who wanted to place adverts and guest posts on his blog, instead of rolling his eyes, tutting loudly and deleting them, Gareth wrote back.

“At the time, Gareth was the web architect at Scotland’s oldest university. He feigned ignorance, however, about the whole web design process and with the help of his (fictional) neighbour Colin (who runs the local ‘internet shop’, as they call it, in his village) he replied to these emails in a rather over-familiar style, taking delight to explain in great detail why his reply had been delayed, and often commenting in real time about the antisocial ongoings-on of his other (fictional) neighbour, Mr Parkinson. But would they write back to him?

“Inspired by The Timewaster Letters by Robin Cooper, this is a personal collection of silly emails spanning 13 years, from 2009 to 2022.”

— Back cover

What people have been saying about I like to write back:

“Taking inspiration from The Timewaster Letters by Robin Cooper, this is a complete waste of everybody’s time, his, theirs, and now mine. Enjoy!”

Danny Curtis, school administrator and email user

“A delightful read overflowing with character. I heartily enjoy it when the spammers reply as (convincing) humans. I love Colin from the local internet shop and was inspired to visit my local internet shop—they had the internet on CDs, if you can believe that! I encourage you to read this.”

Aaron T Lott, developer, author and email user

“Over the period of a 35-plus-year friendship, I have asked Gareth for many things. None of these have been as inappropriate, filthy, bizarre, erotic or frankly… Scottish as that which you will read here. I hope the writers of these do better than me. All I ever persuaded Gareth to give me was [redacted on legal advice].”

Nick Morgan, priest, singer and email user
  • Publisher: TBC
  • Year: 2022
  • Edition: 1st
  • Pages: 100
  • ISBN: TBC