GP’s quirky stories from years in practice is set to be bestseller

‘Low self-esteem support group meets Thursday – use the back door’: Retired doctor’s quirky, bizarre and poignant stories from his years in practice is set to become a festive bestseller

  • Dr Philip Rhys Evans compiled humorous statements spotted over the years 
  • They come from signs, parish newsletters, cricket games and his travels 
  • A Country Doctor’s Commonplace Book hailed as an essential stocking-filler 

A doctor’s hilarious collection of quirky stories, letters and double meanings looks set to be a Christmas bestseller. 

Retired Suffolk GP Dr Philip Rhys Evans is lined up to be this season’s literary hit as reviewers have praised A Country Doctor’s Commonplace Book.

The stocking-filler is a run of bizarre statements taken newspapers, notice boards and Church of England newsletters.

One example, taken from Lark Valley Benefice Newsletter, reads: ‘Low self-esteem support group will meet Thursday at 7 p.m., please use the back door.’ 

This book is being hailed as a Christmas bestseller and consists of quirky stories and humorous statements as well as strange letters

The author’s travels have also impacted the collection, as he recalls a strange sign he saw while watching Pakistan play England at the cricket in Dubai. It read: ‘The dress code is very simple. Just keep your clothes on.’ 

Dr Evans and his wife, Christine, have been compiling the various snapshots of eccentricity and humour as a joint project over the years.


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Independent literary magazine Slightly Foxed picked it up to publish it as a small print run for its subscribers.

But demand has grown for the book after popularity swelled due to word of mouth and The Spectator has hailed it as a ‘delight’.

The doctor (right) meets readers at the launch of his book, which is set to be a hit for the festive season 

Waterstones’ non-fiction buyer told The Observer that the book follows a rich tradition of stocking filler miscellany. 

‘The novelty stocking-filler book has been a staple for Waterstones for well over a decade now: grammar, eccentric measurements and the odd etiquette of yesteryear, the quirky and miscellaneous can still dominate our bestseller lists at Christmas,’ he said. ‘It’s always a thrill to see which book takes off.’ 

A spokesperson for Slightly Foxed said the response to the book has been ‘encouraging’ adding that its previous hit, Terms & Conditions, sent the office into ‘meltdown’. He said Dr Evans’ book ‘is doing very well’.  

Dr Evans believes that his career as a countryside doctor made him the ideal candidate to write the book as being a GP ‘exposes one to an extraordinary range of people and situations – always fascinating, sometimes absurd, often sad and poignant’. 

 

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