The Cult of LEGO

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I'm actually going to keep my review brief because Mariann Asanuma has done such a good job of reviewing it at her Model Building Secrets blog that I recommend you read that then continue reading here for my opinion on it.

So, what did I think...

Well, overall I liked it and I think any AFOL will enjoy reading it. I'm not sure that AFOLs are the target audience though since we already know most of what's written and will probably also know many of the people and models that are featured. However, I think it will serve to bring closet/borderline AFOLs into the hobby because one thing it does make clear is that, if you love the brick, it's OK to, and you are not alone!

It will also be useful for educating NLSOs and proving to them that you are not as weird as you may seem, playing with LEGO as an adult :-)

There are some observations that I'll make which I hope will be read constructively:

  • I didn't like the page design. It's very inconsistent. Some spreads are clean and well laid out but most have distracting backgrounds with the text inset in white boxes.
  • The quality of the photography is variable. This is a bugbear of mine with Brick Journal as well. I know why it is -- because the photos are contributed by many people who've used differering equipment under less than ideal lighting conditions -- but I'm not sure how it could be solved other than have one person take all the pictures in a controlled environment, which I admit is not practical given the subject matter.
  • The online LEGO community doesn't get much of a mention, just a couple of pages, which given the importance it plays in holding the community together, is disappointing, and brushing off Brickset as 'Peeron's European counterpart' does it no justice at all!
  • It's very US-centric. Most of the models, events and people are from/in the USA. If you're in the USA you probably won't be bothered by this, of course.

Anyway, despite these niggles it's still an excellent work and worth adding to your book collection.

It's available from Amazon, about $25 in the USA, and £18 in the UK.

19 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

Thanks for the review Huw. Might ask Father Christmas to bring me this, though I am peeved on your behalf by the dismissive comment re Brickset!
By the way, my bugbear (as you know :) is typos; just a couple in your article that have me itching for my red pen: weird and constructively, plus "tthere" needs correcting. Sorry...

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By in United States,

^^ Thank you LIT, now sorted :-)

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By in United States,

Thanks! This is a great review, and it sounds like a great review as well. I believe I will be getting this book. :-)

However, I do feel your pain about Brickset and I agree with you that a book on the subject should not be totally US-centric. Being from the U.S., I still understand that a core part of the Lego community is in Europe, possibly much more so than over on the other side of the pond.

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By in United States,

RE: "However, I think it will serve to bring closet/borderline AFOLs into the hobby"

What I am about to say is difficult. This is a decision I have struggled with for most of my adult life. With the strength of those in this online AFOL community, I think it is time that I admit to myself, and to the World... I am an AFOL. For years I have been going in to Toys R Us and Lego stores under the guise that I was buy Lego's for some child or friend of the family. And yes, I too know the shame of ordered them online and waiting for them to arrive in non discriminate brown paper boxes with only the UPS and mailman sharing my secret shame. No more!

So there I am out; and with my admittance, a huge weight is lifted off my shoulders. I AM AN AFOL!

Now I don't think I will be joining in any AFOL pride parades anytime soon, but with the courage to come out of the closet and with the support of my fellow Brickseter's...perhap someday I will have that sort of courage. Thank you

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By in Australia,

I bought this book from Amazon yesterday, before reading your review. That was a very reasonable review, but at the price they are charging, the shortcomings are quite understandable. I reckon a professionally produced book with contributions from AFOLs worldwide would be double the price. And I would pay it too!

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By in United States,

It looks interesting. I was previewing it on Amazon; I never knew the thing about the bogs. :b

And it does bother me that it's mostly US stuff, all though this is probably due to the fact that it was written in the US, or at least seems to have been, because they put money in dollars, but not pounds.

@voypro: congrats!

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By in United States,

Just wondering---- is everyone here an AFOL? I'm just wondering because I'm 13, and I don't want to feel like an outsider.

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By in United States,

@ Huw -- Thanks for such a kind compliment on my review. :)

Yes, the book was written in the US by Joe Meno, the creator of BrickJournal, and John Baichtal, a contributor to Make Magazine and Geekdad blog. I agree that it is mainly US focused.

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By in United States,

A part of me wants to buy this, but the practical side of me says that it will just take $30 away from my Lego-buying. Limited funds. In the end I'd rather have more Lego than a book about it.

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By in United Kingdom,

Just ordered from Amazon, and noticed they won't be dispatching until 20 Nov, in other words they don't have it in stock yet. But one of the market place sellers does. Price is about the same too, taking into account delivery.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ They have had it in stock though; I pre-ordered a copy from Amazon.uk & it was delivered over a week ago. I've been away with work, so haven't had a chance to look through it yet. If they are saying 'no stock' it's because they've sold out, not because they haven't received any yet, so it looks like it's selling better than they expected :-)

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By in United Kingdom,

^^ Ordered mine from the Book Depository. They had it in stock and arrived next day for me last week. Same price as Amazon with delivery added.

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By in United States,

^^ Yes, mine came from an Amazon pre-order as well.

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By in United States,

"and brushing off Brickset as 'Peeron's European counterpart' does it no justice at all!"

agreed. for what it's worth, i am a frequent reader (nearly daily) of brickset.com. while i am cognizant of the fact that you are not based in the US, i have never felt that your content was euro-centric, or anywhere-else-centric for that matter. i believe that you and your staff do a great job of covering the globe with respect to events and sales of our beloved brick.

that said, i'll probably buy the book, read it, and enjoy it. :)

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By in United States,

Isn't Brickset older than Peeron? So how could you say it's Peeron's European counterpart? I visit Brickset every day, and Peeron sometimes, but I never thought as Peeron and Brickset as being counterparts of each other.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ they aren't counterparts. They do different things. I'm surprised at Joe making such a statement, or at least letting it through proof reading. I certainly never think of Peeron as 'American' or Brickset as 'European'; they are both global in their scope.

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By in United States,

^There very different sites, peeron is all about inventioris and instructions, and brickset is more set based with reviews and news.

It looks like an interesting book, despite its defects.

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