by A. Waiter
John Murray, HK$208
It is a sign of the times that John Murray has gone from publishing Byron to printing blogs. This book, which began as www.waiterrant.net, is a 304-page insight into the lot of wait staff. Similar books have sold well, including Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, but it's hard to believe serving food justifies an entire volume. Then again this subject is familiar to every reader: few won't have eaten in restaurants. That adds to and detracts from the book. We learn little new but may enjoy confirming ways in which waiters exact revenge: for the anonymous protagonist of Waiter Rant, a method guaranteed to embarrass ghastly guests involved informing them their credit cards had been rejected; payback for miserly tips was a table next to the toilet. 'A. Waiter', whose identity was revealed by Russell Crowe after he wrote a blog on the Australian actor, started serving tables at 30 reckoning, like every one else in his profession, it was a temporary job. Seven years later and still front of house, Steve Dublanica has put his experience to use. Poorly edited and flabby in parts, the book does a bad job of hiding its origins. But it is entertaining and a good reminder of how customers should behave - and what to expect if they don't.