Derbyshire Cricket – Peakfan’s blog: Book Review: How To Be A Cricket Fan: A Life in Fifty Artefacts by Matthew Appleby

The first cricket book that I have read in 2023 is by the experienced writer, Matthew Appleby. This is his seventh book and he is on sure ground with this biography, of his late father, Edgar.

In fact it is part biography, partly autobiographical and shows how the author grew up with a father who was cricket-mad, a serious collector of its memorabilia and literature, as well as a keen player, until age took its toll.

Each chapter focuses on a particular collectible and it is an engaging read. The book shows how the memorabilia and cricket collecting market has grown dramatically over his lifetime, the prices paid by his father seemingly good value in the modern era.

There are plenty of amusing anecdotes, as his father goes from cricket obsessive to being a renowned speaker and statistician of the game, getting to know many of those who played it and coming across as both a great character and a serious trencherman.

For many years he and his wife ran a bookshop in Keswick, as well as a market stall in the town. By the time I got to the end of the book, my overriding feeling was that I wished I had known this a few years ago, and I would have undoubtedly enjoyed a trip to the Lakes and some cricket purchases to complete the trip.

It is an enjoyable book and once again Pitch Publishing are to be commended for their willingness to publish a wide range of sporting books. Not necessarily those that guarantee huge sales, but ones where the tale deserves the telling. It will be of particular interest to the serious collector, although I have no means of verifying the values quoted for some of the items mentioned. 

I regard myself as a cricket fan and collector – certainly of Derbyshire-related material, but came to the conclusion that I am very much dipping a toe into the market, in comparison to Appleby senior.

I hope that the book does well. It is not without error, but I haven’t read another like it and for that reason alone it made for a good read.

How To Be A Cricket Fan: a life in 50 artefacts is written by Matthew Appleby and published by Pitch Publishing, priced £18.99

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