The Timewaster Letters


The Timewaster LettersUnder his pseudonym, Robin Cooper, Robert Popper wrote The Timewaster Letters series – a series of madcap letters to everyone from the Campaign for Courtesy to the British Halibut Association.

So far, the books have sold over 300,000 copies.


  • Paperback of the Week – The Guardian
  • interview with Vanity Fair
  • Pop Culture Zoo – A Chat With ‘Timewaster’ Robert Popper
  • Ain’t It Cool News Review
    • deanspicer

      I love this book I borrowed it off my girlfriends dad. It made me giggle too myself on the train like someone with a psychiatric problem. Thank you, Robert Popper.

    • You're v v v welcome.

    • A wonderful book, highly amusing, the funniest book i've read all milleniatum.

      This is the 5th time i've tried to comment on this, its not easy!

    • Hoorah! Thanks.

    • Quango

      A fabulously funny book. I laughed and LAUGHED and LAUGHed. My wife laughed so much a small bit of wee came out, but since having our second child, that does happen every 7 weeks or so.

      The small details had me in hysterics. “Poor water boy” may not seem too hilarious, but in the context of the letter to the Belgian Ambassador, that single phrase had me howling for several (9) minutes and laughing the next morning (Thursday); at least I think it was Thursday because I remember seeing an offal lorry on that day.

    • Thanks so much. Glad it made you laugh lots.

    • Thanks so much. Glad it made you laugh lots.

    • Steve

      I loved this book and I didn't know it was you Robert! Well done!

    • Vx

      She bit her knee as she fell over – worth reading the book for that image alone (although the whole book was laugh out funny (notice I didnt use LOL) although I'm only up to October ..). You are sheer genius!

    • Thanks. Not sure of the genius bit but I was quite happy with the biting of the knee idea! Thanks again.

    • Therese Rink

      Being a 48 year old woman in the middle of life with all its special challenges for eg. surviving the economy and working at a really crappy place this book has lightened my life and when I feel depressed I read a few pages for instant therapy!! Well done you are a humerous writing genius

    • Thank you so much for letting me know. Am so pleased it makes you smile 🙂

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    • Eggy

      The dog and b******k. I have never laughed as much at a books contents as i have yours. You made a very grumpy middle aged bloke very happy. The book did bring tears of laughter to my eyes.

    • Type your reply…

    • Why, thank you Sir!

    • Paul Poulton

      My friend Karl sent me a gift yesterday of what must be one of the funniest books ever written. The Timewaster Letters.
      The problem is I am annoying all those who are near me whenever I read it, because I make that explosive spitty sound when a fit of laughter erupts. It must be quite vexing. I’m half way through the book so I have to carry on exasperating people for a while.

    • I love this 1 star review form “there is no wit or humour in this book. It serves no useful purpose, unless we have another cold winter, then perhaps it will be useful as kindling”. This made me order it.

    • I LOVE this book. Coincidentally i lived at a Brondesbury Villas address a few years ago. So there’s a special affinity for me. Love your turn on the Absolute Radio podcasts too. 

    • Hi ex-neighbour! Thanks!

    • Cheers!

    • What a sensible thing to do! Ta very much!

    • Most amusing – I now try to find wasp mustard in my weekly visit to waitrose – much mirth

    • Kichijen

      This is the only book that has ever made me cry laughing. Given that I suffer from depression and have done since I was a kid this is a good thing. Comedy really can save lives. Thank you!

    • Cheers!

    • Nick

      Can’t believe I only just found this – superb! I had to stop reading temporarily as the laughing was getting out of control… Great work – loved the publisher letters re Catty!

    • Thanks so much!

    • Khogulan

      I want this book so bad but I’m in Malaysia and I don’t think i can find this anywhere here 🙁 Sigh

    • Ahh. Amazon will have it. Thnanks

    • dobbie

      For 5 years we have believed Lord Buckle’s phrase to be : “Patience is a virtue upon which one cannot rely in this cruel world in which we live”.
      we have often used this sentence in the family to remind us of the good times we had reading your book (the kids would read your book out loud when we were driving on our summer holidays) and to remind us that crazy is often a question of perspective.
      I do not know where the book is now and my husband is having his fishing boat re-decorated and wants to have the side printed with Lord Buckle’s sentence (painted in grebe), I think he will use the phrase as we remember it, I hope you do not mind we will give Lord Buckle credit for the quote.
      We really loved your letters, the tone is perfect nice and friendly and completely wacky. You have written a great book if you are ever in the South of France we would love to offer you a drink and show you the lord buckle fishing boat (I will send you a photo.

      Would you mind terribly telling me the exact sentence used in your letters ? and if it is not as I remember it then in future letters maybe you could amend the story to read the way we like it ?

      best regards
      Agat & Ian

    • Ha ha! Thanks so much for your lovely message. That is so great. I would love to see that painted on your boat. The exact words are:
      ‘Dependence is not unfathomable in this cruel world we live in…’ Lord Buckles was in the Return of the Timewaster Letters books.

      Anyway, best wishes ad if you do genuinely paint those words, do send a pic!

      Best wishes,