The Great Pursuit (Tom Sharpe)

The story of a publisher, Frensic, who convinces an unimaginative would-be author, Peter Piper, to pretend authorship of a wildly successful, pornographic novel. It’s a funny book, though not riotously so. Its plot is devious and twisted, but though there’s sex and a riot and some explosions, it seems restrained compared to other Sharpe books. The story twists and turns its way to a delicious conclusion. The book’s closing sections are hilarious. Heartily recommended to anyone who likes a laugh and enjoys seeing pomposity punctured.
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Calvin & Hobbes (Bill Watterson)

(I’m not reviewing a particular C & H book, as there’s so many. I recommend the Complete Collection. Unfortunately, some may need to mortgage their grandmother to afford that) It is amazing that comics can be so rich in content. We all know that the world is ‘unfair’, but Calvin and Hobbes makes it more evident than anyone else. As social critiques they may be rated on a par with many ‘serious’ writers. Calvin is a whiny, uncooperative 6-year-old kid who thinks the whole world revolves around him. The boy has a lot of imagination too, and he often uses them as a metaphor in real life, but he thinks that it really happened. Hobbes is the only one who believes him, but he’s a stuffed tiger, so he can make him believe everything. [Read more…]

A Bit Of Fry & Laurie ( UK 1987–1994 )

neddy-and-jackCambridge graduates Fry and Laurie would, by their appearance and elocution, fit the bill of upper class twits perfectly. And certainly a lot of the humour on offer in this series does test your sense of subtlety to the limit. But these two pithy academics also seem to have an interest in lampooning the lower classes they seem to have less in common with, so the humour covers a wider section of society than those this might be slightly more aimed at. You can see where David Mitchell and Robert Webb got their idea of a sketch show from. These two chaps. The usual gripe, that is common to most sketch shows of the time, is the unnecessary inclusion of musical numbers, but that aside its a thoroughly enjoyable show. [Read more…]

The Water Babies (Charles Kingsley)

charles kingsleyGive this book a go if you are interested in 19th century satire. It does read similar to `Gulliver’s Travels’ because of this social commentary and the fantastical world created. If you have always been curious about this story and what it has to offer, then I would definitely recommend dipping in and out to fully appreciate what Kingsley is trying to say. The second half does meander too much though and my interest did wander off. [Read more…]

VIVA MARIA! (France/Italy 1965)

2965697145_1_13_xJr3oxcGIn her native France, Brigitte Bardot enjoyed a similar reputation to that enjoyed by, say, Elizabeth Taylor in the Anglo-Saxon world; a great screen actress who also happened to be a great beauty. In the English-speaking world Bardot’s reputation was rather different, more that of a great beauty, idolized by millions of men who had never seen any of her films. [Read more…]

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