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English Teacher "stuartyellop"

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The Female Eunuch (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)
The Female Eunuch (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)
by Germaine Greer
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All Men Should Read This Book, 18 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Ms. Greer has often stated that her specialist subject is the Obvious. In conversation and in print, she observes modern society and comments on what she sees. We might have cause to doubt her judgement (is a bedtime kiss between father and daughter a sexual act?), but we can always trust her to be considerate and insightful.

'The Female Eunuch' is one of those books that has become infamous. Depending on whose opinion one respects, it is either a passionate cry for the emancipation of Western Woman, or a psychotic, misandrist manifesto. None who reads this book can honestly say that they take neither position. This is perhaps the secret of its longevity.

As a man, I found the book revelatory. Ms. Greer's description of a typical, urban, married woman could easily apply to my mother. Passages on the 'middle-class myth of marriage' resonated deeply, especially because I reject the idea for the very reasons that Ms. Greer cites. It is as though the author read my mind and described my neuroses.

Please read this book. Ignore the critics. Come to your own conclusions. That would be all that Ms. Greer has ever done.


Zone One
Zone One
by Colson Whitehead
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Night of the Literary Dead, 21 Jan 2013
This review is from: Zone One (Paperback)
Mr. Whitehead has achieved the improbable, writing a zombie novel that allows literary characters to thrive in a pulp environment. Few horror writers remember that readers need not be afraid of the monster, but be afraid for the monster's victims. Characters in 'Zone One' are flawed, fragile and fumbling, recognisably human and relatively humbling. The author understands that, in our minds, the past, the present, and the future are not exclusive zones. Reading this novel became a journey not only through New York, but through events that led to each character's situation. You could use this novel in defence of genre fiction. Failing that, you could simply keep the treasure to yourself.


This Book Is Full Of Spiders: Seriously Dude Dont Touch It
This Book Is Full Of Spiders: Seriously Dude Dont Touch It
by David Wong
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better Than the First, 27 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
'This Book Is Full of Spiders' could have proved that Mr. Wong had only one story to tell. It manages however to be a scintillating, surreal novel. I cared about all the characters, even the villains. Episodes involving supernatural creatures managed to be fresh and vivid. Some of the humour is puerile, but never inappropriate. Dialogue felt natural and characterful. Not one word, in short, was superfluous.

I have two problems with the novel. First, the 'furgun' felt like a random addition. Second, many details should be familiar to Mr. Wong's readers. Characters give facts about human behaviour and genre tropes that can be found in Mr. Wong's articles on Cracked. These are the only reasons why I gave the novel four stars instead of five. Buy it please without hesitation. Hopefully, Mr. Wong will write another.


The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky
Edition: Paperback
Price: 4.47

5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece, 21 Oct 2012
Stephen Chbosky has written an extraordinary novel. There is much in the book to do with 'The Catcher in the Rye', but the style is reminiscent of Hemingway. Charlie is a sympathetic character who describes the actions of his peers with detachment that is never cool. Written as a series of diary entries, 'Perks' reveals a human truth in every passage. Even Charlie's reticent writing style is a mystery to be solved. Potential readers should be warned that, while the novel is for teenagers, it discusses adult themes. This is not a fault. Mr. Chbosky treats his readership with respect for their intelligence. I can only hope that the recent film adaption is as moving and as engaging.


The Virgin Suicides: Reissued
The Virgin Suicides: Reissued
by Jeffrey Eugenides
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Close to Perfection, 21 Oct 2012
This is one of the most beautiful novels that I've ever read. I recommend it highly as a successor to 'The Catcher in the Rye'. There are many sympathetic characters, but none is perfect. Eugenides meditates on what compels adolescents to commit suicide, but is never mawkish or hysterical. This is not just a novel that makes one think - it makes one feel.


Strictly English: The correct way to write ... and why it matters
Strictly English: The correct way to write ... and why it matters
by Simon Heffer
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware False Prophets!, 14 Oct 2012
Simon Heffer struggles to prove that English writing is in decline. He makes many points that are sensible. He argues that students should learn how to construct English sentences. He argues too that poor expression might be read as evidence of stupidity. However, Heffer compromises his premise. He disappointed me when he began to reveal his prejudices.

Heffer cannot understand why British people use American terms when there are British ones, but the reason is obvious. Those who use Americanisms learnt their English with the aid of popular culture. There is nothing wrong with this, but Heffer finds it strangely abhorrent.

Heffer is also guilty of intellectual dishonesty. He likes to claim that George Orwell is the finest writer of modern English and cites the man's work frequently to justify himself. This is where his points collapse. Consider this extract from an essay by Orwell:

"[Good writing] ... has nothing to do ... with the setting up of a `standard English' which must never be departed from ... [or] with correct grammar and syntax, which are of no importance so long as one makes one's meaning clear, or with the avoidance of Americanisms, or with having what is called a `good prose style' ... all [that is] needed is to let the meaning choose the word, and not the other way around."

This extract comes from 'Politics and the English Language'. Heffer quotes from the essay extensively. He must have read it all and known that it nullifies his premise. Still, he would rather you listened to him and denounce those who contradict him. Rather than learn the finer points of writing, I learnt one rule: Heffer is always right - even when he's wrong.


Complete Prose Tales
Complete Prose Tales
by Alexandr Sergeyevitch Pushkin
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.56

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Try Other Work by Pushkin First, 4 Sep 2012
This review is from: Complete Prose Tales (Paperback)
As the British think of Shakespeare, so the Russians think of Pushkin. This anthology, however, shows that Pushkin was more of a poet than a storyteller. Tales like 'The Moor of Peter the Great' start well and promise more, but Pushkin leaves them unresolved and the reader frustrated. His prose is clean, but summative, as though he would rather write reports than tell a story well. Readers who are new to Pushkin should not think this gathering of duds a worthy introduction.


Robopocalypse (Robo 1)
Robopocalypse (Robo 1)
by Daniel H. Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.43

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad., 22 Aug 2012
This review is from: Robopocalypse (Robo 1) (Paperback)
Mr. Wilson's novel attracted me with its cover, amused me with its title, and engaged me with its plot. My only complaint is that it is shallow. 'Robopocalypse' allows a few of its characters to develop, but most of them serve as cannon fodder. It might seem silly to expect it to be introspective, but how else can we care about the victims of a war? This lack of detail prevented me from enjoying the final victory as much as the characters seemed to. 'Robopocalypse', however, remains an enjoyable romp that will distract you for a few hours.


Making History
Making History
by Stephen Fry
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

5.0 out of 5 stars How Does He Do It?, 3 Aug 2012
This review is from: Making History (Paperback)
I started this book at five o'clock one evening and finished it at four the next morning. Fry can write character introspection and historical detail without sacrificing pace or patience. His novel hops between modern England, Weimar Germany and an alternative U.S.A. without seeming laboured or confused. His dialogue sparkles with wit and insight that have become his trademarks. There are elements of science fiction lifted from a bad episode of 'Star Trek', but readers will forget these silly devices and enjoy a brilliant tale of the past rewritten. My only regret is that I finished it so quickly.


The Book Thief
The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The Book Thief Stole My Heart, 13 April 2012
This review is from: The Book Thief (Paperback)
Markus Zusak wrote a tale of the Second World War with a difference. Most people, I imagine, when asked to name victims of the war, would think of German civilians last. Zusak, in his novel, reflects on their suffering under Nazism and Death, the omniscient narrator, reveals the cultural cost of war. Characters are intimately described as flawed, recognisable people, only to be killed as war progresses. Zusak describes the Holocaust, referring to Dachau and to Auschwitz, but focusses on the emotional toll, rather than details of the slaughter. He manages to reveal that, as much as there were villains and innocents, there were also those caught in the middle, confused, craven, or crushed. I have decided to read anything that Mr. Zusak writes and encourage others to start with this fine book.


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