Profile for Simon Barrett > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Simon Barrett
Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,944,400
Helpful Votes: 931

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Simon Barrett "Il penseroso" (london, england)
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
No Title Available

2.0 out of 5 stars Conundrum, 16 April 2014
How did he get away with it? And for so long, too? This book, popularly supposed to speak for the working man, speaks down to him. It is fortunate that none of them, I'm sure, read it. They were much better off tending their allotments*. Would that the intelligentsia had done the same!

* of which, Hoggart tells us in one of very few informative passages, there were still, despite huge slum clearances and removals to houses with proper gardens (this was just before the tower block epidemic kicked in), one and a half million under cultivation. 'English working-class people like horizontal urban villages, not European-style high-rise flats', Hoggart wrote in 1988, typically wise after the event. Fat lot the planners cared in any case


The Uses of Literacy: Aspects of Working-Class Life (Penguin Modern Classics) by Hoggart, Richard Published by Penguin Classics (2009)
The Uses of Literacy: Aspects of Working-Class Life (Penguin Modern Classics) by Hoggart, Richard Published by Penguin Classics (2009)
by Richard Hoggart
Edition: Paperback

2.0 out of 5 stars Period piece, 15 April 2014
Time has not been kind to this jaw-dropping congeries of assumptions, generalisations (from an extremely narrow experiential base) and pontification. Sadly, my dears, it - is - a - hoot!!


The Fictional Man
The Fictional Man
by Al Ewing
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.77

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars When it got to the screenplay I baled out, 14 April 2014
This review is from: The Fictional Man (Paperback)
After a Canadian taking over the London underground (253) and an Australian attempting Jewish epic (A Fraction of the Whole), now we have a Brit's spin on America. What was that about writing about what you know?


253
253
by Geoff Ryman
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Same difference, 14 April 2014
This review is from: 253 (Paperback)
Apparently on line this is about 'how intrinsically similar people are', whereas in print it's about how different they are. Ryman is a Canadian writer of slipstream. Slipstream is genre with pretensions


The National Lampoon Encyclopedia of Humor
The National Lampoon Encyclopedia of Humor
by Michael O'Donoghue
Edition: Paperback

2.0 out of 5 stars Misspent youths, 14 April 2014
Some all-star talent got mixed up in this. The National Lampoon was a spinoff from the Harvard Lampoon. It thankfully gave up the ghost in 1998. The sort of people who got their kicks from this no longer read the printed word for pleasure

Actually I'm gonna upgrade from one-star, having just come across the inimitable MK Brown's Mercury Messenger of God - though presumably if you invested in her collected comics, out last month, you won't need this


After the War: Novel and English Society Since 1945
After the War: Novel and English Society Since 1945
by D. J. Taylor
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Bland, 14 April 2014
It's quite something to have made this period's fiction (up to Thatcher's exit) even duller than it actually was. Not unhelpful on (sympathetic to, even) the troubling phenomenon that was Richard Hoggart, Taylor rightly points out that, while the middle classes mainly felt WW2 'as an impenetrable shutter brought down over a world of vanishing plenty', for the workers the succeeding era seemed 'a limitless window of opportunity' - though this was not merely, as he puts it, the 'fictional sensibility'. In the event most classes eventually prospered

Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar and Jennifer Dawson's unforgettable The Ha-Ha are conspicuously absent. Ivy Compton-Burnett? Was she not still a hawk-like presence? And might I put in a case for Dan Jacobson's Confessions of Josef Baisz, or would that be deemed insufficiently 'English'? Though he's more interested in 'currents' than in individual appreciation (easier just to 'compare and contrast') it would be good, twenty years on, to cajole the complaisant Taylor back into the ring, with the gloves off this time


A Fraction Of The Whole
A Fraction Of The Whole
by Steve Toltz
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 'Inaugural corpse'- or, I should live so long, 14 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
'[I]t's always been a little dream of mine for someone to hear firsthand about my childhood.' I'll bet. Fiction for the time-rich. I skip with reluctance, but by the sub-poetic flights of page 33 ('I saw all the men wipe down toilet seats before urinating but never after') swiftly followed by the outback portentousness of 'I guess one man's burning bush is another man's spot fire', I was metaphorically hurling this at the wall. Funny? At page 60 the laugh's on me


The Animal Side
The Animal Side
by Jean-Christophe Bailly
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.26

1.0 out of 5 stars Mon Dieu! Transfixed by the headlights, 14 April 2014
This review is from: The Animal Side (Paperback)
'[O]nly a beast can burst forth this way.' An object lesson in how not to translate from the French - why, even the title's Fringlish! (The Animal's Side might do the trick.) First word to leap off the page was happenstance on page 66; we might say fortuitously (casuellement?). Unreadable tout court


1001: Comics You Must Read Before You Die
1001: Comics You Must Read Before You Die
by Paul Gravett
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Before I die? Crikey - how long have I got?, 9 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Now reissued in a hardback that's cheaper than the paperback? Curious. So what's the difference between this and Ilex's 500 Essential Graphic Novels? Well, apart from the fact that this one's remit is wider (the subtitle's unclear, but strips are admitted as well as books# it is chronological, in twenty- and then in ten-year chunks. So, handy, but nowise definitive, despite those sixty-seven contributors covering twenty-seven countries. Five Tintins? Seven Goscinnys? What a waste #how many of the ur-Superman stories were included, I wonder? There is no character index unless the character's name is the title# whereas a Caran d'Ache, under one token title, gets a whole career encapsulated in half a page. And exactly how many English-language women are there? I've come across three* so far, but will there be more than ten? The commentary's often crass, to pad out the page #'If one wants to understand the United States, there is a large canon of literature on which to draw. Take, for example, Little Orphan Annie' - or how about 'Times were extremely difficult in Weimar Republic Germany between the world wars'?# When not relying on covers - sadly, half the time - the pictures are frequently delightful #see the sumptuously reproduced Buck Rodgers on page 69# but I'm not convinced of the wisdom of jumbling all countries together thusly, preferring The Essential Guide to World Comics #which Paul Gravett gives five stars on amazon.com, bless him, and which is just what it says on the tin# with individual country volumes where appropriate. And where oh where are my favourites? I wouldn't expect to find Ratman, still less Julia #the Italian scene, in vitality rivalling the French, is woefully under-represented#, but Dilbert? Monty? And so very many American strips, but no room for Tiger Tim and Mrs Hippo's Bruin Boys #don't laugh - they were seminal# and the incomparable Dot and Carrie? If one omission cuts me to the quick, it's assuredly Wonder Warthog. Wha-? But perhaps the mission to meld the uniquely British and then pan-European phenomenon of children's comics with newspaper strips, comic books #as American as apple pie# and ostensibly adult sequential art #mature readers only? up to a point# was always going to be a quixotic one. And where's political art? Political cartoons - there's grown-up for you - are going sequential: Ted Rall, Tom Tomorrow, Ward Sutton, Ruben Bolling #Tom the Dancing Bug# - if you don't know this stuff you need Ted Rall's #twelve-years-old now# New Subversive Political Cartoonists - KAL #The Economist#, Tom Humberstone #New Statesman#, David Ziggy Greene #Private Eye#.. but 'comics' #consider the name# were never other than a protean, fissiparous form. This selection - weighted, understandably, towards the present - is going to date rapidly. Buy now! The captions for the full-page illustrations are lame and redundant, the 'similar reads' boxes hardly any better. Blank space is cool

* Marie Duval #Ally Sloper#, Nell Brinkley, Mary Tourtel


1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die: The Ultimate Guide to Comic Books, Graphic Novels and Manga
1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die: The Ultimate Guide to Comic Books, Graphic Novels and Manga
by Terry Gilliam
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.58

3.0 out of 5 stars Before I die? Crikey - how long have I got?, 8 April 2014
Now reissued in a hardback that's cheaper than the paperback? Curious. So what's the difference between this and Ilex's 500 Essential Graphic Novels? Well, apart from the fact that this one's remit is wider (the subtitle's unclear, but strips are admitted as well as books) it is chronological, in twenty- and then in ten-year chunks. So, handy, but nowise definitive, despite those sixty-seven contributors covering twenty-seven countries. Five Tintins? Seven Goscinnys? What a waste (how many of the ur-Superman stories were included, I wonder? there's no character index unless the character's name is the title) whereas a Caran d'Ache, under one token title, gets a whole career encapsulated in half a page. And exactly how many English-language women are there? I've come across three* so far, but will there be more than ten? The commentary's often crass, to pad out the page ('If one wants to understand the United States, there is a large canon of literature on which to draw. Take, for example, Little Orphan Annie' - or how about 'Times were extremely difficult in Weimar Republic Germany between the world wars'?) When not relying on covers - sadly, half the time - the pictures are frequently delightful (see the sumptuously reproduced Buck Rodgers on page 69) but I'm not convinced of the wisdom of jumbling all countries together thusly, preferring The Essential Guide to World Comics (to which Paul Gravett awards five stars on amazon.com, bless him, and which is just what it says on the tin) with individual country volumes where appropriate. And where oh where are my favourites? I wouldn't expect to find Ratman, still less Julia (the Italian scene, in vitality rivalling the French, is woefully under-represented), but Dilbert? Monty? And so very many American strips, but no room for Tiger Tim and Mrs Hippo's Bruin Boys (don't laugh - they were seminal) and the incomparable Dot and Carrie? If one omission cuts me to the quick, it's assuredly Wonder Warthog. Wha-? But perhaps the mission to meld the uniquely British and then pan-European phenomenon of children's comics with newspaper strips, comic books (as American as apple pie) and ostensibly adult sequential art (mature readers only? up to a point) was always going to be a quixotic one. And where's political art? Political cartoons - there's grown-up for you - are going sequential: Ted Rall, Tom Tomorrow, Ward Sutton, Ruben Bolling (Tom the Dancing Bug) - if you don't know this stuff you need Ted Rall's (twelve-years-old now) New Subversive Political Cartoonists - KAL (The Economist: a compilation covering 35 years' work may be obtained from that journal), Tom Humberstone (New Statesman), David Ziggy Greene (Private Eye).. but 'comics' (consider the name) were never other than a protean, fissiparous form. This selection - weighted, understandably, towards the present - is going to date rapidly. Buy now! The captions for the full-page illustrations are lame and redundant, the 'similar reads' boxes hardly any better. Blank space is cool

* Marie Duval (Ally Sloper), Nell Brinkley, Mary Tourtel


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20