This book is collection of a wealth of essays, reviews, radio sketches and other oddments from various sources, so inevitably is something of a mixed bag. The majority of the pieces - including the fictionalised ramblings of The Liar's Professor Trefusis - take the form of short essays where Fry bemoans the state of society, both here and abroad. What saves these pieces from becoming tiresome is that Fry's observations (or, to put it more bluntly - moans) are wrapped up in both his ironic humour and an invigorating prose driven by his love of words. There is one slight problem with reading the pieces en masse however, and that is that Fry does have a tendencies to repeat his favourite anecdotes, arguments, and jokes - sometimes variations of the same line can be found repeated here not once but three or four times. In the books defence, these pieces were never originally written to sit next to each other, but having been collected a rather more rigorous editing might have eliminated some of this repetition. Still, an intelligent and amusing non-fiction collection, Paperweight is perhaps better experienced in small chunks than as one continuous text.
This is actually a collection of tonnes of different articles written over the years for a variety of publications. Most are only 1 to 3 pages long, and fit as many laughs into each one as you would normally get in one whole 'comedy book'. Steven's veiwpoints are so refreshing on so many issues, yet at the same time you think to yourself, "why has no-one though of this before ?". If your sense of humour is the kind that likes originality and new twists (with surreal and quirky touches) then this is what you will laugh at. It turned me into a big fan of his, but I did not enjoy his novels so much. This format I think gives you the best of him. He says in the intro. that he used to get loads of desperate requests from readers for copies of articles he'd done; later you see why. Actually the introduction is one of the best bits as he is SO ironic, modest and more witty than anyone I've ever read. In fact simply, Fry = Wit. If anyone else finds a book similar then please, please contact me.
If you enjoy Fry's humour (and in many respects even if you don't) you will simply love this colleciton of newspaper essays and radio transcripts. I've always enjoyed Fry's intelligent humour and it is on show here better than anywhere else. I would say the highlight of the book is a series of transcripts of Donald Trefusus a university professor covering all manner of strange topics. It's a strange book to try and explain, and I don't think I've done a very good job myself, so I'll just say that it is well worth owning - you will not be disappointed.
Much as I like 'The Liar', I reckon 'Paperweight' for Stephen Fry's best book. This hefty but unputdownable volume collects a great tranche of Mr. Fry's reviews, essays, columns for (e.g.) 'The Listener' and (maybe best of the lot) 'radio essays' delivered by his professorial alter ego, Donald Trefusis. ('Paperweight' also contains his early play 'Latin!', which makes a truly eye-watering read decades after its first performance and is really not indicated reading for the easily offended.) I don't think I can recommend this book highly enough - of course, Mr. Fry's wit and ear for parody never let him down, but then you'd maybe expect that. What might be more of a surprise is what an incisive commentator and critic he can be. Every topic Mr. Fry writes about is illuminated by his efforts - be it cricket, 'Clause 28', the Father Brown stories, Sherlock Holmes, socks, sex or Bernard Levin. Be careful how you use this volume though - once you open 'Paperweight', there's a fair chance the rest of the day will have to be given over to its perusal.
i absolutely give 5 stars to 'Paperweight' 1 and 2,for the book and the audio tape, although the audio is sooo much more entertaining, the bonus is the Fry voice surely?..never get tired of listening..his thoughts hidden in laughter,his politics and views on life never fail to amuse and are thought provoking, plus he loves Alistair Sim, so FRY RULES!! make a 2005 resolution and get all the FRY works...
hilarious, thoughtful, entertaining, exciting, with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face, with a tear and belly laugh. Stephen Fry is one of the few people I would love to meet and empty a bottle of wine with whilst talking the hours away. This is a clever book and a must for all those, who still believe that brains are useful and should be challenged now and then.
This is another interesting book by Stephen Fry. I have so far enjoyed all his books whether it is fiction or fact. He is an excellent author and presenter of QI. I highly recommend Paperwieght to anyone who enjoys Stephen Fry's work.