Long before I'd ever set foot in Cambridge I worked in London and always read paperbacks commuting on the Underground. London Transport is a place where you want escapism, I read a lot of science fiction and also comedy, so a parody of the Ivory Towers of Academe looked like it might distract me from the rush-hour Tube. Well almost all the books I read then I've forgotten, but Porterhouse Blue sticks in the memory because of the acute embarrassment it caused me. You try not to make an exhibition and a fool of yourself in public don't you, you try not to choke and turn red in the face, accidentally guffaw spit on the person opposite, fall off your seat, poke your neighbor in the ribs, suffice it to say I did not keep my cool, this book is uncontrollably laugh-out-loud FUNNY. Read it, read it, read it, but for God's sake read it locked in a room on your own.
(Like a lot of humourists Sharpe is not kind to his subject, so I was pleased when I later did get to know Cambridge that's it's really nothing like the dystopian farce depicted here. It's actually much more like Terry Pratchett's Unseen University.)