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Paperweight

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  1,217 ratings  ·  39 reviews
A hilarious collection of the many articles written by Stephen Fry for magazines, newspapers and radio. It includes selected wireless essays of Donald Trefusis, the ageing professor of philology brought to life in Fry's novel The Liar, and the best of Fry's weekly column for the Daily Telegraph.

Perfect to dip into but just as enjoyable to read cover to cover, this book, pe...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published August 5th 2004 by Arrow (first published 1992)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,886)
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meeners
so, quite a few years ago, a friend of mine gave me a bunch of episodes of the young ones because he knew i liked british comedies. i watched the first episode - and was baffled. this show was weird, crass, loud, foul. none of the sketches made sense. everyone shouted, all the time, for what seemed like no discernable reason. was this supposed to be punk? alternative comedy? or what??

but i stuck with it, out of sheer stubbornness, and finally made it to the episode where the gang somehow ends u...more
Robert
Dec 04, 2009 Robert rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
A handsome volume of Stephen Fry's journalism from the eighties (and nineties? I forget.) My only beef is that a lot of the columns concern topics that, as an American living in 2009, aren't at all relevant. I found myself reading this book for the sake of Stephen's prose, not because the content particularly engaged me. I skipped the Trefusis columns entirely. Overall, though, it's a book I'm not sorry to have read. Stephen delivers every time.
Karen
"We live in dangerous, uncertain times. Dame War, her mean, pinched features cracking into a ghastly smile, threatens to enGulf us in a molten river of desolation and ruin ... That surly footpad, Recession, rubs his brutal blue beard-line threateningly between finger and thumb and leers down with grim delight at the prospect of poverty, squalor and homelessness. At such a time it's good to know that people are coming up with television advertisements for Carefree Panty-Shields and Intimate Wipes...more
Sam Denney
Mar 21, 2012 Sam Denney rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: fans of Stephen Fry, toilet readers
A lovely collection of Stephen Fry's various writings; piece after piece, mostly monologues, reviews and old newspaper columns, with a short story and a play thrown in for good measure. Most of the selections are 3 or 4 pages long, perfect little morsels usually tied around a particular idea or event. With such a wide selection of material, it's reasonable to expect a few duds to slip through. In fact, I was surprised by how little of the book felt like filler. Great writing or simple good selec...more
N.J.
A collection of Fry's writing in various forms, from radio scripts to columns in The Spectator and Telegraph.
Whilst some of it seems dated nowadays, it is still a superb account of the period before Fry became the 'Prince of Twitter', and contains some wonderful, intelligent pieces on anything from Wimbledon to masturbation. For me though, it is when Fry's gaze turns to the art of word-craft that this book becomes most enjoyable.
Unseemly as it may be, this has been the only permanent feature of...more
Johanna
The articles for 'The Listener' are the best half of the book, in my opinion. The Postcards From America by Donald Trefusis (Emeritus Professor of Philology and Fellow of St. Matthew's College, Cambridge) are probably some of the funniest lines of prose I've ever read. "You can imagine my excitement. To be here, as a Professor of Philology, sitting right next to the most fascinating fricative I have ever heard", is just one example taken from pages of comedic genius.

I couldn't get on with 'The...more
M. Chandler
While I truly enjoyed reading this book, I closed it knowing that I would never feel the urge to read it again. (Unlike most of Mr. Fry's other books, which I keep around like a circle of old friends.) It is indeed a dense and somewhat-dated read, and as an American of a certain age, I found it difficult to engage with, in spots.

If I were a Briton of a different certain age, it might be an entirely different story. Of course, if I were a Briton of a different certain age, most things would be an...more
Marilyn
Mar 07, 2009 Marilyn rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Tamara Marshall, Holly Sears
I have really loved some of the insights from this book. Some things are a little too far to the left, as far as I am concerned. He has a problem with organized religion, but otherwise it has been hilarious at times, and extremely thought provoking at others. He admits that most of the chapters are short enough to be read in the bathroom, depending on the "health of one's bowels" (!)
Tim
Feb 24, 2008 Tim rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: anyone who likes some intelligent reading
Recommended to Tim by: Me!
Brilliant writing style in his pieces for the Listener and other publications, witty, well informed and startlingly thought-provoking.
The radio transcripts are a little less accessible, but still absolutely excellent. He even includes a play he wrote aged about 22, which is superb and really quite original - best seen live I'm sure though, of course.

A quite fantastic book.
Jan
This was a good amusing book to listen to. It is a collection of Stephen Fry radio broadcasts, short stories etc. Lots of small bits and pieces, with his funny view on life.
Alex Parsons
A highly amusing collection of Stephen Fry's whimsical musings for newspapers during the 1980's. I read it in fits and starts around other things over the course of several months much as the introductory note advises. I feel this negated over-familiarity with the material and kept it interesting given that there is no overarching narrative driving the 450+ pages.
Celia Powell
Ah, I'm not sure if I'm ever going to finish this - it's a bit of a mish-mash of columns and random audio stuff. I think some of the humour is a bit linked to the time and society, and therefore lost on me.

***

Nope, didn't end up finishing it - racked up some late fines at the library, and ending up returning it while about halfway through.
Sharon
A collection of Fry's radio scripts and newspaper columns. As always he is witty, funny and observant and as always quite flamboyant in his use of vocabulary. Not as light reading as the subject matter could be (I needed a dictionary at hand!) - but as the author himself recommends digest it slowly and you'll find plenty to enjoy.
Ben
A book compiled from various sources of Stephen Fry's articles or radio appearences.
read in a pick and choose style not start to finsh.
the short Sherlock Holmes story he has written and is included, is very much in the spirit of the origional A C D stories and tho brief is quiet good! more of this please!
Caroline
This is a "pick it up, put it down" kind of book... a collection of essays, articles and transcripts on a wide variety of topics. I enjoyed it - Stephen is always impressive in his command of english, and his eloquence when passionate. But I like "Moab" a lot more, to be honest.
Wendy
Geez, Stephen Fry. Bein' all smart, leaving me nothing to say.

I guess I can say that I don't always agree with everything he says. But that's okay. Diversity makes the world go 'round, and stuff.

I enjoyed most of it. Some of it I didn't, but mostly yes.
Karky
He touches upon a few subjects that are very important to me. Namely the injustices of society when labeling something 'unpatriotic' or the hypocrisy of 'family values', but at the same time he somehow manages to restore my faith in the general good in people.
Admatha
I refuse to rate this one because it just "wasn't for me". I couldn't get into this book and unfortunately returned it without finishing it - but I suspect the age and culture gap separating me from said articles is the problem here, not the book.
Becca
It took me a long time to get through this book, partially because I was only reading it while at lunch at work, but mostly because Stephen Fry is a very verbose writer. All the articles were good, though, and the play a bit odd.
Torben
Habe ich aufgegeben. Ich liebe Stephen Fry, aber hier fehlt mir etwas der Background und die Relevanz der Stories. In ein paar Jahren versuche ich es mal wieder... Mit mehr Lebenserfahrung. ;)
Victoria Walton
Very, very, VERY funny. Especially the line, "I must now go and visit my chiropractor, my back and buttocks have been giving me problems and he leaves no stern untoned". Extremely witty.
Jim
A real pleasure to read. Mr. Fry has quite a command of the language, many honest insights and wit to spare. I'll be reading more by him in the future.
Kajah
Perfect for bathroom or restaurant perusal, though people may think you are strange for laughing out loud on the john or at a sandwich shop.
Lyndsey
Mar 26, 2008 Lyndsey is currently reading it
A collection of transcripts from Fry's comedy shows. As the title implies, a good book to have lying around as a paperweight - or in a bathroom.
Heidi
I liked this very much. Not each piece was mind-blowing, but the overall it was a fun read and one that I go back to from time to time.
Bellaserval
Everything he said twenty years ago is still true. Makes on think.
Oh, and my favourite one is the one about the sock. So recognisable.
Swati Nain
Clssic Fry, wry, witty, self-deprecating but erudite underneath it all. A delicious basket of niblets for snacky read cravings.
Gunter
Hilarisch. Afijn: voor de liefhebbers natuurlijk... Stephen Fry op zijn erudiete best - om mee te lachen dus.
bigmuzz
a good collection of fry's literary wit. short articles make it easy to read in short intervals of life...
Jake B
Amazing collection of his articles and short essays. The play 'Latin!' at the end was very good too.
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Stephen John Fry is an English comedian, writer, actor, humourist, novelist, poet, columnist, filmmaker, television personality and technophile. As one half of the Fry and Laurie double act with his comedy partner, Hugh Laurie, he has appeared in A Bit of Fry and Laurie and Jeeves and Wooster. He is also famous for his roles in Blackadder and Wilde, and as the host of QI. In addition to writing fo...more
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“If I had a large amount of money I should certainly found a hospital for those whose grip upon the world is so tenuous that they can be severely offended by words and phrases and yet remain all unoffended by the injustice, violence and oppression that howls daily about our ears.” 224 likes
“Parent power is not a sign of democracy, it is a sign of barbarism. We are to regard education as a service industry, like a laundry, parents are the customers, teachers the washers, children the dirty linen. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. And what in the name of boiling hell do parents know about education? How many educated people are there in the world? I could name seventeen or eighteen.” 12 likes
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